I ran my first Bloomsday Road Race on May 5, 2013. A little history of the event; Bloomsday is held in Spokane, Washington on the first Sunday in May. This year’s event is the thirty-seventh-year of the running event. And Bloomsday is the largest non-marathon race in the country. The event this year saw fifty-one thousand people paid the entrance fee. The number of people whom crossed the finish line approximately forty-seven-thousand. The organizers of the Bloomsday Road Race have enlisted an army of seven-thousand volunteer’s. Without these faithful volunteers Bloomsday could not happen.
This year was a more somber event because the bombing at the Boston Marathon. Therefore, the security was very tight, with police, FBI, Homeland Security, and bomb sniffing dogs doing their best to keep the event safe. The event coordinators wanted to show their solidarity with Boston. So they provided silicon bracelets embossed with the message Bloomsday stands with Boston. Every participant I saw was wearing the bracelet.
Since this was my first time participating in Bloomsday, my impression of the event was a carnival atmosphere. Along the course many different groups sang songs of joy and happiness. Many of the racer’s wore costumes such as; a group of college aged women all wearing tut-tuts, or a group of young men wearing t-shirts printed with their clubs name T with an image of a bird. I also saw many women whom had colored their hair with bright neon colors. I didn’t see a frown on any face even when I was ascending the dreaded doomsday hill. This is the last hill of the Bloomsday course, and it’s a monster of a hill, and every Bloomie knows its do or die. After each entrant overcomes this hill the balance of the course is flat and only two and a half miles to the finish line.
If you haven’t participated in an event with fifty-one thousand people, you can’t image the enormity of the problem with just starting the event. Below in words of the organizer’s how they conquered that problem.
Delayed Start Times
Seventh Year of Our Wave Starting Procedure
The start line is on Riverside Avenue between Lincoln & Post Streets (approximately 801 W. Riverside, Spokane, WA 99201). To facilitate use of computer chip timing, all Bloomsday color groups will use Riverside again this year. Please check the back of your runner number or follow the signs to the marshaling area for your color group on Riverside. You may access Riverside from either the north or the south, but please enter from the BACK of your group. (If you wish, you may join a color group that starts later than your color. This is the best way for family and friends to stay together if they’ve been given different color assignments.)
You should arrive 30 minutes prior to the estimated starting time listed for your color group to ensure entrance to your starting area. Groups will be allowed to start as the roadway clears, so please follow instructions on race morning. As each color group moves forward toward the start line, groups will be divided into waves with approximately 5,000 in each wave. The orange, blue and lilac groups will each be broken into smaller groups to accomplish this.
Do not start before your color group is directed to start or you won’t be timed. We anticipate approximately 1 hour, 20 minutes before the final group (red) will start. But remember, with computer chip timing, your Bloomsday time will be calculated from when you cross the start until you cross the finish. No need to rush to get started! Copied from Bloomsday web-site Bloomsday.org.
Every participant receives his or her time it took to complete the course of seven-point-four- six miles. The first groups to start are the true competitor’s or athletes. Old men like me hope to just finish the race. I’ll never win a prize or have the best top time, but I finished the seven-point-four-six miles in two-hours-twenty-six-minutes and ten seconds.
Next year Bloomsday is going to be held on May 4, 2014. If you want to visit a great city and enjoy the company of thousands of new friends then plan to visit Spokane, Washington on May 4th, 2014.