The seventh- annual Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center Race to Zero stepped off Sunday under heavy snow flurries at 35 degrees in Libertyville.
“Let’s melt some snow,” said an announcer via megaphone, asking participants to assemble at the start line shortly after 9 a.m.
“I’d rather have snow than rain. I love it,” said a smiling Janet Walsh of Fox Lake, development and events coordinator at the Gurnee location of the Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center.
The weather brought eventual whiteout conditions for the duration of the event.
“Despite the snow, people know this is such an important cause and we’re grateful for their support,” said Ali Barnett of Highland Park, director of development of the Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center.
The one-mile family fun run/walk and chip-timed 5K and 8K run/walk at Independence Grove became an event record-breaker in attendance and fundraising, according to the organization also known as the “ZCenter.”
Approximately 400 people were registered, with the money raised surpassing $54,000, “both record levels for ZCenter’s annual Race to Zero event,” Barnett said.
“The funds support ZCenter’s wide range of services, provided free of charge to our clients, including counseling and medical advocacy for survivors of sexual assault,” she said.
In 2018, more than 1,000 men, women and children received counseling at ZCenter, and more than 200 survivors were served in the emergency room by center medical advocates. In addition, more than 600 people called ZCenter’s 24/7 support line (847-872-7799), Barnett said.
In addition,13,500 Lake County students received prevention education, she added.
The start and finish lines were located on the west side of the preserve, along Independence Grove Lake.