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Jimmie Johnson Marathon Main

Jimmie Johnson finishes first Boston Marathon: ‘It’s been an amazing experience’

Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson knows plenty about training, about pace and about racing. He is a seven-time champion and 83-race winner at the sport’s highest level, after all.

But Johnson applied those same principles that helped him develop into one of NASCAR’s all-time greats to a different kind of course — the 26.2-mile 123rd running of the Boston Marathon on Monday morning, only 36 hours after competing in NASCAR’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series night race at Richmond Raceway.

Johnson woke up this morning preparing his gear, stretching and doing some laps to get himself ready.

Fittingly wearing bib No. 4848, Johnson completed the marathon with an unofficial time of 3 hours, 9 minutes and 7 seconds. That means he ran approximately 8.24 mph (with a pace of 7 minutes, 13 seconds per mile), and according to Johnson, it wasn’t easy.

He finished in 4,155th place overall and 3,746th among males. In his division (Male 40-44), Johnson finished 641st.

Johnson began the race at 10:25 a.m. ET and hit the 5K mark 21 minutes, 22 seconds later.

Pacing himself for the long race ahead, at 1 hour, 31 minutes and 38 seconds, Johnson made it to the halfway point.

The most famous part of the course is Heartbreak Hill, between the 20th and 21st mile. It’s an uphill portion near Boston College and is considered the most difficult stretch of the race.

“I wish I had my car for Heartbreak Hill, it would have made that a lot easier,” Johnson told CBS Boston after finishing the race. “What an incredible experience. … The stories that people have told me that have been in this before don’t even come close to what it’s like in real life. The first half was so easy, and I heard so much about that. To see the pace you’re like, ‘Oh wow, I got this, no problem,’ and then the work starts. You realize you probably got on too fast. Just thankful that this worked out.”

And now, he has another piece of hardware to add to his growing collection. Former Boston Marathon champion Meb Keflezighi presented Johnson with his medal.

“I wanted to race it, so I went out with a heart rate and time in mind. I came up a little short, but still to do that well, still to be that low in the threes (three hours), I’m really happy with it,” Johnson said. “It’s been an amazing experience. I’ve learned so much about myself. I just can’t believe how this city supports all the runners on course.”

Considered one of the most prestigious marathons in the world, Johnson had been training for his first Boston Marathon for months. An avid fitness buff, he already ran a half-marathon at Daytona Beach, Florida, earlier this season during Speedweeks.

“It’s not like I’ve not run before, but to increase the volume and the daily miles required — it’s crazy what you put your body through,” Johnson told the Associated Press. “I’m enjoying this taper right now. But honestly, I’ve loved the experience and enjoyed all the pain and suffering that comes with it.”

In case you missed it, here are Johnson’s marathon numbers:

10:25:00 a.m. ET – Johnson started the Boston Marathon but first, he had to take care of some racing business.

10:46:24 a.m. ET – Johnson hit the 5K mark with a time of 00:21:22 with a pace of 06:52 minutes per mile.

11:07:50 a.m. ET – Johnson hit the 10K mark with a total time of 00:42:48 and a pace of 06:55 minutes per mile. He is currently running at 8.70 mph.

11:29:36 a.m. ET – With a time of 04:04:34, Johnson made it to the 15K spot, running 07:01 minutes per mile.

11:51:51 a.m. ET – Twenty-two minutes and 16 seconds later, Johnson hit the 20K mark. His total time is 01:26:49.

11:56:40 a.m. ET – Halfway! Johnson is at the half marathon split of the Boston Marathon after an hour and 31 minutes and 38 seconds.

12:14:01 p.m. ET – At 01:48:59, Johnson has passed the 25K split, pacing himself at 07:10 minutes per mile.

12:37:25 p.m. ET – Johnson hit the 30K mark with a total time of 02:12:24.

12:47:45 p.m. ET – 20 miles down!

01:01:02 p.m. ET – At a 07:10 minutes per mile pace, Johnson hits the 35K split.

01:26:44 p.m. ET – Almost there! Johnson passes the 25.2-mile mark, with a time of 03:01:42.

He did it! Johnson finished the Boston Marathon with a time of 03:09:07, unofficially, at 01:34:07 p.m. ET.