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Stars and Stripes 5K run returns

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Will honor fallen CPD commander

By Tim Hadac

Hundreds of men, women and children will run, jog, walk or roll through the streets of western Garfield Ridge in about nine weeks, in part to honor the ultimate sacrifice made by a Chicago Police commander.

The Stars and Stripes 5K Run will be held Saturday, July 2 at Wentworth Park, 57th and Narragansett. Participants must be capable of maintaining a 16-minute per mile pace for the event.SWNH 5KLogo 050517

“Commander Paul Bauer was a man whose sacrifice must be remembered and honored,” said Juan Ortega, a Chicago policeman and founder of the non-profit Tri-Builders youth athletic association, the principal sponsor of the 5K. “He was liked, respected and admired by those he commanded, and so many others in and out of law enforcement.”

Commander Paul Bauer was shot and killed on Feb. 13, 2018 while attempting to arrest a man who had just run from other officers near the Thompson Center.

Other officers had attempted to conduct a subject stop on the man in connection with a shooting that had occurred several days earlier. The man fled from the officers. Commander Bauer, who was in the area for a meeting, observed the man and attempted to stop him in a stairwell. The man opened fire, killing Commander Bauer. He was 53 years old and had served on the force for 31 years.

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Commander Paul Bauer

The man convicted in the slaying is currently serving a life sentence in prison.

To honor Commander Bauer, 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.

Ortega said Commander Bauer’s widow and daughter have been invited to attend the 5K as honored guests.

The 5K was founded in 2017 and grew steadily in each of its first three years, reaching about 800 participants in 2019. The pandemic caused the cancelation of the event in 2020. Last year, about 425 people ranging in age from babies in strollers to a 72-year-old man, participated. Ortega anticipates a similar number this year and said that while most of the runners and walkers are from the Southwest Side, he expects 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 $35 for adults and $25 for kids age 17 and younger. Prices will increase on June 1, so participants are encouraged to register soon at tri-builders.org/events.

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.

For those not participating directly as runners/joggers/walkers, Ortega said there are three other ways to help: serve as a race volunteer, make a monetary contribution to the race or simply line the course and cheer on participants.

“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 tri-builders.org/events.

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