Community service is the lifeline of Exchange. Exchange Clubs across the country spend countless hours and dollars improving their communities each year. In fact, many of the projects within the Program of Service have a common goal of serving and benefiting our communities. Then why a separate category called Community Service? Because while the programs listed under Child Abuse Prevention, Youth and Americanism focus on specific areas within the community, the following projects are more broad in scope and are designed to benefit every community member.
Bloomsday volunteers pride themselves on producing a safe, exciting and enjoyable experience for all. That goal led to major changes for the 2006 race, when the finish line was moved to the north end of the Monroe Street Bridge and a new timing system using transponder chips was implemented. The chips allowed all participants to start on Riverside Avenue and to be recorded based on "net" time from start to finish.
The Lilac Bloomsday Run was born during the running boom that swept the nation in the late 1970s. Local runner Don Kardong, who moved to Spokane in 1974, competed in several national class road races before and after his participation in the 1976 Olympic Marathon. In the fall of 1976 he suggested to a local reporter that Spokane should have a downtown run of its own, which made its way into the newspaper's headlines with the first race in 1977. The Exchange Club of Downtown Spokane has been in charge of organizing passing out the 50,000+ finisher t-shirts for over 25 years!
During its history, the Lilac Bloomsday Run has added prize money for top runners (1982) and wheelchair racers, and the event 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.
With the help of the Spokane County Exchange Clubs, the 2010 Transitions Golf Scramble at Indian Canyon was a huge success. A record number of players came out to support the homeless and low-income women and children served by Transitions' programs. We'd like to thank our many sponsors and in-kind donors without whom this year's scramble could not have been so successful and would not have been so much fun!