The Boulevard Race unveils new course through University District

May 23—A road race will avoid construction downtown this fall in its second year by shifting to a new course through the University District.

The Boulevard Race benefiting the Community Cancer Fund will start and end near Gonzaga University on Sunday, Sept. 22, organizers announced Thursday.

The four-mile course begins by crossing the Spokane Falls Boulevard bridge, loops around Washington State University Spokane campus to Martin Luther King Jr. Way, diverts down two side streets with sharp 180-degree turnarounds before doubling back to the start.

Proceeds fund organizations that support cancer patients in the Inland Northwest.

"Our goal with this charity race from the beginning was to introduce an amazing fall event to the city while allowing our participants to run and walk for a cause on Spokane's best city streets," Jon Neill, director of the Boulevard Race and Community Cancer Fund, said in a statement.

More than 2,000 runners and walkers entered the inaugural race last year, which looped through downtown and Browne's Addition and finished on Spokane Falls Boulevard in front of Riverfront Park.

In keeping with name of the event, the race will still finish on Spokane Falls Boulevard, next to Coach Steve Hertz Field.

A heavy load of downtown construction projects made the change in course necessary, Neill said.

If the course works well this year, it could become the permanent route. Neill said it has the makings of a blockbuster race for many years to come.

Organizers are preparing to accommodate twice as many participants this year.

The course features dramatic views of the Spokane River and passes under the landmark Gateway Bridge. Entertainment zones and cheer stations along the way will keep runners energized as they pass DJs, the Ferris High School marching band and cheer teams handing out Mardi Gras beads.

"The Boulevard is one more way for us to show that we are all in the race to beat cancer," Neill said.

Registration is open at Entry is $30.

James Hanlon's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and by members of the Spokane community. This story can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper's managing editor.