Over 53,000 ran in this year’s Bloomsday Run in Spokane Sunday, and among the runners close to 100 pavement pounders from Greater Trail joined in the 12-kilometer race.
Local runner Ami Titsworth of Warfield made the trek to Spokane and placed a very respectable 19th out of 550 runners in her age group.
“This is only my second Bloomsday, but I am such a huge fan of this event already,” said Titsworth. “Plus, it feels like the entire city of Spokane is cheering for every one of those 50,000 participants. It is just a really great experience for all. And the energy of that is just plain addicting.”
It was the 36th running of the annual event, which counts as one of the largest road races in the world. Olympic marathoner Don Kardong organized the original Bloomsday Run on May 1, 1977 and it has continued to grow. Bill Rogers of Boston Marathon fame championed the race, making it part of the Professional Road Running Organization circuit of major U.S. running events that attract the world’s elite athletes.
Kelly Geisheimer of Rossland was the top Greater Trail runner finishing in 49 minutes 44 seconds, placing second to national team runner Marilyn Arsenault among 500 B.C. runners, and 57th out of almost 29,000 female competitors.
Groups and families like those from the area, make the trek to Bloomsday a yearly tradition. The event is extremely family friendly, and accommodates all fitness levels from the elite Kenyan and Ethiopian runners, to the elderly and families pushing strollers, says Titsworth.
“The level of organization and volunteerism is astounding.”
Allan Kiprono of Kenya and Ethiopian Mamita Daska won the men’s and women’s first place prize of $7,000 finishing in 34:29 and 38:26 respectively.
The course is a challenging roller coaster of hills, highlighted by the infamous “Doomsday Hill” ranked top 10 by Runners World Magazine.
“There is even a person in a giant Vulture costume that dances around at the crest of the hill threatening to pick off runners who run out of steam on the dreaded climb,” she added.
Lots of local colour, like the city’s sports mascots and live music adding to the celebratory atmosphere, keep “Bloomies” entertained on their way to the finish line on the Munroe St. bridge.
“Everyone who has made it across that line and collected the coveted Bloomsday finisher shirt, deserves a pat on the back.”