5,223 runners and walkers participated in the YWCA Evanston/North Shore’s fourteenth annual Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate on Sunday. Participants represented 2 countries, 19 states and 119 cities and towns and included racers from ages 1 to 92.
Ricky Byrdsong was the former head coach of the Northwestern University men’s basketball team. While out walking with two of his young children in his Skokie neighborhood in July of 1999, he was killed by a white supremacist who also killed a Korean American student and wounded ten others of various ethnicities and races. Because of Ricky’s lifelong love of sports and his compelling work with young people in the community, the Race was launched by his family and friends after his death to honor his legacy and bring attention to the need to combat hatred in all its forms. For the past seven years, the Race has been produced by the YWCA Evanston/North Shore, and proceeds go directly towards the YWCA’s anti-racism and violence prevention programming in schools throughout the North Shore.
“As we look around and see people from all different kinds of races, ethnic backgrounds and religions, the message is that you can take an act of hate and transform that into love. And hopefully that’s what you experience here—the spirit of love. That’s what this Race is all about,” said Sherialyn Byrdsong before the start of the 5K. “A father’s heart is to show love and teach his children how to love. And what better day than Father’s Day to have an event like this that has transformed hate into love. Thank you for being here and teaching your children about the power of love and forgiveness.”
“Your presence here, and by the way you've helped set record numbers once again, sends a powerful message that we stand together to eliminate racism, hate, and violence in our communities and make them more equitable for all. Thank you so much for joining us for the 14th annual Ricky Byrdsong Race Against Hate,” remarked YWCA Evanston/North Shore CEO, Karen Singer. “The Byrdsong Family has named this race in honor of Ricky—and while it has always been called the Race Against Hate, we are here not just against something, but also for something. We are here to stand together for racial equity and justice,”
Byrdsong and her three children, Sabrina, Kelly and Ricky Jr. were joined onstage by Karen Singer as well as Vicky Dinges from Presenting Sponsor Allstate Insurance Company to present awards to all of the top finishers, as well as to the winner of the Race Against Hate K-8 Banner Contest, Clara Geraghty of Wilmette. Awards and a cash prize were presented by Three Crowns Park to the fastest male and female runners in the 5K who were 70 and older.
Each year the finishing times get faster, this year by as much as two minutes in some categories.
The top overall male finisher in the 5K was MICHA BELLER, who finished with a time of 15:35. JUSTIN SCOTT was second with 15:36, and MATTHEW MAROL finished third with 15:52. The top three female finishers in the 5K were KATHRYN HAGUE, 17:50, COLUMBA MONTES, 18:23 and MIMI SMITH, 18:51.
The top male masters’ finisher (over 40) was KRZYSZTOF OZOG, 17:04. The top female masters’ finisher was KAYOKO HAMAMUTA, 21:16. Winning awards and cash prizes from Three Crowns Park were the top male finisher, 70 and over, FRANK CALLAHAN, 26:05 and the top female, DIXIE PERIMAN, 34:35.
The top overall male finisher in the 10K was EMISAEL FAVELA, 33:04, second was JOE MILLER, 33:20, followed by CHRISTOPHER SCHMIDT, 34:47. The top three female finishers in the 10K were APRIL LIKHITE, 39:11, ELISE TROPIANO, 39:48 and PATRICIA TORMEY, 41:05.
The top male masters’ finisher (over 40) was JANUSZ SARNICKI, 35:22, and the top female masters’ finisher was MEGAN LOMBARDO, 41:32. Winning an award and cash prize from Three Crowns Park was top male finisher, 70 and over, BILL KLOPSCH, 1:00:37.
Over 90 teams participated together in the Race this year. Evanston Running Club won fastest 10K team and 5K teams. The largest 10K and 5K teams were also Evanston Running Club, and largest Youth Mile team was Chiaravalle Montessori School.
Complete results can be found on the YWCA’s website, www.ywca.org/evanston. The 15th annual Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate will take place on June 15, 2014.