Thousands of people ran and walked under clear blue skies for the annual AIDS Run & Walk Chicago 2008, making it one of the largest and most successful events to date.
Organizers of the annual event, which benefits the AIDS Foundation of Chicago
(AFC) and nearly 100 community organizations, expressed their excitement over the swelling crowds gathered in Grant Park on Sept. 20 before the 5K run and 5K walk began.
Prior to the race, a record number of people had pre-registered for the upcoming AIDS Run & Walk. This year, over, 2,400 people pre-registered for the annual AIDS Run & Walk, compared to 1,948 the previous year. AFC confirmed that over 7,000 people turned out for the event, and that it netted about $400,000 for AIDS-related services from this year's run and walk.
Before the event began, swarms of people gathered in the Health & Fitness Village, which was sponsored by the Illinois Department of Public Health, for demonstrations and performances. Among the performers were the Chicago Spirit Brigade, New York drag star Sherry Vine, ROTC Chicago and many more. Cast members from Chicago's Wicked and Jersey Boys also helped welcome participants before participating in the run and walk themselves.
Also, AFC launched its "Love the One You're With" safer-sex campaign in the Health & Fitness Village. The booth included condom demonstrations, stickers and more.
This year's honorary chair, U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., welcomed the participants and saw them off at the starting line. Thousands participated in the run and walk, both individuals and teams, which included high schools, colleges, corporations, churches, health centers and non-profit organizations. This year, Team Loyola was one of the largest groups. Hundreds of Loyola University Chicago students, wearing yellow shirts, showed their support.
The annual AIDS Run & Walk was first established in 2001, and has netted over $1.5 million to help fight the disease since its inception.Related: Event photos by Frank FailingWritten by: Amy Wooten
Article provided in partnership with Windy City Media Group