Highland Park, Community

45-year-old race reimagined to honor victims of Highland Park shooting

A classic Highland Park event will take on a new and deeper meaning this June.

The North Shore Classic, a tradition of 45 years, is now the Highland Park Strong Half Marathon, 5K and 1-mile Run, a charity race to honor the victims of the shooting in downtown Highland Park in 2022.

Registration is open for the races, which also have a virtual component for participants who cannot be in Highland Park on June 4.

Stuart Wall — a director with Ventures Endurance, which organizes the event — said the event will also welcome more community partners and feature a larger post-race celebration.

According to a press release, Highland Park’s Ali Burnham approached Ventures Endurance in the wake of the shooting with the idea to change it to honor the shooting’s victims. The group turned to the Highland Park Community Fund.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the foundation’s July 4th Highland Park Shooting Response Fund, which has raised and distributed $5.8 million to support those impacted by the shooting.

“We were impressed by the immediate action to establish and distribute the July 4th Response Fund to assist victims and families following the shooting,” Wall said in the release. “More than that, though, the community foundation has long been a presence in Highland Park, reinvesting in the community in which we host our events. From our initial conversations, we felt we could be great partners, and together we could raise more funds that would create a greater impact.”

Seven people were murdered and more than 50 wounded in the shooting during the town’s Fourth of July parade in 2022.

Race organizers said the event — and its new logo — now honors the seven victims: Katherine Goldstein, 64, of Highland Park; Irina McCarthy, 35, of Highland Park; Kevin McCarthy, 37, of Highland Park; Stephen Straus, 88, of Highland Park; Jacki Sundheim, 63, of Highland Park; Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, 78, of Morelos, Mexico; and Eduardo Uvaldo, 69, of Waukegan.

The race’s new logo honors the seven victims of the Highland Park shooting.

The Highland Park Strong races begin with the 5K and 1-mile runs at 7 a.m. Sunday, June 4, near the corner of St. Johns and Central avenues. The half marathon starts at 7:30 a.m. in the same location and heads north to the Fort Sheridan area and back to downtown Highland Park.

The post-race festivities at St. Johns Avenue and Elm Place will feature food and refreshments and are open to the public.

To participate virtually, register by May 27. Registration for the in-person races continues until noon on June 3.

“Having this race renamed as the Highland Park Strong race is a testament to our community’s resiliency,” said Craig Leva, board member of the Highland Park Community Foundation. “There were so many members in our community who took immediate action with candlelight vigils, memorials with pictures, flowers, and words of hope. … Somehow Highland Park Strong went from a hope to a reality.”

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joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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