Students from seven local elementary schools assembled at Alexander Park Monday ready to accomplish one of running’s staple distances: the mile.

Helping to keep the day’s four races (girls and boys grades 4-5, girls and boys grades 1-3) were runners and coaches from the Faribault High School cross country team.

“They can run the mile at school or at the park,” said FHS cross country girls head coach Willie Clapp. “Most kids choose the park because there are ribbons involved and it’s more of a production than just running at school. We’re thankful for the gym teachers helping us out in promoting the event.”

The race has been an annual event for decades and helps introduce young runners to the program. Current Falcons on varsity ran this race growing up and helped runners by leading pre-race stretches, keeping time, running alongside the racers and being at the ready for a high five.

“I remember running this in fourth and fifth grade. It’s been passed on to us and we like to keep it going because it’s a fun event and gets kids thinking about cross country,” said Clapp. “It’s a smaller version of what we do for meets and kids like the competitive nature of getting out and racing.”

The event was initially scheduled for Oct. 1, but was canceled due to storms in the area. On Monday, the weather — sun and high 60-degree temps — was more cooperative than anyone could have hoped.

“With the rescheduled date, you always worry about losing participants. But it’s a gorgeous fall day and a great crowd,” said Clapp.

While performing well is always a goal, promoting physical exercise and bringing the community together is the prime motive for the event.

“At the end of the day, it’s just about enjoying being out here and competing a little bit,” said Clapp. “It’s all running is. You kind of that inner circle of the running community supporting you, so we have our high school and middle school runners supporting the elementary school runners. They remember running when they were in fourth and fifth grade, so it’s cool that they can go full circle and help the kids out.”

Top-5 finishers:

Boys 1st-3rd grade

1. William Hoisington (homeschool) 6:45, 2. Charlie Foxhaven (homeschool) 6:51, T3. Ibrahim Abdi (Lincoln) 7:12. T3. Chris Martines-Torres (Lincoln) 7:12 5. Braiden Johnson (DM) 7:26.

Girls 1st-3rd grade

1. Natalia Garcia (R) 7:55, 2. Addison Schultz (L) 7:57, 3. Reese Boslter (8:00), 4. Stella Herda (8:05). 5. Gianna Keller (N) 8:17.

Boys 4th-5th grade

1. Cooper Hettinger (L) 6:40.25, 2. Nate Keller (N) 6:42.25, 3. Aiden Amundson (DM) 6:43.11, 4. Jalen Lansing (J) 6:44.43, 5. Seth Linneman (DM) 7:06.

Girls 4th-5th grade

T1. Kaitlin Bailey (N) 7:17, T1 Sigrid Holmgren (R) 7:17, 3. Catherine Foxhoven (homeschool) 7:18, 4. Aubrey Brown (R) 7:19, 5. Makayah Petricka (7:23)

Reach Sports Reporter Dan Slaubaugh at 507-333-3119 or follow him on Twitter @fdn_dan. ©Copyright 2019 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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