Children believed to be too young or inexperienced to participate in the annual Bloomsday race in Spokane can again participate in the smaller Junior Bloomsday run, which will resume after a two-decade hiatus.
The race, scheduled for April 20, will start and finish at the Avista baseball stadium, and the third- through seventh-graders competing will run through several barns at the Spokane Interstate Fairgrounds.
Race director Jon Neill said about 3,000 children can enter once registration opens Friday.
He said the 1.25-mile race is much shorter than the regular Bloomsday event but is organized in a similar way so children who may one day compete in Bloomsday –but aren’t ready to run a 7.5-mile race – will have a similar experience.
Children who participate in Junior Bloomsday can also participate in the regular race, which has no age limit.
During Bloomsday 1996, 60,000 registered to run in the regular race and 10,000 children ran Junior Bloomsday. Neill said in the 1990s, Junior Bloomsday and the regular Bloomsday run split off, and the children’s race was moved to a different location, renamed and later ended.
Neill said Bloomsday decided to reintroduce the junior race after thousands of children participated in activities hosted by Active4Youth, a nonprofit that introduces sports to young children, and the Bloomsday spring training. He said people from Spokane also asked for the race’s return because they wanted their children to have a chance to run the same races they did growing up.
The Junior Bloomsday entry fee is $20, which includes a finisher’s T-shirt. Proceeds will go to Active4Youth.
Neill said race times will be tracked and posted on the Bloomsday website, just like the regular event, which is May 5 this year.
He said Marmot March registration, which is for children from newborn to third grade, also opens Feb. 1.
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