The Lilac Bloomsday Association presents the 43rd running of the Lilac Bloomsday Run.
My name is Alexis Blakes. I’m originally from Detroit MI but have made Washington my home. I participated in track & field in high school for two years before my mother relocated us to Alabama. Shortly after graduating high school I decided to join the US Army. I served four and a half years stateside. Around year two I began to have recurring issues of stress fractures throughout my right leg. These injuries became exacerbated by running.
After on and off physical therapy and inconclusive lab work I was medically discharged for a temporary disability. It was a crushing moment as I had planned a long and fulfilling career in the military. Although I was encouraged that this wasn’t an absolute end to my military aspiration I knew it was. I was mentally defeated and emotionally drained. Post discharge I tried to be proactive and recover. But naturally my emotions drove me to over exert and give up.
After sporadically signing up for a Spartan Sprint earlier this year I decided that the finish line is where I say it is. I love running. And I don’t want to my fear of failure to take such an important staple from my life. I’ll be recovering my ability in hopes of improving my quality of living.
I want to document my journey so that non expert, beginners, recovering runners, etc , can see that runners are people who run. Not just run fast or long, or look aesthetically appealing. Runners are people who run and running can benefit everyone.
I spend a lot of time preparing for and competing in Spartan races. These are 4-15 mile races with bootcamp style obstacles that prevents you from being able to go mentally numb during races, and force you to be prepared for anything. I have been fortunate enough to be Nationally Ranked in these races. In 2018 alone I have completed 17 races, and had the opportunity to travel across the country. Being all over the country has hardened my belief that nowhere comes close to how amazing the Pacific Northwest is!
I am a High School Science Teacher at a local high school. I’ve been teaching for 5 years, and love every minute of it! I’ve been very fortunate to have had opportunities to get students involved in science with creative ways such as working with NASA, Samsung, and multiple other grants where students conduct real scientific investigations to better our community. While teaching I also coach, and encourage teenagers to live an active lifestyle.
Growing up I have always lived an active lifestyle. I would do every sport I could until I got into high school. Once I got into high school I focused on cross country and track. One tradition that my family did was participate in Bloomsday every year. My first Bloomsday I completed was when I was 10 months old when my dad carried me on his shoulders. Since then I have never missed a Bloomsday! I have done 27 Bloomsdays to date and am ecstatic for my 28th here in a few months!
This year I will be running my 10th Bloomsday race! I started running as a way to loose weight. Bloomsday was my target race. While my first race wasn’t as fast as I expected, I fell in love with the race experience, specifically this race! The energy and encouragement I received on the course was like nothing I had experienced before. I was hooked, I was going to be a runner!
Over the years I continued to fall in love with running, I have run numerous races all over the northwest.
In 2017, I ran my first marathon, the NYC marathon. October of this year I completed my 2nd marathon in Boise, Idaho!
I am a board member of my local running club and am actively involved in the running community.
Bloomsday helped spark my passion for an active lifestyle!
I have been running most of my life. At age 10 I ran cross country at JJ Browne Elementary and began training for Bloomsday. Later I ran for North Central HS and Seattle Pacific University. I began coaching boy’s cross country and track in 1991, and since 2010 I have been at Central Valley HS, where we have been a state placer 8 consecutive years.
I believe I have run 15 marathons and 5 ultras. No matter how long I have been at it, make no mistake, I struggle with the love/hate experience of running like everyone else. I know the agony of finishing “dead friggin last” at races and have enjoyed the thrill of crossing the tape first.
Running is not about competition with others though, it’s about pushing yourself and fighting your inner doubting voice and being the best version of yourself. It’s also about the camaraderie with fellow runners, which is why I especially love running in Spokane with all of it’s wonderful running clubs and road races, including the granddaddy of them all, Bloomsday, without question the best road race I have ever participated in!
My name is Miran McCash, I just moved to Spokane a little over a year ago with my husband and my dog Bandit. I am currently in school getting my masters in teaching to become a physical education teacher! I am also a personal trainer, running coach, and group fit instructor on the side. I was a fitness specialist for geriatrics and taught a Kinesis class in Seattle until I decided I wanted to pursue teaching. I want to teach kids at a young age why it is so important for us to move and live a healthy lifestyle as we get older.
I started running when I was in 8th grade. Going into high school, my coach called me up and asked me if I wanted to join the cross country team. I told him, I do not know how to ski (haha). From then, I fell in love with it and have been running ever since. I recently have gotten into the marathon and have been training for one every two years while also doing local races. Before moving to Spokane, I started a running club in Seattle and knew I wanted to always connect with people through running. While researching races, I learned about Bloomsday while living in Seattle. I thought, wow, all of these runners from all over the state and west coast come to run this 12k?! So, when we knew we were going to move to Spokane, we came to visit one weekend and ran Bloomsday in 2017. It was an amazing! The crowds, the atmosphere, the course was beautiful, and just seeing individuals of all shapes and sizes running this 12k. From then, I knew I wanted to run this race every year. I joined the Spokane Swifts Running Team to meet other local women runners in the area. Since then, I have started a “Run and Brunch” once a month to bring local women runners together. I love how easy it is to network and connect with so many people in this community.
This past year, we had family come out from the west side and this was the first race where my dad came to watch me run. I have always wanted to have him watch me run, and Bloomsday 2018 will be one I will always remember as I saw my dad cheering and waving at me while I ran past him. Bloomsday is a great way for me to have my family come watch and have friends from Seattle come and run this race with me.
I am so excited to be one of the 2019 ambassadors. I hope to meet more people in the community and to make a positive impact while training and volunteering for this organization. I believe there are so many ways I can make a positive impact with the people I talk with, run with, and who follow my journey as an ambassador. Thank you for this opportunity!
Sara is a small town girl raised in the Inland Northwest, a WSU grad and die-hard Cougar fan.
“Win or lose, crimson and gray will always run through my veins. In my opinion, football season is the most wonderful time of the year, followed by when the leaves start to change colors in our beautiful city,” said Sara.
Sara started her career in radio in 2004 and found her home at KISS 98.1! You can find Sara on the weekends camping, hiking and exploring every corner of the PNW with her pup, Cricket, and trusty Subaru.
“I proudly practice a healthy lifestyle and quit drinking to become the best me in 2017. Now I use Mother Nature, my running shoes and the gym as my therapy!
Sara finished her fifth half-marathon this year.
“I’m an avid runner, however I’m not great at it! And that’s okay! I completed my fifth half-marathon this year and while I’ll never cross that finish line first, it’s knowing that I did something great and that I did it for myself that pushes me through. There’s something therapeutic about running. And something words can’t describe about crossing that finish line with your favorite people waiting there for you.
In 2018, Sara’s Dad finished his first Bloomsday!
“He never participated because he didn’t think he could do it. I knew he could, and he DID. And the way that man beamed with the biggest smile and biggest sense of pride at the finish line is a memory I won’t soon forget.”
Sara is excited to hit the ground running as a 2019 Ambassador.
“I want to let others know that they are totally capable of crossing that finish line just like my Dad did. To get them excited, give them a first-hand look at the truths behind preparing for a race – whether they are running it for fun or for competition. And to let them know that either route is completely acceptable! Bloomsday is such an incredible event for Spokane, and I would love to help let the world know about what makes our city so unique and wonderful.”