October 10, 2006

Runners race in Comer 5K

About 500 runners of all ages packed into the main quads Saturday morning as part of the fourth annual U.S. Equities Comer Kids’ Classic 5K Run/Walk and Kids’ Dash. The race took runners on a round-trip route between East 57th Street and Promontory Point.

The event attracted both race participants and onlookers. The quad was filled with music by Critical Point, a high school band from the suburbs, and featured activities for kids, including a kids’ dash that followed the adults’ race.

Ronald McDonald also made an appearance.

“He comes every year just to play with the kids,” said Lora Tod, who works in pediatric surgery at the U of C Hospitals. “It’s a real family affair.”

The event attracted several neighborhood runners, as well as University students and alumni. Runners received T-shirts as they crossed the finish line at Hull Gate.

Ryan Sondrack, a Hyde Park resident and 2003 U of C Law School graduate, finished first in just over 18 minutes.

“We practically ran by my apartment,” he said. “I had no excuse not to run.”

Kalina Michalska, a Ph.D. student in psychology who used to work in pediatrics at the U of C Children’s Hospital, was the first woman to cross the finish line, clocking in at just over 19 minutes.

The event raises money by charging a $25 registration fee, and participants can collect donations. Every year, the proceeds go toward a different hospital department to assist in research.

Last year the event raised $30,000, with profits going toward brain tumor research. There will be a grant application process to decide how to allocate the funds this year.

Team entries became part of the race for the first time this year, including a team from the College Programming Office (CPO) and Team Liam, which consisted of about 30 students, staff, and family of Liam Miller, a patient in Children’s Memorial Hospital with a brain tumor.

“It’s been really hard for him and his family lately,” said Anna McElroy, a Team Liam runner. “But he’s on the road to recovery.”