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Thousands turn out for 20th Race Against Hate

Categories: News

YWCA Evanston/North Shore’s 20th annual Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate, held June 16 along the lakefront near Northwestern University, drew 4,500 runners and walkers, along with a host of volunteers, sponsors, and well-wishers.

“For 20 years, the Race Against Hate has brought together thousands of people from across our region to send a powerful message that we are united in our commitment to end racism, hate, fear, and intolerance,” said Karen Singer, president and CEO of YWCA Evanston/North Shore at the start of the event. “We are grateful for each and every participant here today and through the 20 years we have been gathering to race.”

The Race Against Hate honors the legacy of Ricky Byrdsong, former Northwestern University men’s basketball coach, who was murdered in 1999 by a white supremacist. Proceeds from the race go toward YWCA Evanston/North Shore’s work to prevent violence and promote racial justice through its newly created Equity Institute. This year’s event raised approximately $300,000 for this work.

Ricky Byrdsong’s widow, Sherialyn, who, along with friends and family, envisioned the race after her husband’s murder, also addressed participants.

“You’ve heard the phrase that it takes a village,” she said. “We are the village that has made a terrible thing – a great loss – into something good.”

Although the Race Against Hate drew thousands from Chicago, Evanston, and other North Shore communities, it also included participants from across Illinois and the United States.

To learn more about the Race Against Hate and YWCA Evanston/North Shore’s Equity Institute, go to www.ywca-ens.org/equity-institute/.

 2019 Race Against Hate Results


The top overall male finisher in the 5K was MATTHEW BLUME, who finished in 15:27. GEDION YITREF was second with a time of 15:49, and STEFFEN UHRICH was third with a time of 16:07.

The top three female finishers in the 5K were JANE BAREIKIS, 17:54; RORY KELLY, 18:35; and ERIKA EDMONSON, 18:44.


The top overall male finisher in the 10K was ARTURS BAREIKIS, 32:43. Second was CONNOR TRAPP, 33:43. BRANDON WILKERSON was third in 34:41.

The top three female finishers in the 10K were MIMI SMITH, 36:04; KAREN LESIEWICZ, 38:06; and VERONICA LAUREANO, 38:36.

Complete race results can be found at www.mychicagoathlete.com/race-results/.

Other results of note:

  • Fastest team in the 5k and 10k: Evanston Running Club
  • Biggest 5k team: Federal Mogul
  • Team that raised the most funds: St. Luke’s Winged Oxen
  • Individual who raised the most funds: Charles DeKay

The 21st annual Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate will take place on June 21, 2020.