On the Record with Jennifer Harrison

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.

Katrina J.E. Milton

Award-winning reporter and photographer for Shaw Media publications, including The Daily Chronicle and The MidWeek newspapers in DeKalb County, Illinois, since 2012.