For this young runner, logging miles for Niswonger Children's Hospital Kids' Run is extra special


Johnson City's Jordan Havert,
right, logs some miles in preparation
for the Niswonger Children's Hospital Kids' Run.
She's joined by her mom, Nicole, and younger
brother Anderson in the stroller.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – In October of 2011, 5-year-old Jordan Havert was competing in relay races, taking ballet classes and living life as a normal kindergartener at Lake Ridge Elementary School. Little did she and her parents know that pneumonia was rapidly taking over her lungs and causing her body to go into total failure.

Jordan, whose family had just relocated from Alaska to the Tri-Cities six weeks prior, was admitted to Niswonger Children’s Hospital and went on to spend 21 days there.

She recovered from the scare, and to celebrate, exactly one year after being discharged from the hospital, Jordan decided to participate in the 2012 Niswonger Children’s Hospital Kids’ Run and Walk ‘n’ Roll. The event promotes physical activity for kids from infants through fifth grade. Leading up to the event, Jordan logged 12 miles of running and then completed the final 1.1 miles on the day of the Kids’ Run.

This year she’s doing it again. The event is part of the Bluegrass Half Marathon weekend and takes place Sept. 21 at 9:30 a.m. The start line will be in front of University School on the ETSU campus, and the fun run will end at the MSHA Athletics Center where Family Activity Day will be underway.

Visit for more information or to register for the Kids’ Run or Walk ’n’ Roll.

Jordan has certainly come a long way following her bout with pneumonia, and it’s not measured in just miles. It all started with her treatment at Niswonger Children’s Hospital. Her mom, Nicole Havert, who was a schoolteacher for many years, was in awe of the promptness of the service and had nothing but praise for the hospital.

“I was dumbfounded by how quickly the doctors and the staff at the hospital responded to us,” said Havert. “I’ve lived in larger cities and dealt with many hospitals during my time as a teacher, but never have I seen such great service and dedication as I did at Niswonger.”

In 2012, with help from her family and her Lake Ridge gym teacher, Roberta Kuziola, Jordan started preparing for the Kids’ Run by walking and running one mile after school several times a week on the Lake Ridge fitness path, and successfully completed her “half marathon” distance on event day.

Kids can complete their 12 miles of running, jogging or walking on their own or as part of a school group. A mileage log is available online that can be downloaded and printed out. Kids who bring their completed Kids’ Run Activity Log to the final 1.1-mile run on Sept. 21 will receive a free pass to Wallabies or Bays Mountain State Park.

Registration is $5 per child and includes a Kids’ Run T-shirt and participation medal. Additional T-shirts for family members are available for $10 each. There are also several Kids’ Run community grants available for schools with the highest percentage participation from their student population.

The Kids’ Run is designed for children ages 5-12; younger children and their parents can participate in the family-friendly Walk ‘n’ Roll event.

Children who are registered for the Kids’ Run will receive a runner’s bib, a T-shirt and a participation medal. Those registered for the Walk ‘n’ Roll will receive an age-appropriate participation reward the day of the event.

For the Haverts, it’s another chance to celebrate Jordan’s health and fitness.

“If we can get out there, be active as a family and benefit a place as great as Niswonger Children’s Hospital, then you bet we’re in,” her mom said.

With six weeks left until the event, it’s not too late to sign up and start logging activity. For more information on how to get involved in the Kids’ Run and Walk ‘n’ Roll, visit

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