Bloomsday officials were already planning on holding a press conference at 3:00 p.m. today, but decided to hold one at 11:00 a.m. this morning, as well. They wanted to address the tragic events that occurred at the Boston Marathon and unveiled their plan to distribute 50,000 lilac bracelets etched with "Bloomsday Stands With Boston."
The bracelet idea came together within the last two days and was made possible by longtime partner Washington Trust Bank. Washington Trust and Bloomsday will split the costs of the bracelet 50/50.
To receive a bracelet, you have to be registered for the race. You can pick it up when you get your race number. They'll be handed out on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Here are some quotes from press conference, starting with an opening statement that was split between former Bloomsday presidents Steven Jones and Jon Neill.
We just feel, as an organization, the need to respond to last Monday in Boston in some appropriate way. It's personable to us at any number of levels. As an organization we're linked because, like so many events, we bring excitement and the opportunity to participate in something great and positive. Something that engages the entire the community that's ... something that's kind of rare in this day and age, perhaps. To gather like that and share the joys of fitness.
As individuals, we were also linked to Boston. Number of us on the Bloomsday board runs Boston. Our race director and found Don Kardong has run Boston, placed as high as seventh in Boston, has led the elite pack. There's probably thousands of our runners who have run Boston. It's still the holy grail of running. You want to run a marathon and you can choose one, you choose Boston.
Given all this, we really have a desire to come up with something that will tell these individuals, these ... people that do these kinds of things, we want to tell them they don't define who we are or dictate what we do.
In special tribute to Boston and the Boston Marathon and all of those who were affected by this tragic event, Bloomsday and Washington Trust Bank have purchased 50,000 lilac bracelets to be worn by our race participants on race weekend. The bracelets will have this special message etched on the bracelet: "Bloomsday Stands With Boston." And like so many who have reached out to us in the past few days to share just how much Bloomsday means to them in light of the tragedy at Boston, the bracelets will demonstrate our participant's, our volunteer's unwavering commitment to community. It will serve as a show of strength, as a show of solidarity and the united front. It will most certainly show, despite the atrocities of three days ago, that our community stands strong, will not be deterred and nor will our spirits be dampened. The message from this morning's memorial service in Boston was that America's spirit shouldn't and cannot be broken because of this event. The running of Bloomsday will be our city's and our region's collective statement of triumph.
-- Here are some more quotes from the two.
We were just talking back and forth about the events that were unfolding in Boston. This will be his first Bloomsday and just the meaning that the race was going to have for him. Talking about a tribute. Which then got the idea rolling that we should do something that will be a moving tribute to Boston. Discuss ways that we can have a tangible token out there to remind everyone that we're running for a greater purpose.
It was just something that we brainstormed as the race directors here at Bloomsday. Wanted a simple message, yet a powerful message. We just felt that kind of a arm-in-arm "Bloomsday Stands With Boston" would be something that would really resonate for all of us.
The idea was hatched on Monday night, we looked into the bracelets from a production standpoint to make sure that with an order of 50,000 could be accomplished. Those bracelets will actually arrive here on Wednesday, May 1. Then just making sure distribution wise, it would all work out. We're just thrilled. For Washington Trust bank, it was simply a phone call to the president and telling him what we're doing with a quick response of yes.
We're sharing 50/50. It's a great show of genorosity, there's no doubt about it.
We're a team here at Bloomsday. We have two employees, one who's Don Kardong and the other one who's Arlita that runs the front desk. Everyone else is volunteers that just does it for their love of community. It's no different. You talk about with any volunteer or any sponsor, everyone's hearts in the right place. We do this for the love of Spokane and what the event stands for.
Somebody planted it in Jon Neill's mind. We scrambled, we didn't know whether we'd find a supplier this quickly that would do this on an expedited basis. But we did and we ordered them on Tuesday and they should be delivered on May 1 in plenty of time for the race. It's going to be, I think, a real nice tribute to Boston. A very appropriate way for our participants to show that we don't let this kind of stuff stand in our way.
I guess you can say we were struggling because it's hard to come up with something that is producible for a large number in a short period of time that can really say what we think needs to be said in a way that resonates. I think having the bracelets, people know those bracelets from some other charity causes, and so they'll understand that there's an association, I think, between the bracelet and something that's important. It's something that anybody can wear. Doesn't matter, you don't have to worry about t-shirt sizes.