The 11th annual Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate will take place Sunday, June 20, 2010 at Long Field in Evanston. The Race honors the late Northwestern University basketball coach, who was killed in his Skokie neighborhood by a white supremacist while walking with his young children in June 1999. Created by his widow Sherialyn, the community event honors Byrdsong’s legacy of working with young people and brings attention to the need to combat hatred in all forms. In 2007 Sherialyn entrusted the future stewardship of the Race to the YWCA Evanston/North Shore.

The 5K walk/run and 10K courses are fast, flat and scenic races down Sheridan Road and along the shores of Lake Michigan — with the 10K looping through the campus of Northwestern University, according to the YWCA Evanston/North Shore. The 10K race begins at 7:30 a.m., the 5K walk/run will start shortly thereafter and the youth mile, an out and back course on Sheridan Road, kicks off at 9:00 a.m.

“So far, pre-race registrations for this year have far surpassed previous years,” said Karen Singer, Executive Director at the YWCA Evanston/North Shore. “We are anticipating a big turnout and are honored that so many people come back to support the Race and all that it stands for every year. It says a lot about the strength of our community.” 

Pre-registration is ongoing, with a fee of $29 for the 5K/10K and $10 for the youth mile, which includes a free technical t-shirt for the first 3,200 5K/10K registrants and 500 youth milers to pick up their packets. Pre-registration and packet pick-up events will take place in Evanston on Wednesday, June 16 from 11 am to 7 pm at Whole Foods Market on 1640 Chicago Avenue, Thursday, June 17 from 4 pm to 8 pm and Friday, June 18 from 10 am to 4 pm at Murphy’s Fit on 513 Dempster, and Saturday, June 19 from 10 am to 4 pm at the YWCA Evanston/North Shore on 1215 Church Street. 

Participants can also register on Race Day beginning at 6:15 a.m. for a $39 fee; registration for youth is $15 at the Race. Pre- and post-race stretching will be led by AthletiCo and lululemon and the program includes on-field refreshments provided by Whole Foods, Starbucks, Argo Tea, Noodles & Company and Kim & Scott’s Gourmet Pretzels.  In addition, the post-race ceremony will include words from the Byrdsong family; an awards presentation; food and fun for the whole family, including a children’s activity by Noodles & Company; onsite trigger point massage by Wellness Revolution; and fitness assessments by AthletiCo…

In addition, the YWCA is carrying on a tradition from last year and encouraging participants to sign a banner with a positive message for change. The banner will be displayed at the YWCA throughout the summer, according to Singer.

Proceeds from the Race will be used to support the work of the YWCA in areas of anti-violence programs for youth, teen dating violence prevention, ongoing racial justice dialogues and services to women and children who are victims of domestic violence. 

For more information or to register for the Race, visit the YWCA’s website at http://www.ywca.org/evanston or call 847/864-8445.