Evanston/North Shore

Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate


Please join us again this year for the 17th annual Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate on Sunday, June 19, 2016!

The Race features:

  • chip-timed 5K and 10K runs
  • recreational walk
  • fun youth mile
  • on-field refreshments, music, and fun for the whole family
  • technical t-shirts in women's and unisex cuts
  • great give-away bags
  • fast, flat, and scenic race course along Lake Michigan
  • and a great cause!


This is a positive community event you don't want to miss! Proceeds from the Race benefit the work of YWCA Evanston/North Shore, especially in the areas of violence prevention and racial justice.

Time lapse video of the 2015 Race courtesy of Evanston Photographic Studios.

What does the Race Against Hate look like from the front? We mounted some cameras on the lead bikes, put them together with some beautiful photos from Evanston Photographic Studios.
Online Registration

Online registration at www.ywca.org/RAH2016 is now open. (If you'd prefer not to register online, you may download the registration form and send it to us. Paper registration forms must be received by June 13th. After that date you must register in person at packet pick-up or on Race Day starting at 6:15 am.)

We encourage you to leverage your run/walk to raise funds for YWCA Evanston/North Shore. While this is not required for participation, we value your support. Your support makes a BIG difference to us!

It's easy to start or join a team when you register! Form a team with your family, friends, co-workers or neighbors. It's a great way to come together in support of something positive on Father's Day.

There is no added service charge or processing fee - the registration fee is the price you pay.

Paper registration

If you’d prefer to register by mail, we will have a downloadable form available here shortly. You may also call (847-864-8445) or email us at raceagainsthate@ywcae-ns.org and request a paper registration form.

The Race Against Hate is competitive at the front and relaxed and celebratory at the back – so whether you're already training or lace up your sneakers for the first time in June, we have a place for you. Please join us! 


Over 5,350 participants joined us in 2015. Thank you for your enthusiasm and your support! 

In addition to participating in the Race, what else can you do to support racial justice and equity? At the Race in 2015, Sherialyn Byrdsong challenged everyone to "to identify one thing, besides participating in this Race Against Hate, that you can do, to prevent hate crimes and to make our nation a safer place for ALL Americans to live." Here are six things to consider:

  1. Read "The Race is a silver lining in the dark cloud of hate," Sherialyn Byrdsong's remarks at the Race
  2. Read "Why we continue to Race Against Hate and Stand Against Racism," by Eileen Heineman, Co-Director of Racial Justice Program
  3. Participate in one of YWCA Evanston/North Shore Racial Justice Programs
  4. Learn more on your own: You can find links to suggestions of articles, books and films here: Racial Justice resources
  5. Attend a community event: access a calendar of racial justice related events here
  6. Like our Facebook page to get timely updates on our work and what you can do to make a difference.

RESULTS can be found here: http://www.mychicagoathlete.com

GREAT PHOTOS taken by Evanston Photographic Studios can be seen here:  http://www.pictage.com/1688652

In the words of one participant

Lyle Foster, one of Ricky’s friends, described his experience at last year's race: “For all those days that the promise of the Martin Luther King Jr. "Dream" seems to be in reverse, this was a day that filled me with hope.

"I was encouraged by witnessing the incredible number of children, babies in strollers and seniors on walking sticks who ran and walked to stand against hate. Truth be told, I saw folks from every imaginable background and age group participating.

As I walked and did the old man's shuffle…I realized that a lot of people do believe in the opportunity for all and the dignity of every human.” (Read the entire essay here.)

The Race is about so much more than running. Thanks to all our participants, sponsors, supporters and volunteers for believing that racing against hate is indeed worth the sweat and that when we come together to race against hate and racism we all win.

About the Race

On Father's Day each June, the Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate brings together thousands of people from all over Chicagoland to run and walk in unity against racial hatred and violence. Whether you're a casual walker or a competitive runner, we have a place for you! Now entering it's 16th year, the Race features music, on-field refreshments and fun for the whole family. Add to that technical t-shirts, great give-away bags, awards, a fast, flat, scenic race course along Lake Michigan and a great cause, and you have a positive community event you won't want to miss!

The Race Against Hate honors the legacy of Ricky Byrdsong, former Northwestern University Men's Basketball Coach who, while walking with his two young children in 1999 was murdered by a white supremacist. Because of Ricky's lifelong love of sports and compelling work with young people in the community, the Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate was launched by his widow, family and friends to bring attention to the need to combat hatred in all of its forms.

Proceeds from the Race Against Hate are used to further the mission of YWCA Evanston/North Shore, in particular our efforts in the areas of racial justice and violence prevention. With this funding, YWCA assists children in our schools and local youth organizations to challenge their own prejudices and foster healthy, violence-free relationships among their peers; supports teenagers in examining their own relationships and practicing constructive ways to handle conflict and differences; and encourages adults to engage in constructive dialogue, interactive activities and meaningful action as related to racial justice.


Learn more, get safe, get involved, empower yourself.