Tom Batters
Johnny Crain

When Johnny Crain was in eighth grade, his parents told him he had to find a sport, since he was spending too much time on the couch playing video games.

So, he started running, and he hasn’t stopped. In fact, he ran right into the school record books.

“I started off a little slow at first, but then I got the hang of it. I set a school record at the middle school. That was a big day for me,” he said. “I just love to run. That’s pretty much all I do, now. It’s more fun than playing video games.”

Crain, a junior, is having a solid season. He currently holds the second-fastest time in the entire state in the 1600-meter run (4:26.35), less than a second behind Greg Whittle of Galesburg. He is also among the state’s best in the 800 and 3200-meter runs, with local rivals Josh Battles of Richwoods and CJ Elward of Notre Dame.

“CJ is a good rival and a good friend,” Crain said. “I enjoy talking to him when we're at meets together.”

He said he would like to accomplish two more goals this season — break the school record in the 800, and qualify for the state meet.

The record in the 800 is held by Blake Brooks, one of the most decorated runners in school history who is now at Illinois State University.

“Just to be mentioned with Blake is an honor. To break his record would be pretty special,” he said.