One thousand grade schoolchildren from 30 area schools gathered at Melas Park in Mount Prospect on Sept. 29 with one goal -- to run and win.
Six races took place in front of thousands of fans, coaches, parents and racing enthusiasts at the 21st annual Fred D. Martin Cross Country Invitational hosted by St. Peter Lutheran School in Arlington Heights.
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This year marks the largest number of runners ever participating in this event which historically has already been one of the largest middle school events in the state.
This invite attracted some of the top runners in the area and 30 schools. The races were the Boys and Girls 1 mile, Boys and Girls 1.5 Mile and Boys and Girls 2 Mile.
The first Fred D. Martin Invitational was created in 1991 and continues to be hosted by St. Peter Lutheran School. Martin was the athletic director at St. Peter for 29 years as well as one of the founders of the Mid Suburban Middle School Athletic Conference and the Lutheran Sports Association of Illinois. He died in 2011, but his legacy lives on through the impact he had on St. Peter athletics.
Participating schools were:
• Algonquin: St. Margaret Mary.
• Arlington Heights: St. Peter Lutheran School, South Middle School, Thomas Middle School.
• Batavia: Immanuel Lutheran School.
• Buffalo Grove: Cooper Middle School.
• Cary: SS. Peter & Paul Catholic School.
• Chicago: Lutheran Unity West, Norwood Park.
• East Dundee: Immanuel Lutheran School.
• Elmhurst: Timothy Christian School.
• Geneva: St. Peter School.
• Inverness: Holy Family Catholic Academy.
• Lombard: St. John's Lutheran School, Lombard.
• Marengo: Zion Lutheran School.
• Mount Prospect: Lincoln Middle School, River Trails Middle School, St. Emily Catholic School, St. Paul Lutheran School.
• Naperville: Bethany Lutheran School.
• Oak Park: Brooks Middle School, Percy Julian.
• Palatine: Immanuel Lutheran School.
• Park Ridge: St. Andrews Lutheran School
• Prospect Heights: MacArthur Middle School.
• River Forest: Grace Lutheran School, Roosevelt Middle School.
• Roselle: Trinity Lutheran School.
• Schaumburg: St. Peter Lutheran School.
• Wheeling: London Middle School.
• Yorkville: Cross Lutheran School.