Blue Skies Predicted for May 5th
Spokane, WA—With a little over two months before the Lilac Bloomsday Run, organizers are going out on a limb to predict blue skies and warm weather for the 43rd edition of Spokane’s big run. Over 8,000 runners and walkers have jumped on board since online registration opened on January 1, and with spring weather just around the corner, more than 40,000 are expected before registration closes. 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 5.
“We've been shoveling our way through the last blast of winter,” said Bloomsday Association President Mark Starr. “And about now is when people start looking forward to the first Sunday in May. We think this is going to be another warm, exciting and memorable Bloomsday.”
To help people get ready for this year’s 12-kilometer challenge, Providence Health will once again organize free Saturday clinics beginning on March 16. Clinics this year will be at Spokane Falls Community College. Additional training expertise will be available through Bloomsday's partnership with RunDoyen. RunDoyen's world-class coaches have built five different levels of training plans made exclusively for Bloomsday. Whether the goal is to walk/jog to the finish, or run fast with the front of the pack, RunDoyen has a plan to help reach every participant's race day goals.
Not to be left out, over 7,000 elementary school children have already begun getting in shape by participating in a Fit For Bloomsday…Fit For Life training program at one of 70 participating schools in the region. The Fit For Bloomsday program, now in its 34th 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 Riverfront Park, Mobius Children’s Museum or Mobius Science Center, and the Garland Theater.
A fair number of the kids training in the Fit For Bloomsday program are expected to get a head start on spring running by signing up for Jr. Bloomsday. The incredibly popular kids run of the 1980s and 1990s will return on Saturday, April 20th. Over 3,000 young runners in grades 3 through 7 are expected to challenge themselves over the 1.25-mile course. Jr. Bloomsday will be at the Spokane County Fairgrounds, with the finish line at home plate in Avista Stadium.
Those entering online for this year’s Bloomsday Run, which has grown to 90% of the field, 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 2019 finisher medal, which shows runners passing the iconic Spokane County Courthouse, an historic landmark less than a half mile from the finish. 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 2019 charity, Second Harvest, a regional leader in hunger relief in Spokane and throughout the Inland Northwest. Donations will deliver healthy food to the people who need it most—working families who can’t quite make ends meet, seniors on fixed incomes, and children with parents in poverty, prison, addiction or with disabilities. Every dollar donated provides food for five meals. Entrants can support Second Harvest 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, an improved version this year that makes signing up for runner tracking on race day easier. Additional timing mats at the mile and 5K points will allow for more accurate live tracking by family and friends, and some fun feedback for participants. And also just for fun, Bloomies should watch for a special ice cream this spring with the daunting title "Darkness and Chaos," inspired by a quote from Bloomsday Race Director Don Kardong.
The Bloomsday experience on the course this year will be similar to what participants enjoyed in 2018, 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.
The experience on the Bloomsday course will be very similar to past years, and T-shirt distribution will be on Main Avenue as it was in 2018. Due to construction in Riverfront Park, most post-race activities will be in the downtown area following T-shirt distribution.
Along with the run itself, this year’s Bloomsday weekend will feature the fourteenth annual Marmot March, a non-competitive one-mile kids’ event on Saturday, May 4, the day before Bloomsday. The Marmot March is for children third grade and younger who run or walk with adult companions. The Marmot March is sponsored by Franz Bakery, and is open for the first 300 children who sign up. Those interested can sign up online on the Bloomsday website.
Also on Bloomsday weekend, the Trade Show will be held in conjunction with Check-In at the Spokane Convention Center. The Bloomsday Trade Show, with 280 booth spaces, will once again have a variety of displays and activities centering on health and fitness. Nearly 40,000 people are expected to attend the show.
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 ten 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 also the culminating race of the 2018-2019 PRRO Circuit, which showcases world class competition at four classic American road race events shorter than the marathon distance and offers more than $330,000 in guaranteed prize money. This year Bloomsday, for the first time ever, will host the 24th PRRO Championship, where reigning PRRO champions and any athlete who has won at least one of the 2018-19 Circuit events are eligible to compete for the $10,000 PRRO Super Bonus.
In addition to the elite racers at Bloomsday, top age-group runners will vie for specially designed medals, 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 ’19, who help keep the Bloomsday entry fee affordable for families, include Washington Trust Bank, Premera Blue Cross, Providence Health, Franz Bakery, Jerzees, Albertsons & Safeway, The Inlander, Itron, OXARC, the Davenport Grand, Fleet Feet, Brooks, the Washington State Potato Commission, the University of Washington, Central Pre-Mix, Inland Asphalt, PayNorthwest, and Corporate Cup Sponsor Northwest Orthopaedic Specialists. These community minded sponsors are deserving of the thanks of all Bloomies.
Online registration for Bloomsday ’19 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 $22.00 this year, the lowest in the nation for a major running event. Mailed entries must be postmarked by April 16 to avoid the late entry fee of $40.00. Online registration at the $22.00 fee will be available until April 21.
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