Running the amazing Bloomsday, a favourite road race

The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” —John Bingham

When I woke up on Sunday to the sound of rain, there was a moment of hesitation. Did I really want to run my eighth Lilac Bloomsday Run in Spokane, Washington in weather that looked as unforgiving as this?? It was 9°C /48°F, windy and pouring with rain. I struggled through the grey to walk down to join 30,000 at the starting lines.

Spokane is a city in Eastern Washington that 231,133 people call home. The city is known for its fascinating railroad and mining history, vibrant arts scene, and stunning natural landscapes. With the Spokane River running through its heart, it features some beautiful historic architecture, a stunning natural environment, and some good modern development. On Thursday, I will share my Top 12 favourites in Spokane.

The Bloomsday Run is a 12km (7.4 miles) road race held annually in Spokane. It began in 1977, thanks to local runner Don Kardong, a 1976 Olympic marathoner. It’s grown into one of the largest and most well-known US races and attracts people of all ages and abilities and its an event I always try to migrate to Spokane for. Up to now, it has never been this cold and wet on race day for me.

a group of people running on a road

The race starts in downtown Spokane, taking runners on a downhill route that winds through the historic Browne’s Addition neighbourhood, just west of the city centre. It then moves to a road along the Spokane River.

One of the toughest challenges, (pictured) on the course is Doomsday Hill, a steep incline that tests every runner’s endurance.

a group of people in a garment

A unique metal vulture at the top greets those who make it, adding a touch of humour to the struggle.

The course continues through residential neighbourhoods before reaching the final stretch back downtown.

Along the way, enthusiastic spectators cheer on the runners, with bands, choirs, and vocalists providing a soundtrack that ranges from gospel to pop to metal. Some residents even join in by playing music from their homes as they party and support the runners.

two inflatable figures on a dirt road

I felt a familiar rush of energy from the crowd and the camaraderie among the runners.

a group of people running in a marathon

As I ran, I passed Fred, an 84-year-old who’s been a regular at Bloomsday. Despite his age and the rain, he pushed forward with a smile.

Crossing the finish line felt like a victory. The joy of running, this amazing course, and the phenomenal energy combined with the impact of giving back make every Bloomsday run unforgettable.

a man taking a selfie

Every finisher gets a shirt unique to that year symbolising our achievement.

I was also “double dipping” this Bloomsday by raising funds for two causes close to my heart.

The first was The Shriners Hospital, an organisation that helps children in need.

The second is for multiple sclerosis (MS) as part of a 300 km (180 mi) running and walking goal that I am aiming for in May (MS Awareness Month).

I finished with a coffee and breakfast bun at downtown Ladder Coffee, a local Batista chain.

Here’s to many more runs and to making a difference, one step at a time—even when it’s raining. If you want to donate to my MS fundraising efforts click here,

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