Spokane, WA—With only two months remaining until the 29th running of the Lilac Bloomsday Run, Bloomsday organizers are encouraging participants to get moving and take that first important step of signing up. Online registration is open and printed entry brochures will soon be available at locations throughout the Inland Northwest. Mail-in entries need to be postmarked by April 12th to avoid the late fee.
“Bloomsday is an event that almost everybody—every body—can participate in,” said Lilac Bloomsday Association President Al Odenthal. “Our volunteers work really hard to make sure Bloomsday weekend is smooth, exciting and fun. We’re looking forward a great 29th running on May 1.”
As many as 50,000 runners, joggers, walkers and wheelers are expected to sign up for the popular 12-kilometer event. Competition at the front end promises to be fierce, as world-class racers and wheelchairs battle for prize money, top age-group runners vie for medals, and businesses scramble for top honors among over 250 teams entered in the Corporate Cup competition. Corporate Cup teams will also be entered in the “Best Team Name” competition again this year. Last year’s winners were Inland Vascular Institute (“We’re So Vein”), Southwest Airlines (“Cool Your Jets”), and Spokane Teacher’s Credit Union (“CU at the Finish Line”).
For those farther back in the pack, on-course entertainment and the cheers of spectators should help make the 7-1/2-mile journey fun and memorable. During its nearly thirty years on the Spokane scene, 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.
Bloomsday isn’t just for adults either. Last year nearly 10,000 entrants age 18 or younger completed the course, and this year over 5,000 elementary school age children are already taking their first steps of the spring as part of the Fit for Bloomsday…Fit for Life training program. Nearly 60 elementary schools in the region are participating in the program, with the added incentive this year of an all-day pass at Riverfront Park for any child who completes the program and reaches the mileage or time goal.
Riverfront Park will also help make Bloomsday weekend lively this year with “The World’s Largest Spaghetti Feed” on Saturday and the Post-Race Picnic in the Park on Sunday, with music in the Gondola Meadow beginning immediately after the run. Riverfront Park has also partnered with the YMCA in providing a “locker and shower pass,” which online entrants can purchase when they sign up.
Bloomsday weekend will also have its traditional Trade Show in the Convention Center, one of the largest shows of its kind in the nation. The Convention Center will be the site of a talk by former WSU runner Bernard Lagat, Bloomsday’s special guest this year, who will show video and discuss his silver medal performance at last summer’s Olympic Games.
Bloomsday has continued to pursue its policy of designating a special charity each year, with the Eastern Washington Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation being this year’s designee. Pink bracelets will be on sale throughout the Spokane area and at the Trade Show to support the charity, and entrants can also make a donation when signing up. 75% of the money raised stays in Eastern Washington to support breast cancer education, screening, research and treatment. Donations will also support the efforts of local organizers to bring a Komen Race for the Cure® to Spokane in April of 2006. Bloomsday hopes to sell 10,000 of the bracelets between now and race day.
Bloomsday also welcomes two new major sponsors this year. Washington Trust Bank, the 2005 T-shirt sponsor, will distribute entry forms through its branch locations and assist Bloomsday organizers in processing thousands of mail-in entries. The Inlander is partnering with Bloomsday in producing the first official Souvenir Results Booklet, which will be distributed free of charge at Inlander distribution points throughout the Inland Northwest on Tuesday following the run.
And finally, Bloomsday is also supporting the efforts of the Spokane Regional Health District this year by becoming an official tobacco-free event. As an event that promotes health and fitness, Bloomsday encourages participants and spectators alike to help keep all events and venues smoke-free on Bloomsday weekend.
The on-time entry fee for Bloomsday is $10.00, one of the lowest fees in the nation for a major running event. Mailed in entries must be postmarked by April 12 to avoid the late entry fee of $25.00. In addition, Gart Sports will be taking entry forms at their two local stores from now until the entry deadline of April 12.
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