Brittni Mason on the Unexpected Joy of Track Uniforms: “Look Good, Run Good”
Brittni Mason, 25, started running professionally later in life than some Paralympians – she competed in her first Paralympic Games when she was 21, winning a gold medal in the 4×100 relay and silver medals in the 100- and 200-meter sprints. But she’s accomplished a lot since – including two gold medals at the 2023 world championships – and she’s even finished two master’s degrees through it all.
As part of POPSUGAR’s series highlighting young athletes making their mark, Mason reflected on her unexpected favorite part of running, getting to the Paris 2024 Paralympics, and more. Read it all, in her own words, below. And to hear more athletes’ stories, check out For the W.
My first international meet was in 2019, and my first Games was 2021. So even though I was new to the stage at my first Paralympic Games, I think it was good to have had that preparation for the Games. I’ve been competing since I was 10; I competed in high school and in college, so I think it all just led up to competing at that level. So it honestly never felt different than anything else I’ve done in my life in terms of running, just a little bit more on the line.
Honestly, growing up, my favorite thing about running was the uniforms. I thought they were so cute. I’m very girly – hair, nails, bling – and people are always talking about my style. Even growing up, it was, “Look good, run good.” I always thought the outfits were super cute. That’s a weird thing to love about the sport, but that really piqued my interest. I could see everyone had their own style – even though it’s a team sport, it’s very individualized, so I really liked that.
“I’m very girly – hair, nails, bling – and people are always talking about my style.”
My favorite look so far has to be worlds this year. My roommate and I, we bedazzled our faces with the USA colors, put hearts and stars on our faces. My hair was blue and black, our uniforms were red, white, and blue, my nails were blue with little rhinestones on them, and then I had the “USA” written across my face in bling. I loved it.
And that helps with dealing with the pressure of it, too. I’m always making sure I have self-care time, I always make it a point. I believe that pedicures help me run faster, they help my feet. Massages, they make me run faster, my body feels great. Those are things I am doing every two to three weeks – I’m always getting massages, I’m always getting my hands and my feet done and making myself feel good.
Track is very important in my life, but it’s not my entire life, and once I learned to have that separation of life and track, it has helped so much in my competing confidence. I’m very competitive, but at the same time, you win some and you lose some, and I know that just because I’ve lost a race doesn’t make me less of an athlete. It just pushes me to perform better.
“Track hurts, but the reward is just unmatched.”
Going into 2024, I have a lot of confidence, and I’m actually going through a whole transition right now. Three weeks after worlds this year, I picked up and moved everything to focus full-time on training for the Games, which is something I haven’t really done before. I’m taking it extremely serious. I moved from Michigan down to Florida, and I just kind of started over. I’m going to be with a professional training group with a lot of very talented athletes, and able-bodied athletes as well, who are going to be able to push me to that next level. I’ll be able to train outside all year round. I’m focusing in, training like no other, and possibly adding another event.
In all honesty, I never thought that I’d be a professional athlete – I thought I’d be done after college – but I plan on running until my body just can’t anymore. It is so fun to me. Track hurts, but the reward is just unmatched with any other thing that I’ve ever done before. And to know that I can inspire people and I’ve had people reach out to me and I’m getting better with time and learning myself in the sport and I can be an advocate for para athletes, I plan on running past LA 2028. I for sure want to get there.
I’d say it’s never too late for anyone to get into this like I did, and the impossible is possible. I didn’t even know I was eligible for para. Someone reached out to my coach, and it took about two years of back and forth to really get me involved. I didn’t know that I qualified at all, so I entered the game pretty late – I was 21 years old. A lot of people had been running well before that, because they knew about it.
I was able to make my mark really early, and I just want women and younger athletes to know that it’s never too late to start. The sky is truly the limit. I never thought that this would be my life by any means, and I’m just kind of soaking in how amazing and what a blessing it is to be in this position at this time. Now that I’m running and doing this, I can’t imagine what else I’d be doing.