The 34th annual Lilac Bloomsday Run will be held in Spokane, WA on Sunday, May 2, 2010. This huge road race, which is open to all runners, walkers, wheelchairs, assisted wheelchairs, and strollers, consists of a scenic 12 km (7.46 miles) loop that begins in downtown Spokane and travels northwest along the far west end of town. The course passes by Mukogowa Ft. Wright Institute and Spokane Falls Community College before heading up Doomsday Hill and back downtown. The deadline for registration is April 13; you can register online at the official website. The cost is $15, which includes a t-shirt for all finishers.
Bloomsday has been a member of the ARRA and PRRO Circuits of major U.S. running events, and in 1996 Bloomsday hosted the first PRRO World Road Running Championships. Over the years, the race has been featured in Runner’s World and The Runner magazines, as well as on television on ESPN, Fox Sports Northwest, and the Outdoor Life Network. The first race took place in 1977 with over a thousand runners, and 112 “perennials” have been in the race every single year.
First Bloomsday poster, designed by Bob Runkle.
Last year, Bloomsday counted 51,259 participants. Over 20,000 of these racers were from out-of-town, so it is a good idea to book your Spokane hotel room early. Stratford Suites has beautiful one- and two-bedroom suites available to comfortably accommodate Bloomsday travelers. Our pillow-top mattresses and down feather pillows feel great after the big run!
In addition to the famous road race, Spokane’s Bloomsday hosts one of the nation’s largest free trade shows devoted to fitness, health, and running. It is free to the public and open Friday, April 30 and Saturday, May 1, next to Bloomsday Check-In at the Spokane Convention Center (Group Health Exhibition Hall), 334 W. Spokane Falls Blvd (just east of the DoubleTree Hotel Downtown City Center). Business travelers enjoy Stratford Suites Extended Stay Hotel’s many amenities, including high-speed internet, executive style shuttle service, video conference room, all-leather furniture, and fine kitchenettes. Our hotel is located just five minutes from the airport, with easy access to downtown Spokane.
In case you were wondering, the name “Bloomsday” was given to the race by founder Don Kardong, a local runner who competed in several national class road races before and after his participation in the 1976 Olympic Marathon. The name joins Spokane’s favorite flower to the word used by author James Joyce scholars to describe the day of events in the novel Ulysses. According to Kardong, a road race is an odyssey, not unlike the one Ulysses endured in his return to Ithaca after the Trojan War, a journey described in great detail by the Greek poet Homer. In 1917, James Joyce wrote Ulysses about one day in the life of a man (Leopold Bloom) in Dublin, Ireland. Bloom spends the day wandering through the streets of Dublin in a rough parallel of his Greek counterpart Ulysses, and that day (June 16) is celebrated worldwide by Joyce fans as “Bloomsday.”