The 12th annual Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate brought out a record number of people for the event on Sheridan Road in Evanston this morning.
Over 4,000 runners and walkers turned out this Fathers’ Day morning at 7:30 a.m. to participate in the Race Against Hate, and they raised $130,000.
The race honors the former Northwestern University basketball coach shot to death by a white supremacist while walking in his Skokie neighborhood.
The runners in the five and 10 kilometer events were determined as they left the starting line. But the crowd of 5k walkers who followed had a more festive mood.
The Black Eyed Peas blasted in the distance as the walkers cheered on the 10k runners in the home stretch. “It’s a race not a party.” one women said as she laughed to a man dancing on her left.
The YWCA hosted the event with Allstate Insurance as the presenting sponsor.
Sherialyn Birdsong with YWCA President Karen Singer (Genie Lemieux-Jordan photo).
Byrdsong’s wife, Sherialyn, offered encouragement to the runners. “Words can hardly express the feelings I get when I come to this race,” she said, adding a favorite quote from her late husband: “‘I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to you, and 90 percent how you react to it.'”
There was even a one-mile race for kids age 8 and under. (Genie Lemieux-Jordan photo).