RED BANK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Would you believe it if you were told an 8-year-old — that’s right, an 8-year-old — placed first in a 5K this weekend?
She didn’t only beat every woman in her age group, she beat every woman running, CBS2’s Nina Kapur reported Tuesday.
For the Johnson sisters, athleticism literally runs in the family.
“I love that I get to run with my family — my grandpa, my mom, and my little sister,” Ava Johnson said.
The girls have been racing since before they can remember, and this weekend it showed. Ava placed first in the women’s division of the Red Bank Classic 5K.
When asked what she was thinking when she started beating everyone, Ava said, “Like … how did I do this? The speaker was like, ‘Look at this little thing go.'”
Little sister Brooke, who is all of 5 years old, placed second in her age group of 14 and under.
“I was beating 14-year-olds, even grownups, it felt happy, good,” Brooke said.
Their mother said she is proud they’re following in her’s and her father’s footsteps.
“I was raised as a runner and it really taught me a lot of life lessons and I’m really happy to be able to share that with them,” Leisha Jackucewicz said.
The girls’ grandfather, who coaches them at least three times a week, said he wasn’t surprised at all that both his granddaughters placed.
“The number one quality in athletics is confidence,” Roger Jackucewicz said. “Ava knew that she could do what she did in this race, and I knew, and it was time to do it.”
Roger Jackucewicz trains the girls at their home in Haddonfield. They run quick, short distances at a time, never more than a mile.
“The structure creates tremendous strength, never any injuries. And it’s much easier mentally and physically,” he said.
“He’s a tough coach,” Brooke said.
But clearly, it works.
Next, the girls will be training for the U.S. Junior Olympics. And, of course, they are prepping for another race next month, in Belmar.