OLD TOWN — Seventh Grade student Alessa Ringo set a girls record Wednesday during the annual LaSalle Language Academy Long Distance Classic.
Ringo, a Rogers Park resident who commutes to the Old Town school, finished the one-mile race in 6:13, beating the previous record of 6:23.
"I was thinking, 'Just beat the time,' " she said after the win. "I thought I was going to beat it."
The school has held a day of fall races for more than 25 years. Each grade level runs as a group completing timed laps on closed streets around the school. Older students run farther, up to a mile.
"We are a healthy school," said Principal Elisabeth Heurtefeu, who was cheering students as they passed the finish line along Eugenie Street.
The event allows students to get outside, run a competitive race and it brings the students together, Heurtefeu said.
LaSalle's gym teacher, Stewart Van Steen, has been organizing the day of races for 18 years. He said he had calculated the length of the course to about a perfect mile. He clicked a timer as each student in the school passed the finish line. Any student who broke the 8-minute mark will be named on a bulletin board in the school, along with the fastest students over the history of the race.
"It's just a good day for students to learn about exercise and participate in competition," said special education teacher Matt Gromaski, whose students all completed the race.