Thursday, July 29, 2021

Stars and Stripes 5K Run Returns

Will honor the heroes of 9/11

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

Hundreds of men, women and children will run, jog, walk or roll
through the streets of Garfield Ridge in about six weeks, in part to honor the heroic sacrifices made by firefighters, police officers and others during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The Stars and Stripes 5K Run will be held Saturday, Sept. 11 at Wentworth Park, 57th and Narragansett. Participants must be capable of maintaining a 16-minute per mile pace for the event.

The event is the only 5K on the Southwest Side dedicated to instilling patriotism and support for first responders.

“It is impossible to overstate the heroism of those who gave their lives trying to save others on 9/11,” said Juan Ortega, a Chicago policeman and founder of the Tri-Builders youth athletic association, the principal sponsor of the 5K. “Twenty years later, the memories are still strong for those of us old enough to have lived through it. We want to make sure we never forget and that today’s young people understand and appreciate that sacrifice--including that of the 343 firefighters, 71 police officers and others who lost their lives.”

In honor of the heroes of 9/11, Tri-Builders will be giving proceeds from the event to the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, The 100 Club (providing for the families of first responders who have lost their lives in the line of duty) and the Wounded Warrior Project.

The pandemic caused the cancellation of the event in 2020. But in 2019, nearly 800 people ranging in age from babies in strollers to a 72-year-old man, participated. Ortega hopes for a strong turnout this year and said that while most of the runners and walkers are from the Southwest Side, there may be entrants from out of state.

Race day begins at 7:30 a.m. when the start line opens. There will be a course talk at the start line at 7:40 a.m. with an honor guard opening ceremony at 7:45 a.m. The race begins at 8 a.m. and an awards ceremony will be held at 9:30 a.m. back at Wentworth Park.

The cost of the event is $30 for adults and $20 for kids age 17 and younger. Prices will increase on Aug. 20, so participants are encouraged to register soon at

Runners/walkers may register on the day of the event, in person, at 7 a.m.

The race course starts near 57th and Narragansett, then south to 59th Street, west to Nordica, north to 56th Street, east to Merrimac, south to 58th Street, west to Narragansett and then north to about 57th Street.

Street closures will take place from 7 to 9:30 a.m. on 59th Street from Merrimac to Nordica, 56th Street from Merrimac to Nordica and Narragansett from 59th Street to Archer.

“Garfield Ridge is one of the best and most beautiful neighborhoods you’ll find anywhere,” Ortega added. “There are a lot of old-fashioned values here. Neighbors look out for each other; and on race day, a lot of people come out of their homes to cheer on the runners and even offer refreshments. The Stars and Stripes 5K showcases the best of Garfield Ridge.”

Parking will be available at the Kennedy High School parking lot near 56th Street and Narragansett. The lot closes at 7:25 and re-opens at 9:30 a.m. Parking is also available at the old TCF bank at 55th Street and Narragansett.

There are more than a dozen award categories for both adults and kids 12 and younger. The course is USATF certified. 
For more information, visit

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