The Chicago Journal

Countdown to the 2nd Annual Rise to Shine Race: Uniting for Accessibility

Rise to Shine
Image commercially licensed from: Unsplash

A Journey Through Time and Perseverance

The echoes of the Chicago Marathon may have faded away, but the fervor and excitement in Chicago’s running community continue to reverberate as a remarkable event looms on the horizon.

A Runner’s Tale: Overcoming Boundaries

Meet Felix Coleman, Jr., an extraordinary individual whose running journey began an astounding 41 years ago, on a crisp November Saturday in 1982. What makes Felix’s story truly extraordinary is that he is blind. Yet, his passion for running is unwavering, and he conquers the tracks with the help of his guide, Brian, and the indomitable spirit inherited from his remarkable family.

A Legacy of Courage: A Family with a History of Perseverance

Born and raised in Lawndale, Felix carries a legacy of activism that transcends generations. His mother, a native of Mississippi, took part in the historic march with Dr. Martin Luther King in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955. She stood unwaveringly with Rosa Parks during her arrest. The essence of fighting for justice and persevering through adversity runs deep in Felix’s veins.

The Superbowl of Running: Rise to Shine 10K/5K/1K Walk and Run

Felix’s next challenge is what he calls the “Superbowl of running” – the second annual Rise to Shine 10K/5K/1K walk and run. This event, set to take place this Sunday, is a pivotal moment in the Illinois Medical District, where runners and walkers of all abilities will come together to celebrate unity, inclusivity, and, of course, the sheer joy of running.

Champions of Accessibility

This extraordinary event is sponsored by the Chicago Lighthouse and the Chicago Central Lions Club. What sets it apart is its unflinching commitment to accessibility. Janet Szlyk, President and CEO of the Chicago Lighthouse, explains, “[At] the Chicago Lighthouse, our philosophy is for people to live full lives, and for the general public to understand that part of it is being part of activities like races and in the community.”

A Lifelong Journey of Exploration

Paul Rink, a seasoned runner at the age of 77, echoes this sentiment. He emphasizes the importance of embracing new experiences throughout life, a philosophy that enriches our journey. For both Paul and Felix, there are no boundaries, only a relentless vision of success, and their mission is to inspire others to embrace this vision of boundless possibilities.

A Message of Perseverance

Felix Coleman, Jr. leaves us with a powerful message, saying, “Don’t ever give up on yourself. I don’t care if you have a handicap or what color you are, you just have to go in there and run.” His words encapsulate the unwavering spirit that fuels this remarkable event.

The Countdown to Rise to Shine

The Rise to Shine walk and run is scheduled for this Sunday in the vibrant Illinois Medical District, conveniently located at the corner of Hastings and Wood Streets. Participants have the option to register on the day of the event or in advance, ensuring that everyone can be part of this celebration of unity and accessibility. The race itself will kick off at 8 a.m., heralding a day of inspiration and accomplishment.