Jacob Harmon being honored for his running accomplishments by Washington Street Elementary physical education teacher Amy Nieuwenhuis (left). He also received a gift package from former student teacher Trey Conner, who is now with the Grand Rapids Drive of the NBA’s D-League.

Otsego’s Harmon displays unique passion for running

By: 
Jason Wesseldyk

“From that day on, if I was ever going somewhere, I was running.”
Tom Hanks uttered those words while playing the title character in the 1994 blockbuster “Forrest Gump.”
And even though he wasn’t born until nearly a decade after the release of that film, Otsego sixth-grader Jacob Harmon can probably relate to that passion for running.
As a fifth-grader at Otsego’s Washington Street Elementary School during the 2013-14 school year, Harmon ran a total of 284.3 miles as part of the school’s Mileage Club and JumpStart! programs.
Washington Street physical education teacher Amy Nieuwenhuis has been teaching nearly a quarter of a century. In that time, she said few students could rival the love of running displayed by Harmon.
“He has a passion for running that I’ve only seen in a few other students in my 24 years of teaching,” Nieuwenhuis said. “His running form is very smooth and advanced for a fifth-grader.”
Harmon completed 153.2 of his miles during JumpStart!, which took place twice a week for 25 minutes each throughout the school year.
“JumpStart! is based on the principle that kids can get extra focus and succeed in school with some exercise to get the brain ready for academic absorption,” Nieuwenhuis said.
The other 131.1 miles came during Mileage Club, which takes place twice a week during the 20-minute lunch recess. That total represented a new school record for Mileage Club.
 

For full story, pick up a copy of the August 7 issue of The Allegan County News or subscribe to the e-edition.

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