Jimmie Johnson has participated in a ton of long, grueling races over his illustrious career in NASCAR. But the seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion is taking on a whole new racing challenge this spring.
Johnson will run the 2019 Boston Marathon on April 15, he announced Tuesday via NBC Sports’ Nate Ryan.
The 43-year-old will pound the pavement in the streets of Boston with thousands of other runners, all with their own incredible stories of perseverance. But Johnson likely will be the only runner to take off from Hopkinton, Mass., just two days after competing in a 400-mile NASCAR race.
Johnson will get behind the wheel of his No. 48 Chevy for the Toyota Owners 400 in Richmond, Va., the Saturday before running in Boston. But the NASCAR champion is no amateur to endurance running. This past weekend, Johnson competed in the Daytona Beach Half Marathon, winning his age class and finishing 14th overall at 1 hour, 33 minutes.
“Away from the car, there are plenty of goals that occupy my free time,” Johnson told NBC Sports. “Endurance sports is a big part of that.
“Watching the Boston Marathon the year of the bombing (in 2013), something clicked about me wanting to run that race, and once the bombing happened, I wanted to be part of Boston Strong.”
Johnson, who is entering the race through an exemption with longtime sponsor Gatorade, has been training since November and is hoping to clock in around the three-hour mark. The No. 48 driver has run in several half marathons, but Boston will be his first go at 26.2 miles.
“I don’t know what 26.2 (miles) feels like,” he said. “I’ve been to 20 a handful of times already in the training. It takes two days to feel normal again. The challenge of completing the accomplishment, I’m drawn to that stuff. I’d love to see how far I can push myself. We’ll see how it shakes out on April 15.”
Thumbnail photo via Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports Images