Check-In for this Sunday’s 35th annual Lilac Bloomsday Run has begun at the Spokane Convention Center, and volunteers are busy handing out packets and signing up late registrants. Check-in and late registration are available on Friday, April 29th, from 11:30 a.m. until 8:00 p.m., and Saturday, April 30th from 9:00 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. Race entry is not available on Sunday, May 1st, although out-of-town runners who have already entered can pick up their packets between 6:30 and 9:00 a.m. that day.
“The most common question we get is, ‘Can someone else pick up my packet for me?’” said Bloomsday Race Director Don Kardong. “The answer is yes, as long as the person picking up knows the exact name used to register, age and date of birth.”
While the Bloomsday weekend promises fun and excitement galore, one disappointing note has been the withdrawal today from the elite women’s field of three-time Bloomsday champion Lineth Chepkurui. Chepkurui has scratched to compete in a 10,000 meter track race instead, in an attempt to get a qualifying time for the 2012 Olympics.
“We’re disappointed, of course, at Lineth’s decision,” said Elite Athlete Coordinator Jon Neill, “But this does mean that there will be a new Bloomsday champion in both the men’s and women’s races, and we’re excited to see who steps up to take top honors.”
Along with Check-In, the Bloomsday Trade Show is in full swing, with a variety of sports, fitness, and general interest exhibitors on site. The Trade Show is open during the same hours as Check-In.
As Sunday morning approaches, Bloomsday has also announced that participants will be treated to a live starting line performance by stellar vocalist John Keston of Sun River, Oregon. Keston will sing “O, Canada” and “The Star-Spangled Banner” for runners as they wait for the race to begin. The 86-year-old is not only an outstanding singer, but also a noted actor and world-class age-group runner who holds a number of Bloomsday age-group records. He has performed at the Bloomsday starting line for the past ten years. Keston will also be signing copies of his new book, Expressions of Aging, on Saturday at the Trade Show.
Keston’s start line vocals will be a warm-up for a full slate of entertainment along the Bloomsday course, as 35 performers are scheduled for race day. This year’s on-course entertainment includes music to please a variety of tastes, including rock, pop, punk, blues, bluegrass, ska, oldies, accordion and Christian. The slate includes Small Town Nation, last year’s top vote-getters in the Best Bloomsday Performer competititon.
Bloomsday entrants will be able to vote for their favorite performers again this year by logging on to www.bloomsdayrun.org after the race, and prizes of $500, $300, and $150 will be awarded to the winning entertainers.
Streets in downtown Spokane will begin to close around 5:00 a.m. on Sunday. Additional details about road closures are on the Bloomsday website by clicking the Race Information button and choosing Road Closures on the drop-down menu.
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