DeKALB – Jennifer Harrison, 45, has been running every day since Dec. 28, 2015. She has run the Chicago Marathon the past four years.
Harrison, a teacher at Huntley Middle School, ran a total of 60 miles from March 5-7 to raise more than $2,000 for Barb Food Mart.
Harrison, a sixth-grade language arts teacher, joined the 4x4x48, a national fundraiser for local nonprofit organizations. Participants seek pledges before running 4 miles every four hours for 48 hours.
To raise even more money, Harrison decided to add an extra mile to each of her 12 runs, so she ran a total of 60 miles.
Harrison raised $2,246 for Barb Food Mart, located at Huntley Middle School, 1515 S. Fourth St. in DeKalb. Barb Food Mart is open for curbside, drive-thru pickup from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Thursdays. More information about registering, online ordering, volunteering and donating can be found online at www.barbfoodmart.com.
Harrison spoke to MidWeek reporter Katrina Milton about the fundraising event.
Milton: Are you from DeKalb?
Harrison: I live in DeKalb, but I’m from Rock Falls. I came here to teach in 1998. I’ve been teaching at Huntley Middle School for 23 years. I’ve been teaching sixth grade language arts for about 15 of those years. … I also coach track at the middle school, and I run distance with my students. I’d never have them do something I couldn’t or wouldn’t do.
Milton: What is 4x4x48?
Harrison: To participate, you run 4 miles every four hours for 48 hours. You ask people to donate per mile, and then choose a charity of your choice to donate the money to. Right away, I thought of Barb Food Mart. I asked a friend to help me write a post on Facebook, and she said she’d be the first person to donate. Soon, more and more people donated. I couldn’t believe it.
Milton: How did you run the 60 miles?
Harrison: I did the first leg at 10 p.m. Friday, March 5. It was nighttime, so I got on the treadmill at Anytime Fitness. After I ran 4 miles, I realized it wasn’t that bad, so I decided to run one more mile, a total of 5 [miles] every four hours. I ran a total of 60 miles that weekend. I did have breaks and took naps in between. I was definitely physically tired. I had friends and family that supported me. We went out for breakfast. One friend ran with me outside, and people were honking and waving and cheering.
Milton: Is running 60 miles in one weekend a lot for you?
Harrison: I typically run 56 miles in a week. Running 60 miles in a weekend was a lot, more than I had ever done before. I ran a total of almost 100 miles total that week.
Milton: How much money did you raise?
Harrison: I raised a total of $2,246 for Barb Food Mart. They said that for every $1 donated, they can purchase $8 worth of food from the Northern Illinois Food Bank catalog. With my donation, they said that they could purchase almost $18,000 worth of food. They told me that my donation helped buy everything on the next truck shipment of food and two weeks worth of milk. Sometimes I spend $150 on groceries for my home, so I really was in awe with how much my donation could help.
Milton: Why did you choose Barb Food Mart?
Harrison: I have volunteered there in the past, helping stock shelves and handing out food. In the spring of last year, when we were under the stay-at-home order, I handed out school lunches to students. I saw just how many students and their families came, how many needed food. For me, choosing Barb Food Mart was a no-brainer.
Milton: What are your goals for the future?
Harrison: I’m still running every day. In June, I’ll start training for the Chicago Marathon. Hopefully it will be held in person this October. I also want to continue helping Barb Food Mart. You don’t have to run to help out. You can volunteer, you can stock shelves, you can hand out food.