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The kid with the Mohawk
Collins youth making mark in area races, runs
Mason in Baxley
Placing fourth overall at the recent Baxley Tree Trek, Mason "Mohawk" Smith, who hopes to one day compete in the Olympics, is an avid runner and holds the most state records in the Georgia state road records book. Other recent wins include second place overall for the Pink Power Run and first place overall for the Open Hearts Community Mission Chocolate Run 5K. - photo by Special

A family that runs together … collects many tennis shoes and wins lots of medals. The Smith family, of Collins, has plenty of both.
    Though several family members are runners, 11-year-old Mason Smith is the most passionate about the sport.
    Known by many as “the boy with the Mohawk,” Mason has been running seriously for about four years.
    “My wife started a ‘Couch-to-5K’ program,” said Jonathan Smith, the patriarch of the family. “It’s a plan that prepares you to run a 5K. Mason would run with her, play in the ditch, but then he’d catch up with her.”
    When mom April Smith signed up for a 5K at the Brooklet Peanut Festival for her first run after the program, Mason “pitched a fit” according to his dad, pleading to run, too. Mason ran and won his age bracket.
    Apparently, he was hooked after that.
    “He progressively got better and better and started winning state records,” Jonathan Smith said. “He runs every Saturday, either in a race or training.”
    Dad said Mason doesn’t like the training part as well as the running part, but finds time to do so anyway.
“It’s country training,” Smith said. “Dirt roads and fields.”
    The young runner has recently shown an interest in doing a “swim-bike-run” race, and dad points out, “When he wants to swim, he jumps in the pond.”
    Mason said he likes challenging himself.
“It’s always rewarding,” he said. “I like to win and I like how it makes me feel when I run for good causes.”
    Recently, Mason placed second overall at the Pink Power Run with a time of 18 minutes, 56 seconds, and placed first overall at this year’s Open Hearts Community Mission Chocolate Run 5K.
    Some of Mason’s siblings are runners, too. Older sister Abigail, 13, holds records in 3K, 6K and 9K runs for the 11- and 12-year-old age group. Jaxon, 8, holds the eight-mile record, 3K, 6K, 7K, 9K and 12K in the 7-and-under age group and the 3K and 7K in the 8- and 9-year-old age group.
    Twelve-year-old brother Jacob, “hates to run,” said dad, “but give him a book and he’ll read forever.”
    And, according to Smith, daughter Rylie, a prekindergarten student at Collins Elementary/Middle School, “is extremely fast and can outrun everybody all the way through first grade.”
    Only time will tell about the youngest member of the family, 9-month-old Kennedy.
    Smith, who pointed out that Mason has always been quick – he was born 1½ months early – explained Mason’s nickname. At age 2, Mason sported a “Mohawk” haircut and requested that style from then on. Once he began running, other racers who spotted him but didn’t know his name would say, “Here comes the kid with the Mohawk,” and the name stuck.
    Mason “Mohawk” Smith’s records include the 5K, 6K, 9K, 12K and four mile for the 8- and 9-year-old age group and 3K, 6K, 7K, 12K, four mile, eight mile and half-marathon state record for 10- and 11-year-old age group. His half-marathon time of 1 hour, 37 minutes, 27 seconds is currently being reviewed by USA Track & Field as the possible national and world record for a 10-year-old.
    Mason’s successes have earned him a spot as the person with the most state records in the Georgia state road records book. Mason said he loves holding that many records and added, “It seems hard to believe sometimes, but I worked hard to earn them.”
    As for the future, Mason plans to run, train, run, win, run and, after that, he hopes to go to the Olympics.

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