June 6, 2014 (EVANSTON, ILL) -5,500 participants are expected to participate in the 15th annual Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate, which will take place Sunday, June 15, 2014 at Long Field in Evanston and includes a 5K run/walk, 10K and youth mile. The Race honors the Ricky Byrdsong, who was killed in his Skokie neighborhood by a white supremacist while walking with his young children in June 1999. Started by his widow Sherialyn and her family and friends in 2000, 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 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. 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. for youth nine through 13 years old and at 9:15 for children two through eight.

“This race has grown every year, and registration this year has been stronger than ever,” said Karen Singer, Executive Director at the YWCA Evanston/North Shore. “We are anticipating a huge 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.”

Cash awards are given to the overall, masters, and senior (70 and over) male and female top finishers in the 5K and 10K.

Pre-registration is ongoing, with a fee of $35 for the 5K/10K and $10 for the youth mile, which includes a free technical t-shirt for the first 5,500 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 11 from 11 am to 7 pm at Whole Foods Market on 1640 Chicago Avenue; on Thursday, June 12 from 4 pm to 8 pm and Friday, June 13 from 10 am to 4 pm at Murphy’s Fit on 513 Dempster; and Saturday, June 14 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 Physical Therapy and Accelerated Rehabilitation Centers, and the program includes on-field refreshments provided by Whole Foods, Starbucks, Argo Tea and Mark Vend. In addition, the post-race ceremony will include words from the Byrdsong family; an awards presentation and a performance by Line Dance Divas.

The Race is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the YWCA Evanston/North Shore, and proceeds support the work of the YWCA in areas of violence prevention programs for youth, teen dating violence prevention, and ongoing racial justice dialogues.

For more information, visit the YWCA’s race website at www.ywca.org/RAH2014 or call 847/864-8445.

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About the YWCA Evanston/North Shore

Dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, the YWCA Evanston/North Shore seeks to raise awareness of the issues of racial and gender equity and to affect real change in our communities. The YWCA Evanston/North Shore focuses on racial justice programming, domestic violence services, women’s economic empowerment and leadership, violence prevention programming, and empowerment through aquatics. Learn more at: www.ywca.org/evanston.