Eighth-grader lifts local marathon relay team

Published 5:41 pm Friday, February 19, 2010

An Alabaster eighth-grader recently helped propel the local Jim ‘N Nick’s marathon team to 21st place out of 118 teams at Birmingham’s Mercedes Marathon.

Thompson Middle School student Michael Johnson, a member of the school’s track and cross-country teams, helped the Alabaster restaurant defeat teams from every other area Jim ‘N Nick’s locations in the marathon’s five-person relay race, said Alabaster store Marketer Tricia Garrett.

The store also raised about $1,500 to benefit the Bell Center for Early Intervention Programs, which will help fund intervention services, like speech, physical and occupational therapy.

“We raised about $1,500 at our restaurant, which is definitely pretty good for one location,” Garrett said.

Garrett, Lindsay Humphries with the Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce, Alabaster Jim ‘N Nick’s General Manager Mike Waller, Johnson and Pelham resident Elana Swiney composed the store’s relay team.

“He actually did phenomenally,” Garrett said of Johnson. “He’s one to watch out for. He’s only in eighth grade, and he is a quick one.

“We came in first out of all the other Jim ‘N Nick’s locations largely thanks to Michael’s effort,” Garrett added.

Johnson’s effort in the Mercedes Marathon added to a lengthy list of local victories for the middle school athlete, which includes a first-place finish at the TCBY Invitational in Tuscaloosa, silver medals at the Cahaba Lily Invitational and Cullman Invitational and a fifth-place finish out of 207 runners at the Metro South Middle School Championship.

“Also, Michael is an A student and a member of the National Junior Honor Society and plays trombone in the school band,” Johnson’s mother, Patty Johnson, wrote in an e-mail. “In case you can’t tell, I’m pretty proud of him.”