The Lilac Bloomsday Association presents the 44th running of the Lilac Bloomsday Run.
41st Edition Of Popular 12-Kilometer Event
Spokane, WA—With a little over two months before the Lilac Bloomsday Run, organizers are confident that streets will be clear of snow and ice by the time the 41st edition of Spokane’s big run gets underway. Nearly 7,000 runners and walkers have jumped on board since online registration opened on January 1, and a final tally of close to 50,000 is expected by race day. For those who didn’t join in the early surge, there’s still plenty of time to sign up for the popular 12-kilometer (7.46 mile) road race, which takes place on Sunday, May 7.
“We’re pleased that so many people have already signed up when our streets have been covered in snow and ice all winter, looking anything but inviting to runners and walkers,” said Bloomsday Association President Mark Starr. “I think we’re all eager for spring and the kind of warm, sunny weather we’ve enjoyed on so many Bloomsdays.”
Those entering online for this year’s Bloomsday Run, which represented over 85% of the field in 2016, will continue to enjoy features that are only available to online entrants. This includes an email a few days before Bloomsday weekend letting them know their race number and the color of their starting group, as well as the option to keep family and friends together in the same starting group. Special Bloomsday-branded gear is also available for purchase during online registration, as is the 2017 finisher medal, which shows a rendering of the famous Doomsday Hill. In addition, online entrants can sign up later this spring to have their real-time results instantly broadcast to Facebook, Twitter and mobile phones as soon as they cross the finish line. For those still wishing to enter through the mail, printed entry brochures will soon be available at hundreds of locations in the Inland Northwest.
Bloomies are encouraged as part of the registration process to support Bloomsday’s official 2017 charity, World Relief Spokane, which provides resettlement assistance, employment services, microenterprise loans and immigration services to refugees who have fled persecution and violence and been resettled in Spokane. Entrants can support World Relief Spokane by adding a donation when they sign up online or through the mail.
In the lead-up to Bloomsday weekend, participants will want to download the mobile phone app, a different version this year that will allow runner tracking on race day. There’s also a new bird’s-eye-view of the course available on the Bloomsday website that gives a “flyover” tour of the iconic route, offering the viewer a true sense of what they’ll face on race day. And just for fun, Bloomies should watch for River City’s Bloomsday Blonde Ale later this spring, as well as a special Bloomsday Blend coffee produced by Spokane’s own Roast House Coffee.
The Bloomsday experience on the course this year will be similar to what participants enjoyed in 2016, with everyone starting on Riverside Avenue near Lincoln Street and finishing at the north end of the Monroe Street Bridge, just above the Spokane River falls. Timing will be accomplished with the B-tag (computer chip), and the technology will also be used to match runners to photos taken near timing mats. Photos will be provided online at no charge, for posting to Facebook and other social media sites or to have turned into prints at a location of the participant’s choice.
In addition to the free photos to download, this year Bloomsday will once again be partnering with Photoboxx to offer all participants FREE souvenir prints directly off their Twitter and Instagram accounts. Participants just need to include #BloomsdayRun in the description of their social media posts on Bloomsday, and Photoboxx will automatically print the photos and have them available for pickup at their booth in the post-finish area.
While the experience on the Bloomsday course will be very similar to past years, the post-finish area will be dramatically different. Due to construction in Riverfront Park, most post-race activities will be situated next to Spokane Falls Boulevard for several blocks following T-shirt distribution. Organizers anticipate having to hold most post-finish activities adjacent to Spokane Falls Boulevard for the next few years until construction in the park is completed. In addition, because of construction near City Hall, finishers will be directed to Main and then to Lincoln to reach Spokane Falls Boulevard.
To help people get ready for this year’s 12-kilometer challenge, Providence Health will once again organize free Saturday clinics beginning on March 18. Clinics this year will be at Spokane Community College instead of Spokane Falls. Meanwhile, nearly 8,000 elementary school children have already begun getting in shape by participating in a Fit For Bloomsday…Fit For Life training program at one of 75 participating schools in the region. The Fit For Bloomsday program, now in its 32nd year, is sponsored by CHAS Health. Kids in the program will be rewarded this year with special colored “toe tags” as they reach mileage goals. Those who reach program goals in the 10-week program will also receive coupons for free admission to city swimming pools when accompanied by a paying adult, and additional coupons for reduced admission to Mobius Children’s Museum or Mobius Science Center, and free admission to the Garland Theater.
Along with the run itself, this year’s Bloomsday weekend will feature the twelfth annual Marmot March, a non-competitive one-mile kids’ event on Saturday, May 6, the day before Bloomsday. The Marmot March is for children third grade and younger who run with their parents. The Marmot March is sponsored by Franz Bakery, and is open for the first 300 children who sign up. Those interested should download an entry form from the Bloomsday website and return it as noted on the form. The course will start and finish on the east side of Riverfront Park in an area not currently under construction.
Also on Bloomsday weekend, organizers welcome Agua Brands—offering hydration for an active lifestyle—as the title sponsor of the Trade Show, which is held in conjunction with Check-In at the Spokane Convention Center. The Agua Bloomsday Trade Show, with 280 booth spaces, will once again have a variety of displays and activities centering on health and fitness. Agua products will be available for sampling, and Agua products will be distributed to attendees free of charge. Nearly 40,000 people are expected to attend the show.
In this, the year of the wall, there will be three at the Agua Bloomsday Trade Show for attendees to enjoy. Washington Trust’s Social Media Wall will pull designated Instagram and Twitter feeds from people wanting to guess the color of this year’s finisher shirt. Those will be displayed on a huge screen at the show along with a graph displaying the guesses. Not far away, a larger than life wall provided by our newest major sponsor, Dick’s Sporting Goods, will allow show attendees to write a personalized message about why they are participating in Bloomsday 2017. And a third wall will be the popular Selfie Station introduced last year, where participants can take a selfie with a personalized message displayed on the backdrop.
Bloomsday is proud of its efforts to be more environmentally sensitive, as demonstrated by the successful composting of over a ton of discarded water cups in each of the past eight years. Bloomsday participants will once again be asked to help reduce, reuse and recycle as part of Bloomsday’s “Getting Greener” initiative. Finishers should look for and use the appropriate recycling and composting containers.
While there have been many changes in Bloomsday in recent years, some things remain the same. Competition at the front end promises to be fierce, as world-class runners and wheelchair racers battle for prize money, which includes a $20,000 U.S. citizen’s purse. Bloomsday is a member of the PRRO Circuit of major prize money races, and as such supports national and international competition while working in partnership with the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to promote a drug-free sport.
In addition to the elite racers at Bloomsday, top age-group runners will vie for medals, local stars will hope to earn a free trip to the EQT Pittsburgh 10 Miler in October, and businesses will scramble for top honors among over 325 teams in the Corporate Cup, which is sponsored again this year by Northwest Orthopaedic Specialists.
For those farther back in the pack, on-course entertainment and the cheers of spectators will make the journey fun and memorable. During its four decades, Bloomsday has become a favored spring gathering place for families and friends, most of whom complete the course and collect the coveted finisher’s shirt, the color and design of which are kept secret until the finish line.
Major Sponsors of Bloomsday ’17, who help keep the Bloomsday entry fee affordable for families, include Washington Trust Bank, Premera Blue Cross, Providence Health, Franz Bakery, Fruit of the Loom, The Inlander, Itron, BDO, OXARC, the Davenport Grand, Agua Brands, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Corporate Cup Sponsor Northwest Orthopaedic Specialists. These community minded sponsors are deserving of the thanks of all Bloomies.
Online registration for Bloomsday ’17 is open at www.bloomsdayrun.org, and printed entry brochures will soon be available at locations throughout the Inland Northwest. The on-time entry fee for Bloomsday is $18.00 this year, the lowest in the nation for a major running event. Mailed entries must be postmarked by April 18 to avoid the late entry fee of $35.00. Online registration at the $18.00 fee will be available until April 23.
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