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Harrington Park Boy, 8, Surprises Himself in First Race

The only catch, Jonathan said, was "how hard it was to keep running so fast." Photo Credit: COURTESY: Nadine O'Reilly
"When he came around the corner in the lead of the race, I was pumped!" coach Scott Morrissey said. Photo Credit: COURTESY: Scott Morrissey
Jonathan, 8, clocked in at 6:40, topping some challengers who are nearly two years older. Photo Credit: COURTESY: Scott Morrissey

HARRINGTON PARK, N.J. -- Third-grader Jonathan O'Reilly thought it would be a kick to join his friends in his first-ever race, the Harrington Park Mile Fun Run.

Then he won.

"I thought maybe 5th or 6th [place]," the surprised but proud youngster told Daily Voice.

Jonathan, 8, clocked in at 6:40, topping some challengers who are nearly two years older.

"We are so proud of Jonathan," said his dad, Brendan, a Fairview police captain.

"He has always been a bundle of energy and enthusiasm," added mom Nadine, a school psychologist in Cliffside Park.

"He is incredibly athletic -- there isn't a sport he doesn't enjoy," she said. "He loves to compete and, most importantly, has tons of fun doing so

"He's got heart. He's amazing."

Scott Morrissey coached Jonathan in baseball this season.

"He was the youngest and one of the smallest kids in the league," Morrissey said. "But he worked hard all season to compete with the older kids and he improved dramatically.

"When he came around the corner in the lead of the race, I was pumped!

"He was ear-to-ear happy after the finish," Morrissey said, "and so were the rest of us."

Having never even entered a race before, Jonathan genuinely thought it would be fun to see how he'd do in the Nov. 14 event.

"I'm sure some people were surprised because some of my friends are super fast," he told Daily Voice.

The only catch, he said, was "how hard it was to keep running so fast."

Any plans?

"I think I'm going to join Track," Jonathan said.

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