"Banana Chase" Run on Sept. 17 Supports Pediatric AIDS Research

August 17, 2006
News Office: Phyllis Brown (415) 502-6397

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, Sept. 17. The event supports pediatric AIDS research and treatment at UCSF Children's Hospital.

The seventh annual run 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 like Asics running shoes and Fleet Feet. The Banana Chase 5K is a Pacific Association USA T&F 5K Championship, with $5,500 in prize money for the winner.

The Whole Foods Market Young Champions Races for children ages 3 to 18 follow the Banana Chase, featuring 50-meter to 1-mile races in age group heats with ribbons, kids goodie bags and T-shirts to all registered participants. Banana Chase "Baby Boot Camp" participants will receive prizes in the Baby Jogger Division.

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

Dr. Diane W. Wara, 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. However, she said there still is much work to be done to combat HIV in children and youth.

"We have to worry about pediatric HIV infection because HIV changes over time and because there are still HIV-infected children and youth in our country," she said.

"I still see from four to six new babies a year that are infected with HIV," she added. "The reasons they are still born with HIV varies: The mother opts out of testing for HIV and goes through labor and delivery undiagnosed. A baby is born very prematurely at home because the mother can't get to the hospital quickly enough. A mother goes into a very busy emergency room and the baby is born there. Immigrants come into the emergency room and their baby is born there."

Registration for the Banana Chase event is available online.

Pre-registration is $28 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 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.

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