Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate
A record 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.
“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 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.
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.
Race history and mission
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 the YWCA Evanston/North Shore, in particular our efforts in the areas of racial justice and violence prevention. With this funding, the 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.