On Your Mark… Get Set… BAPA’s 41st Annual Ridge Run is May 28

By Abby Johnson

Rescue your running shoes and jogging shorts from underneath that suffocating pile of hats and gloves – it’s time to get ready for Beverly Area Planning Association’s annual Ridge Run on Memorial Day, Mon., May 28. For the 41st consecutive year participants will race through the historic Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhood to the sound of whoops and hollers from those on the sidelines. After the race, participants and spectators alike are invited to stay for the Beverly Hills/Morgan Park/Mount Greenwood Memorial Day Parade.

The Ridge Run is among Chicago’s favorite occasions. And with good reason: Few events express such a strong sense of community, the hundreds of cheering spectators the embodiment of dedication to neighbors who have become friends and friends who have become family. It’s a symbol of belonging that, like the race, runs through the heart of our neighborhood.

Runners have multiple choices when it comes to distance. Options include 10K run, 5K run or untimed walk, Ridge Run Challenge 5K and 10K, and, for kids up to age 12, the untimed Youth Mile. (The wee ones can compete in the Tot Trot in the kids’ zone).

Running Up on Healthy Habits

For several years, Southtown Health Foods, 2100 W. 95th St., has been the sponsor of the Ridge Run Youth Mile. The family-owned market has been a community staple since 1962, and the store’s manager, Katie Mahler-Speh says the business’s decision to be a sponsor lies in its desire to give back to the community that has been so welcoming over the past five decades.

“Being healthy is important,” Mahler-Speh said. “It’s important for individuals in the community and the community itself.”

The Youth Mile, said Mahler Speh, is the perfect opportunity to instill healthy habits in children while they’re still young. Being active is a necessity for being healthy, and it’s best to start those healthy habits as early as possible, she said.

Race Schedule

The Ridge Run begins with the 10K at 8 a.m. followed by the Youth Mile at 8:10 a.m. and the 5K at 9:30 a.m. A post-race party will feature the Runners Award Ceremony, along with food, beer and children’s activities, including a bouncy house, petting zoo and TotTrot.

Participants can register online at www.bapa.org through May 27, but registration must be completed by May 3 to guarantee receiving a T-shirt. Advance registration and packet pickup is open May 24 through 26, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Running Excels, 10328 S. Western Ave., and May 27, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Ridge Park 9625 S. Longwood Dr. Race day registration opens at 6:30 a.m. at Ridge Park. Race details and information are available at www.bapa.org under Events.

Runners will receive finisher medals, as well as goody bags and runner refreshments. A post-race festival at Ridge Park is open for participants and spectators includes a Kids’ Zone with jump house, petting zoo and Tot Trot; team town; runner awards; food and beverages available for purchase; and more.

Little Company of Mary Returns as Presenting Sponsor

Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Care Centers is presenting sponsor of the Ridge Run, and generously provides the day’s health necessities, like the Ridge Run doctor and first aid tent, along with free on-site blood pressure checks and general health information. Children are welcome to learn about healthy lifestyles. Runners will receive a free cooling towel courtesy of Little Company of Mary Hospital.

Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Care Centers (LCMH) is a Catholic, not-for-profit hospital based in Evergreen Park and has been a vital health resource for the surrounding community for nearly 90 years. LCMH continues to achieve accolades for quality through its revolutionary medical technologies and services both at its home and satellite locations and was recently named among best hospitals by U.S. News and World Report.

Beverly/Morgan Park neighbor Dr. Ginny Hendricks is returning for her 4th year as the Ridge Run doctor. She practices Family Medicine at LCM Medical Group and is fellowship-trained in Sports Medicine. Her skills and interests make her a great fit for the Ridge Run.

“I practice Sports Medicine including the care of the athlete (concussions, strains and sprains, and sports physicals), joint health (backs, knees, shoulders, etc), fracture care, and exercise recommendations in patients of all ages,” Dr. Hendricks related for a LCMH profile. “I enjoy helping people be as healthy and active as they can be whether that’s achieving control of someone’s diabetes or getting a high school pitcher back to playing after some elbow pain or a recreational runner back pounding the pavement after a stress fracture.”

Tricia Deskovich, Advanced Nurse Practitioner (APN) with Little Company of Mary’s Medical Group, will be returning to assist Dr. Hendricks at the Ridge Run’s LCMH First Aid Tent.

Dr. Hendricks attended Ross University School of Medicine and completed her residency at Indiana University/Methodist Hospital. Her fellowship in Sports Medicine was completed at Resurrection Hospital here in Chicago. As a runner herself, Dr. Hendricks especially enjoys being available at the Ridge Run to help if athletes need assistance.

The Meaning of Memorial Day

While the Ridge Run is no doubt an exciting kick-off to summer, what should be most prominent is Memorial Day itself: The day in which we honor those who lost their lives fighting for the American freedom whose reign is sometimes taken for granted. One of the oldest community parades in Chicago – the Beverly Hills/Morgan Park/Mount Greenwood Memorial Day Parade – does just that. This year’s parade will be led by members of the American Gold Star Mothers, women who have lost a son or daughter in military service. The non-denominational, non-profit, politically unaffiliated organization was founded in June of 1928 and works to perpetuate the memory of those whose lives were sacrificed in our wars and to aid the men and women who were wounded or incapacitated during hostilities.

Community members are encouraged to join BAPA, parade participants, community leaders and families for the laying of the wreath, color guard and Memorial Day Ceremony at Ridge Park at 9 a.m. The parade will begin at 10 a.m., 110th and Longwood Dr., and follows the last of the runners back to Ridge Park. Everyone is invited to march. Applications are available at www.bapa.org

Road Home Program is Parade Presenting Sponsor

The Road Home Program: The Center for Veterans and Their Families at Rush University Medical Center is presenting sponsor of this year’s Beverly Hills/Morgan Park/Mount Greenwood Memorial Day Parade. The Road Home Program understands that transitioning from military to civilian life is a challenge. That’s why they provide confidential support, counseling and veteran health services to help families cope with the invisible wounds of war. Services are provided regardless of ability to pay. Modie Lavin is the Senior Family Community Outreach Coordinator. She can be reached at 312-942-8354.

In conjunction with the Ridge Run, donations from the races will be made to Special Olympics Chicago/Mount Greenwood Park and to the Ridge Park Advisory Council for the restoration of the Ridge Park Field House.

Thank You Sponsors

Ridge Run sponsors help to ensure the success of the event. Thank you to Little Company of Mary Hospital, Mike Haggerty Buick GMC Volkswagen of Oak Lawn, Beverly Bank, Road Home Program, Southtown Health Foods, CIBC, County Fair, 19th Ward Youth Foundation, Marquette Bank, State Rep. Fran Hurley, State Sen. Bill Cunningham,  Chicago Park District, McCready Law, 670 Score Sports Radio, State Farm Agent John Harrell, TreadFit Beverly, Chicago Recovery Room, Calabria Imports, Running Excels, The Beverly Review, 100.3SheChicago, Trace Ambulance, Marathon Sportswear,  Beverly Records, Cork & Kerry, Haribo, and Original Rainbow Cone.

For more information about participating in or volunteering for the Ridge Run or Memorial Day Parade, contact the Beverly Area Planning Association, 773-233-3100,  bapa@bapa,org or www.bapa.org.