McCutcheon finds success as runner, fundraiser
By By Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
Twelve-year-old Johnston McCutcheon of Hartselle is well on his way to becoming a marathon runner.
A sixth grader at Hartselle Junior High School, Johnston was one of only 16 runners in his age division to finish the St. Jude Half-Marathon (13.1 miles) in Memphis, Tenn. last December. He ran the race in two hours and 49 minutes.
Johnston ran as a St. Jude Hero, an honor he received by collecting over $3,000 in donations from family members and friends for St. Jude Hospital. Many of the donors included encouraging notes that helped inspire Johnston during the long race.
Johnston and his parents, Dr. Mike and Robin McCutcheon, were among 14,000 runners who participated in the St. Jude’s marathon, half-marathon and the Memphis Grizzlies House 5K race. The half-marathon attracted 8,000 runners with 6,663 finishing the race.
Johnston, who has numerous 5K and 10K races to his credit, chose to participate in the St. Jude half-marathon because it was a race that benefited children. The racecourse took participants by the St. Jude Hospital, and Johnston said everyone seemed to slow down a little as they passed the hospital entrance. Along the route, he received encouragement from thousands of onlookers.
He said the race was the most fun he’s had in any of his other races he has run, and he realized all of the hard work in training paid off when he crossed the finish line in the Memphis baseball stadium.
Johnston wants to compete in a full marathon in the future; however, he’ll probably wait a few years. In the meantime, he has his eyes on another half-marathon, the Talladega 21,000-meter Race. This race starts and finishes on the finish line at the Talladega Superspeedway.
Proceeds from the Memphis marathon, half-marathon and 5K race benefited St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, one of the world’s premier pediatric cancer research centers. In 2007, they raised more than $1.2 million for the hospital.