This Year’s Bloomsday Marking a Season of Change

By Paige Browning

The Lilac Bloomsday Race on Sunday will bring tens of thousand of people to Spokane’s streets.  While participants gear up for the race, they also have Boston, and security, on the mind.
The attacks in Boston have already made an impression on this year’s Bloomsday.   Law enforcement will be tougher, people are told not to bring bags downtown, and thousands will don ‘Bloomsday Stands With Boston’ wristbands.  Boston’s impact is even larger for people who were there, like runner Jodie McKenzie from Spokane.  She finished the race about thirty minutes before the first bomb exploded.
[McKenzie] “We started walking to head back to catch the train to get back to our hotel and the other one went off.  Still at that time you didn’t, we didn’t know what it was, not thinking at all that it was a bomb.”
These events marked McKenzie’s first Boston Marathon.  She’ll run Bloomsday too, and says she’s glad about security changes like having two helicopters nearby.
[McKenzie] “That’s good because, it can happen.  It can happen in Spokane, it doesn’t matter if it’s a big city.”
This year alert law enforcement and volunteers will look out for anything abnormal.  Volunteer Martha Severn has worked at the race for about 25 years.
[Severn] “They told us to just keep an extra eye out on everybody and everything.  If we notice anything strange sitting around, or anybody acting strange, to get in touch either with the police that are around and very available to use, or one of the organizers.”
Race Director of Security Al Odenthal is especially thankful for volunteers and race enthusiasts, as he reflects on the bombings in Boston.

[Odenthal] “The response of individual people and groups that came to the aid of injured people at Boston.  It’s like, I can’t help but think that Spokane would respond in very much the same way.”
Odenthal normally stands at the start line, but will work from a security control tower this year.
Lilac Bloomsday is in it’s 37th year.
Copyright 2013 Spokane Public Radio

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