5K Walk/Run set for Labor Day in Jefferson Park, ending at Taste of Polonia
by BRIAN NADIG
The inaugural Copernicus Center 5K Run/Walk will kick off at 9:30 a.m. on Labor Day, Sept. 2, taking participants down several Jefferson Park side streets and ending at the annual four-day “Taste of Polonia” festival.
“Our motivation on this is community outreach and to take Copernicus a little further into the community and beyond Taste of Polonia,” said Ted Przybylo, the center’s managing director.
Between 200 and 250 runners and walkers are expected this year, with a goal of 500 participants within a few years, said consultant Michael Mayse, who is helping with the event.
Runners, who will have timing chips in their number bibs, will be able to earn points which go toward their eventual qualification (based on Chicago Area Runners Association guidelines) for marathons. Bill Thom of the RunRace Web site has been assisting with the race, according to Przybylo.
The approximate route will take participants over the Kennedy Expressway via the Ainslie Street bridge and north on Laramie Avenue and around Roberts Square Park and then east on Carmen Avenue to Lamon Avenue. From there runners will head south to Ainslie and then east to Lavergne Avenue and south to Gunnison before heading back to the bridge.
Walkers will have a shorter route which is a mile long. Walkers are scheduled to start at 9:40 a.m.
The event welcomes all ages. “Runners are usually solitary, but this allows them to run with their family,” Mayse said.
At the end of the race, participants will receive a free admission ticket to the festival, where an awards ceremony will take place. The festival, which includes a variety of musical entertainment, runs Aug. 30-Sept. 2, at Lawrence and Lipps avenues.
Race proceeds benefit the Copernicus Foundation, a non-profit cultural organization which operates the Copernicus Center, which includes a 1,900-seat theater.
Labor Day was chosen due to anticipated “light holiday traffic” during the race, Przybylo said. No major thoroughfares are being closed for the race.
The foundation hopes the event will fill a need for more runs on the Northwest Side, and it may look into partnering with other local nonprofit groups for future runs, Przybylo said. “The possibilities are endless, he said.
Pre-registration for participants is available at www.runrace.net/Copernicus for $25 through Saturday, Aug. 17. Registration fees increase $5 each week after Aug. 17, and day-of-event registration is $45.
Participants receive a tee-shirt in addition to festival admission for one day. NorthShore University Health System is a sponsor of the race.