Couple to Say “I Do” At the Starting Line of World’s Largest 12K Race

Share Article

Engaged couple to recite vows before the gun fires at 35th Annual Lilac Bloomsday Run May 1, 2011 in Spokane, Wash.

Spokane’s Lilac Bloomsday Run, held every year on the first Sunday of May, is the world’s largest timed 12k race with upwards of 60,000 participants each year. But what makes this 35th Anniversary run especially unique is it will likely be the largest wedding ceremony of the decade.

When planning their upcoming nuptials, Bloomsday veterans Karen Fall and Michael Smith decided they wanted to start their marriage off right by reciting their vows at the Bloomsday Run starting line. They will spend their first hours as newlyweds running 7.46 miles with more than 50,000 of their closest friends.

The Bloomsday Run, which is celebrating its 35th Anniversary, is planning unique events to commemorate 35 years of running success. This includes special prizes for the 35th, 350th, 3,500th and the 35,000th finishers as well as hosting 35 bands along the route to serenade runners and honoring runners who have participated in all 35 races.

It began as a vision of Olympic marathoner Don Kardong, attracting just over a thousand participants for the inaugural run on May 1, 1977. It has since grown to be one of the most efficient, accurate and “green” races in the world and is a fixture of Spokane’s spring season.

As the largest timed 12K race in the world, Bloomsday is a leader in creating efficient registration and race timing for as many as 60,000 participants each year. As part of this, Bloomsday has adopted use of the Chronotrack D-tag—an incredibly accurate timing device in a strip of plastic attached to each runner’s shoe.

Bloomsday is also the largest event to be certified by the Council for Responsible Sport for incorporating environmental and social responsibility. As part of a “Getting Greener” initiative, Bloomsday now recycles more than a ton of water cups each year as compost.

For more than three decades, Bloomsday has worked its way into the fabric of life in the Inland Northwest. For most residents, it’s impossible to imagine spring in Spokane without Bloomsday, without posing for a photo with a giant black vulture atop “Doomsday Hill” or celebrating at the massive post-race party in historic Riverfront Pack.

For more information or to talk with media contacts, including founder Don Kardong or Karen and Michael, please contact or visit for general information.

Contact Information:

Don Kardong, Founder, Race Director and National Distance Runner Hall of Fame member.
Phone: (509) 838-1579 or email in contact us box

Karen and Michael, Newlyweds.
Email: fallsmith(at)clearwire(dot)net

About Bloomsday:

The Lilac Bloomsday Run, also known as Bloomsday, is an annual timed road race in Spokane, Washington, held on the first Sunday of every May since 1977. The course is 12 km (7.46 mi) long.

The race impacts Spokane area youngsters as much as adults. The "Fit For Bloomsday" program, which was instituted in 1987, encourages fitness among nearly 7,000 participating elementary students each year. The Lilac Bloomsday Association has also provided 30 airline tickets each fall since 1993 for top high school cross country runners to attend the Foot Locker Western Regional Cross Country Championships in California.

This year Bloomsday has teamed up with local non profit, Step-Up Spokane, to provide training and exercise tips to participants to promote healthy habits year round. Register here:

Throughout its history, the Lilac Bloomsday Run has added prize money for top runners (1982) and wheelchair racers, and consistently attracts the world's top competitors. Bloomsday has been a member of the ARRA and PRRO Circuits of major U.S. running events, and in 1996 Bloomsday hosted the first PRRO World Road Running Championships. Over the years the race has been featured in Runner's World and The Runner magazines, as well as on television on ESPN, Fox Sports Northwest, and the Outdoor Life Network


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Don Kardong
Visit website