More than 2,000 runners and walkers will weave through downtown Spokane and Browne’s Addition Sunday in a new run to fight cancer.
The inaugural 4-mile Boulevard Race will start at 9 a.m. at the Centennial Hotel, proceed south by the Riverfront Park Clocktower, west on Sprague Avenue by the Historic Davenport Hotel, continue into Browne’s Addition and loop back through downtown before finishing at Riverfront Park.
“It really was a course that was designed with the idea of, we have so much to showcase in the city of Spokane,” said Jon Neill, Community Cancer Fund executive director and former Bloomsday race director. “We’re going to run it on the very best streets by some of our coolest landmarks, and then grow it.”
In front of a group of volunteers and supporters Wednesday at Bark, a Rescue Pub in Spokane, Neill unveiled two 25-pound aluminum trophies modeled after manhole covers that will be given to the men’s and women’s elite champions.
The circular trophies say, “STREET OF DREAMS, AVENUES OF HOPE, WE ARE ALL IN THE RACE TO BEAT CANCER” on the edge.
“It’s been a blitz to get all this assembled, but we really do have one of the best volunteer race operations team in the business, and so I feel immensely confident that we can put out one heck of a road race come Sunday,” Neill said.
Myk Crawford, creative marketing director at Community Cancer Fund, designed the official race poster and trophy, Neill said.
Randy Hayes, CEO and president at Sunshine Sports and Marketing LLC in Coeur d’Alene; brothers James and Calvin McManus, owners of Acme Machine Works in Spokane Valley; Alcobra Metals Inc. in Spokane; and a Lewiston business that Hayes said wished to remain anonymous, donated their time and efforts to make the trophies.
“I think they look awesome,” James McManus said.
Hayes said he believed in Neill and the cause.
“It was a no-brainer to jump on board,” he said.
Neill served as Bloomsday’s race director from 2020 to 2022 before the nonprofit stripped him of his title and reduced his role, leading to his resignation and him claiming some board members created a “toxic” work environment. Several former board members backed Neill and condemned the board’s actions.
Neill told reporters Wednesday he’s always been passionate about road racing, calling himself an “event-managing geek.”
“I’ve always wanted to do a fall race in Spokane,” Neill said. “It’s always been a dream of mine.”
Neill said Nick Hauger, a Shadle Park High School graduate and former All-American runner at the University of Portland, will run Sunday in the elite division.
“The hometown kid coming back for the hometown race,” Neill said.
The race costs $25 to enter, and Neill said 2,000 participants had signed up by Wednesday. He said they have enough race bibs for about 2,800 people, so he encouraged people to sign up as soon as possible.
All proceeds will benefit the Community Cancer Fund, a nonprofit that provides local funding for cancer patients and the organizations that serve them, according to the Boulevard Race website.
Visit boulevardrace.com to register and for more information.
“Let’s start an incredible tradition together and then just keep growing this,” Neill said.