The Duncan Banner

October 22, 2013

Running in the family

Mason, Mattie Bivens lead pack for Demon cross country

Bob Morris
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — Running is an activity that runs in the Bivens family, no pun intended.

For siblings Mason and Mattie Bivens, it’s led to the two emerging as the top runners on the Duncan boys and girls cross country teams, respectively.

Mason, a junior, has been leading the Demons with times in the mid 16’s. For example, he ran a time of 16 minutes, 28 seconds in the boys 5K race at Edmond Oct. 4 — the same course at which the state meet will be held.

Mattie, a freshman, is the top girls runner, with her most recent time being 13:35 in the girls two-mile race at Elgin Nov. 8.

And their interest in running goes back to one of their parents.

“It started with Dad back in high school,” Mason said. “Then, in elementary school, I started running a little bit. Now all of us run.”

The brother and sister frequently join their father Jason and mother Jennifer to go running together as a family and at  races held in the area.

“Mason is usually the one way up front and the rest of us staggered behind him,” Jason said. “It’s one of those things families can do together.”

When Jason attended Little Elm, a small school that used to be located north of Dallas, some friends got him interested in competitive running. It started with running middle school track at Little Elm. From there, his friends got him interested in high school cross country.

Now Jason gets the pleasure of watching his children improve as runners.

“It’s great to watch them develop over the years,” he said. “They went from doing it for fun and exercise to what it developed into (competitive running).”

Mason and Mattie remember getting involved in a “kids marathon,” in which they charted how many miles in each race they ran. The goal was, in two months, to run 25 miles — the equivalent of a marathon.

Jason noted that distance running is an activity in which it takes plenty of time and work to get better.

“It’s not one of those things that happens overnight,” he said. “But one of the neat things about distance runners is watching them get better year after year.”

Mattie said she enjoys “the daily aspect of going out for a jog and pacing yourself.” Mason added that running has a “definite social aspect,” as one becomes friends with other runners.

“You’ll go to the meets and talk to these people before the race,” Mason said. “Then, after the race, you’ll get together to talk and have a lot of fun.”

Mattie said she enjoys running as part of her daily routine and to stay competitive, but Mason has bigger aspirations. He said he hopes to compete in college and wants to improve his times to a point where he could get a scholarship.

The two will join their Demon teammates at a regional meet this Saturday in Norman. Mason and Mattie each want to achieve a personal-best time (known to runners as a PR) and push their teammates to do the same.

“But I mostly want to go up to the meet and have fun,” Mason said.