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Bloomsday will be virtual again in 2021

UPDATED: Thu., Dec. 31, 2020

Runners experience “Doomsday Hill” along Pettet Drive in the Virtual Bloomsday race on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020 in Spokane, Wash. The original May race was rescheduled to Sept. 20 due to COVID-19 before being cancelled altogether in favor of the virtual race, which could be completed anywhere in the world to allow for social distancing. Race organizers on Thursday, Dec. 31, announced the 2021 edition of Bloomsday would again be virtual.  (Libby Kamrowski/ THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Runners experience “Doomsday Hill” along Pettet Drive in the Virtual Bloomsday race on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020 in Spokane, Wash. The original May race was rescheduled to Sept. 20 due to COVID-19 before being cancelled altogether in favor of the virtual race, which could be completed anywhere in the world to allow for social distancing. Race organizers on Thursday, Dec. 31, announced the 2021 edition of Bloomsday would again be virtual. (Libby Kamrowski/ THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
From staff reports

Bloomsday will again be a virtual race in 2021, organizers announced Thursday afternoon.

The signature Spokane event postponed its 7.46-mile road race last spring until September. About 26,000 people from across the world then ran their own race to collect the coveted finisher’s shirt.

Now in its 45th year, Bloomsday race director Jon Neill said the virtual event would be open to participants from Friday, April 30 through Sunday, May 9. The traditional day to run Bloomsday is the first Sunday in May, which this year is May 2.

In a press release, Neill said race officials had hoped to hold its traditional race this year, but decided the health risks were too great.

“The health crisis that continues to grip our nation has altered those plans for a community event as big as Bloomsday,” organizers stated in the release.

The annual event traditionally draws more than 40,000 runners to downtown Spokane, making it the largest timed road race in the country.

Besides the 40,000-plus runners, Bloomsday relies on about 5,000 volunteers. Thousands more people line the streets to cheer runners. It all ends downtown with a packed festival-like atmosphere in Riverfront Park.

Mark Starr, president of the Lilac Bloomsday Association, said he fully expects the race to return to normal in 2022.

“The safety of our participants, volunteers, and community will always be our top priority,” he said in the statement.

Neill said registration for the 2021 Bloomsday opens Jan. 1. It will be called Bloomsday Worldwide because of the participation of people from around the world. The cost will be about $25.

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