Brittni Mason celebrates after winning 100-meter T47 at the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships on Nov. 12, 2019 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
On most Tuesdays, Brittni Mason would probably be in class at Eastern Michigan University. This Tuesday was a little different.
“I found out ago only three weeks ago, via press release, that I was running at worlds,” she said.
And competing for the first time at the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the college senior not only won gold in the women’s 100-meter T47 but also broke a world record with her finishing time of 11.89 seconds. She did so by beating teammate Deja Young, who happened to be the reigning Paralympic and world champion in both the 100- and 200-meter.
It really came down to a race between the two blazingly fast American women. Mason had the lead early but Young put up a fight and closed in to within steps at the finish, coming across the line in 11.94 seconds to win the silver medal.
“My coach from back home told me to execute my start and drive and be aggressive,” Mason said, “and I took his advice and it worked. So I ended up running one of my fastest times I’ve ever ran, which was especially amazing this early in the season with only three weeks of training.”
The win concludes a wild summer season for Mason.
Born with Erb’s palsy, which affects her left should and arm, Mason took up running around age 10 and found success, leading her to the track team at Eastern Michigan.
Download the Team USA app today to keep up with Para track and field and all your favorite sports, plus access to videos, Olympic and Paralympic team bios, and more.
In May, a new door opened when she learned she was eligible to compete in the Paralympic Games. The Richmond Heights, Ohio, native got nationally qualified at a meet in Chicago and applied for the U.S. team for the world championships. She found out three weeks ago that she would be competing in Dubai.
“I have no experience, this is my first international meet,” she said. “I’m glad about my outcome from my first international meet.”
Mason said going head-to-head against Young provided plenty of motivation.
“She is an amazing runner,” Mason said. “She broke the world record in the prelims, which was very impressive, so she really pushed me through the race. I was able to get that momentum from her and really feed off of that energy. That really pushed me to run he time I ran today.”
Young, who was born with brachial plexus, which caused nerve damage and limited mobility in her right shoulder, claimed her fifth career world championships medal. She also won gold in the 100 and silver in the 200 in 2015.
A rematch of sorts is right around the corner. Both women will compete in Wednesday’s 200-meter heats with the final scheduled for later in the day.
And, who knows? Maybe there will be another rematch next year in Tokyo.
“I am still in shock right now, so it hasn’t hit me,” Mason said, “but I’m hoping for the best, hope I’m injury free and that my training remains good and that I can make it to 2020 healthy, and still fast.”
Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic and Paralympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.