Naperville District 203 Crosstown Classic Elementary School Race

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11 Years of Running

Nearly 800 kids took to the starting line last week for the 11th annual Naperville School District 203 Crosstown Classic Elementary School Race.

Race founder Chuck Hoff said the idea for the event started over a decade ago.

“The Biggest slogan that everybody needs to keep in mind is run because you can. This is an all-access event so this is not something limited to gender, it’s not limited to ages as it is kindergarten through fifth grade. Anyone can do this so we’re happy with this event and where it’s gone,” said Race Founder Chuck Hoff.

“13 or 14 years ago a couple of us were running races with our elementary schools. I use to work at Naper and Ellsworth. So I was running a dual race just with them, and a couple other schools did the same thing, and we as P.E. teachers started talking and said we should expand this to everybody running. So again, it started 10 to 11 years ago with ‘let’s just get everyone to run,’” said Maplebrook Physical Education Teacher Eric Nelson.

Wide Number of Runners

At first the event was limited to just four schools. But now, all of the elementary schools in District 203 are invited to take part in the fall and spring classic. Kindergarteners run 400 meters, second and third graders run 800 meters, and fourth and fifth graders run the traditional mile.

“I love coming out here and just seeing the excitement on their faces, the pride to be representing their schools. Just watching them come out here and do hard things. We have some junior high kids that came out from Lincoln that went to Kingsley and have them as role models, just coming out here for running and having fun,” said Kingsley Elementary School Physical Education Teacher Kim Blitek.

Racing Down the Road

District 203 brought back the race this fall after a two-year pause due to COVID. It was a welcome return for these students, as the race is often just the beginning for those hoping to grow their running career at schools like Naperville North or Naperville Central.

“The kids have a fantastic place to go to. So in the end there’s a family waiting for them and I highly recommend everyone on this field to continue this running through high school,” said Hoff.

Naperville News 17 Patrick Codo Reports.