Alan Cavanna


Johnson starts wellness challenge with 5K run

April 27, 2014, Alan Cavanna, NASCAR.com

First of four Charlotte-based Jimmie Johnson Foundation events promotes fitness

Huntersville, N.C. – It didn't take long for Jimmie Johnson to go from his worst finish of the season to his personal best.

Johnson shook off a season-low finish of 32nd on Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway to host a 5K run for the Jimmie Johnson Foundation on Sunday. The six-time Sprint Cup Series champion even ran the event, finishing with a personal best time of 19:06.

For Johnson, the turnout of nearly 600 runners meant more than the fast time.

"The turnout was great," Johnson said after the 5K run. "To see so many people help support a cause that's so important to my wife and I, which is public education, is a heart-warming experience."

Sunday's race was the first of four events in the foundation's inaugural "Wellness Challenge". The event included runners of all ages and many from the NASCAR Community. Johnson's crew chief, Chad Knaus, joined Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne in running the event. Johnson's spotter, Earl Barban, held court on the microphone, cheering people on at the finish line.

After the race, Johnson laughed and commiserated with other runners who didn't realize how hilly the 3.1-mile course would be. Johnson said it was a surprise to him as well. 

Many of the runners did a one-mile family run with their children to end the day. Johnson and his wife Chandra were right there with them, along with their two young daughters. 

There are three more scheduled events in the Wellness Challenge: 

•  The Lake Norman Excursion (a 5K run and multi distance bike ride) held on Saturday, July 12, 2014 (Mooresville, NC)

•  The Jimmie Johnson Foundation Cane Creek Sprint Triathlon held on Tuesday, Aug 19, 2014 (Waxhaw, NC)

•  The Lake Davidson Sprint Triathlon held on Sunday, Sept 7, 2014 (Davidson, NC)

For more information, visit http://www.jimmiejohnsonfoundation.org.