Health providers to start Bloomsday training
~February 28th, 2019
Providence Health Care and Kaiser Permanente are preparing to host their 42nd annual Bloomsday training clinics, starting next month.
The Lilac Bloomsday Run, also known as Bloomsday, is an annual timed road race that has been held in Spokane on the first Sunday of May every year since 1977.
This year, the training clinics, which are free and open to the public, will be held at Spokane Falls Community College every Saturday morning from March 16 through April 27.
Barbara Savage is the former vice president of mission services for Providence Health Care and current representative for Sisters of Providence.
Savage says she helped to organize the first Bloomsday training clinics which started in 1978, one year after the first Bloomsday run, as a way of helping prospective runners to prepare for the race.
“At the time we were working on ways to involve the hospital in the community,” she says. “One of the ideas that came out of that was for training clinics that would help people to better prepare for the Bloomsday race.”
Savage says early Bloomsday clinics started with a lecture at Holy Family Hospital and ended with walking or running exercises at Franklin Park.
“When we started, we only had about 50 or so people,” she says. “We had folks of all ages and skill levels, which is still the case today.”
Anne McKeon, community relations manager with Providence, who now helps to coordinate the event says individuals must preregister for the clinics, which begin at 8:30 am with a lecture portion.
“Each lecturer is a health care professional with a sports background who can speak to training methods and common issues that may affect runners,” she says. “The lecture is followed by a 15-minute warm up led by a personal trainer, and the last portion is the actual walking or running.”
Over the years, McKeon says the training clinics have switched locations in order to accommodate more participants and enable runners to practice on parts of the Bloomsday route.
“We have an average of about 800 people who attend, and I’d say a third of those are returning participants,” she says. “Practice routes start with one mile and are lengthened each week. All routes are measured and include water stations and bicyclists who can give first aid or provide added safety for runners.”
Savage and McKeon say the clinics provide a valuable service to the community, encouraging individuals not only to prepare for the event, but also to seek healthier lifestyle choices.
“These clinics are more than just education and preparation,” says Savage. “They also help motivate people to share in a healthy activity, socialize, and meet new people.”