Byrdsong memorial race set for Saturday

Rebecca Orbach

About 50 local businesses will help honor the memory of former Northwesternbasketball head coach Ricky Byrdsong Saturday in The Ricky ByrdsongMemorial 5K, “Race Against Hate,” at NU.

Byrdsong was shot and killed last summer by World Church of the Creatormember Benjamin Smith while he was taking a walk with his two children intheir Skokie neighborhood.

The 5K begins 8 a.m. Saturday, with the youth mile starting at 9 a.m.Participants will start and finish the run/walk at NU’s Long Field.

Sheridan Road will be blocked off from Lincoln to Dempster streets to allowrace participants to use the streets. NU will be closed to all vehiclesfrom 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

The male and female 5K winners each will receive a pair of airline ticketsto London. Participants also are eligible to win one of 50 raffle prizes,which include a grand-prize trip to Puerto Rico.

All proceeds from the 5K, which costs $20 to enter, and youth mile, whichcosts $8, will go to the Ricky Byrdsong Foundation. The organization wascreated by Byrdsong’s wife, Sherialyn, after her husband’s death and isdedicated to combatting hate and violence by and against children.

At the time of his death, Byrdsong was working on his first book onparenting, which recently was released by Bethany House Publishers andauthors Dave and Neta Jackson under the title “Coaching Your Kids in theGame of Life.”

“He really had a dream to share his ideas and life lessons,” Dave Jacksontold The Daily in September. “He was really a man of integrity and aquality person.”