NANAIMO – Mike Mason has been one of the world's elite high jumpers for many years but in 2018 he's been at the top of his game.
The 31-year-old from Nanoose Bay finished 6th at the Commonwealth Games in April with a mark of 2.24 metres.
He bettered that with a jump of 2.32 metres at the Dogwood Track and Field meet in Victoria earlier this month.
The 2.32 metre jump if just shy of Mason's personal best, a 2.33m jump in Edmonton in 2015.
The success in Victoria wasn't just good for Mason personally it's tied as the fourth highest recorded in 2018.
Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar has the best result of the year after clearing 2.40m at the start of May.
Javier Sotomayor of Cuba is the World Record holder with a 2.45m effort in 1993.
Sotomayor has the top three results of all time with leaps of 2.45m, 2.44m, and 2.43m.
Mason says his fitness level is as high as it's ever been and with a 2.32m jump on the books now it should bring some invites to some of the more prestigious track and field events.
“I had a pretty good meet the week before in Seattle and I was very close to 2.30m so I knew I had it in me,” said Mason. “I wanted to get another quick meet in while I was feeling good. I thought it would be kind of fun to go down to Victoria and it all worked out.”
All of Mason's training is done in Nanaimo and Nanoose Bay.
He practices his jumps at the Nanaimo Track and Field Club as well as doing sprints and running there.
Mason has a home gym set up in Nanoose Bay where he does his weight training.
There's a flexibility of schedule provided by his current setup and Mason notes it's nice to set his own schedule.
Phillip Vannini with the Nanaimo Track and Field Club says Mason is a 'lone wolf' when it comes to his training and does a great deal of work on his own.
Mason is very driven but credits the efforts of his coaches to get him to the level he needs to be at to compete internationally.
There are some major international events on Mason's radar culminating with the 2020 summer Olympic games in Tokyo.
It will be his fourth Olympics with a 19th place showing in 2008, 8th place in 2012, and an 18th place finish in 2016 in Rio already under his belt.
Mason says the lifestyle of a four year cycle is rewarding because there's always something to look forward to.
He doesn't think about it every day because there's many steps to go through.
“I go through the training, stay healthy, and try to get some good meets in each year,” said Mason. “And then in an Olympic year things get a little stressful and crazy.”
His calendar is already starting to fill up with a huge event, the NACAC, in August in Toronto.
That meet features the best athletes from North and Central American and the Caribbean.
There's also the IAAF World Championship in Qatar in the fall of 2019.
(The video below is Mason in action at the 2015 World Championship in Beijing)
The current set up with the Nanaimo Track and Field club is paying dividends for Mason.
He calls it the best situation he's ever been in.
“The club is just so great there, I have access to all the equipment. I see a lot of the coaches out there when I'm training and they're just so encouraging. I love being on the island and I'm fortunate to be back here training,” stated Mason.
Whether it's sharing drills, or his many high jump experiences Mason is happy to give back and help younger athletes as well.
There's a lot of pride from NTFC side as well, with one of their own doing so well on the world stage.
On twitter: @danmarshall77
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