CALUMET CITY — Like most events, the SWAG Race had to take a pandemic break.
The 5K run to benefit female athletes at TF North High School was held in the fall of 2017 and again a year later. The plan was to move it to the spring for the 2019-20 school year, but COVID-19 prevented that from happening.
On Sunday, though, the SWAG Race — the acronym stands for Strong Women Are Gorgeous — was back, bigger than ever.
According to TF North girls basketball coach Julie Hadler, the race had its most participants (more than 70) and largest amount raised for North girls athletics (around $1,200) since its inception.
Clarke Criddell, a former TF North runner who now competes for Wabash College, finished first overall.
"It's a really fun event, and we're trying to make it into a community event as well," Hadler said. "Besides getting the girls to volunteer, (the goal is to) bring people to see TF North, broadcast what we're trying to do to support our young women."
Money raised from the race will support Meteors girls athletics in a variety of ways, including tournament expenses, summer league fees, T-shirts and equipment.
Hadler and fellow organizers aim to keep growing awareness for the annual event, including by reaching out to Calumet City aldermen.
"We're trying to get people more aware of what's going on at the high school," she said.
Another way of doing that is switching up the course, which starts and ends at the high school with the rest of the race taking part in nearby neighborhoods. Hadler said the course could shift to different parts of the city in coming years.
The long-term goal is to do something even more lasting than plugging the gaps in the athletic department's budget.
"My dream is to make it big enough so we could do some scholarships for our female athletes," Hadler said.