Spokane Culture: What is this Bloomsday Thing Everyone Talks About?

Spokane Culture: What is this Bloomsday Thing Everyone Talks About?If you are new to the Spokane area or have been spending a bit of time here and are thinking about relocation, you may have heard the word Bloomsday come up once or twice. You might be wondering what in the world is Bloomsday and why are so many people talking about getting ready for it? 

What is Bloomsday?

Bloomsday is an honored Spokane tradition. It is one of the largest road races in the country. This race has been "running" in the city of Spokane Since 1977. It always takes place on the first Sunday in May. The official full name of the race is the Lilac Bloomsday Run as it happens around the Lilac Festival (we may write up an article on that one too). The race is highly anticipated and brings thousands of people to the downtown area from all walks of life and physical abilities to participate. 

The History Behind Bloomsday

The Bloomsday race started in the late 1970s when much of the country was immersed in a running culture. The race was started through the vision of Don Kardong who was a local Spokane runner and olympian. The first Bloomsday was on May 1, 1977, and it attracted thousands of runners. Bloomsday has since gained national recognition and experienced jaw-dropping growth in 1996 when there were 61,298 participants.

This has always been a successful and popular event in Spokane with the dedication of a long list of volunteers who have formed a sort of friendship and culture around the race. Some volunteers have been here since the very first races and come back every year. Every year the race improves and has added the ability for runners of all ages and abilities to participate. The race has been covered in several publications including Runners World and The Runner magazines and has been highlighted on ESPN, Outdoor Life Network, and Fox Sports Northwest. For a more in-depth detailed history, you can check out the history page on the Bloomsday website.

This Year's Bloomsday Race Info

Bloomsday 24 will take place on May 5. To participate you need to register before the race and pay an entry fee. The race is a 12 K race which is the average of just over 7 1/2 miles. The route is open to all runners and registration is open and welcoming to participants who are looking to walk, push a stroller, bring their kids along, or roll through in a wheelchair. The race begins and ends in downtown Spokane near Riverfront Park. A good portion of the course winds along the Spokane River and ends near Spokane Falls. Participants will receive the popular and iconic Bloomsday finisher T-shirt and will receive an official race time. If you are not interested in running in person there is also a virtual race available. For the youngest of runners, some choose to run the junior Bloomsday race which has already taken place for 2024. The youngest among us in grade levels three or younger can enjoy the Marmot March in Kendall Yards the day before Bloomsday. It is a 1-mile race that is non-competitive.

If you are getting to know Spokane culture, knowing what Bloomsday is is a great place to start. There are many great unique and distinctive things about Spokane culture that will help you to fall in love with living in Spokane. For more information on what Spokane is like please feel free to browse our blog or our individual community pages.

If you are looking to purchase a home in Spokane I am here to help. Contact me anytime to get started on finding your ideal Spokane home. I am a long-time resident of the Spokane area and love living here myself. I am excited to meet every client and help them see what is special about this area as I do. Contact me anytime with any Spokane real estate needs.

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