Banana chase run on September 16 supports pediatric AIDS research

By Phyllis Brown

Children and adults of all ages and running levels are invited to join the annual “Banana Chase” run at Kezar Stadium in Golden Gate Park on Sunday, September 16.  The event supports pediatric AIDS research and treatment at UCSF Children’s Hospital.

This is the eighth annual run, and it is expected to draw some of the fastest distance runners in California, as well as thousands of recreational runners. It features a 5K fun run/walk and 10K run.

The run will begin at 9 a.m. and is named for the “bananas,” runners dressed in banana costumes, who participate. Runners who cross the finish line ahead of the bananas will be eligible for prizes from sponsors including Asics running shoes. The Banana Chase 5K is also a Pacific Association USA T&F 5K Championship, with $5,500 in prize money for the winner.

Following the Banana Chase will be the Whole Foods Market Young Champions Races for children ages 3 through 18, featuring 50-meter to 1-mile races in age group heats, with ribbons, kids’ goodie bags and t-shirts to all registered participants.

A pre- and post-race festival will include free refreshments, live music, face painters, a bounce house and more starting at 9 a.m. and ending at noon. Banana Chase participants receive a commemorative Banana Chase t-shirt and a variety of goodies from Whole Foods Market vendors.

Diane W. Wara, MD, chief of pediatric immunology/rheumatology and program director for the Pediatric Clinical Research Center at UCSF Children’s Hospital, is among those credited with research that resulted in virtually ending transmission of HIV infection from mothers to their babies at birth in 1980s and 1990s. Wara said there still is much work to be done to combat HIV in children and youth.

Online registration for the Banana Chase event is available at www.bananachase.com. Entry forms are also available at all Mollie Stone’s Market locations, or by contacting race organizers RhodyCo Productions at (415) 759-2690 or by sending an e-mail to [email protected] Pre-registration is $30 for the Banana Chase 5K & 10K and $13 for the Whole Foods Market Young Champions Races.

One of the nation’s top children’s hospitals, UCSF Children’s Hospital creates a healing environment where children and their families find compassionate care at the healing edge of scientific discovery, with more than 150 experts in 50 medical specialties serving patients throughout Northern California and beyond.

UCSF is a leading university that consistently defines health care worldwide by conducting advanced biomedical research, educating graduate students in the life sciences, and providing complex patient care.