Where does the name ‘Lilac Bloomsday Run’ come from?

Ever wonder how the Lilac Bloomsday Run got its name? Well Founder Don Kardong chose the name, which is a joining of Spokane’s favorite flower to the word James Joyce scholars use to describe the day events in the novel Ulysses take place. Confused? Intrigued? Read on…

According to Kardong, a road race is an odyssey, not unlike the one Ulysses endured in his return to Ithaca after the Trojan War, a journey described in great detail by the Greek poet Homer. In 1917 James Joyce wrote “Ulysses” about one day in the life of a man (Leopold Bloom) in Dublin, Ireland. Bloom spends the day wandering through the streets of Dublin in a rough parallel of his Greek counterpart Ulysses, and that day (June 16) has become known to Joyce scholars and aficionados as “Bloomsday.”

The 7-1/2-mile odyssey through the streets of Spokane was dubbed The Lilac Bloomsday Run, combining Spokane’s moniker “The Lilac City” with the premise of Joyce’s novel, which is that ordinary people are involved in unassuming and yet heroic journeys every day of their lives. A citizen who travels 7-1/2 miles on the first Sunday of May encounters trials, hazards and monsters during his or her odyssey through the Lilac City before ending up back home.

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