Bloomsday 2011

Coverage of the 35th Lilac Bloomsday Run.

Latest updates

Hawks’ first pick in the draft came a while ago

A GRIP ON SPORTS • What was your favorite moment of the NFL draft’s first day? Was it when the commissioner was booed heartily? Or when the Walter Payton award winner was cheered? How about the Seahawks’ pick? Oh ya, that happened weeks ago. Read on.


Bloomsday mile-by-mile course guide online

FITNESS — Bloomsday is more than a run or walk to celebrate fitness.

It's an extravaganza — as you can see here in a Bloomsday mile-by-mile guide (use it in your mobile device!) prepared by S-R graphic artist Molly Quinn.

In case  you're wondering, Molly is a daughter of Sylvia Quinn, a Bloomsday Perennial age-group star.

Think of Bloomsday as a start, not a finish

FITNESS — Spokane’s 39th annual Bloomsday run is set for May 3, but the deadline for registering without a late fee is Tuesday, April 14.

If you’re a serious runner or wheelchair athlete, you probably know all about the age divisions and potential for awards.

If  you’re just an average runner, jogger or walker, the huge moving celebration offers a group incentive to be your personal best for 7.46 miles.

Your reward will be a great t-shirt and motivation to continue pursuing the goal of good health and fitness.

A lot of people think, "I want to finish the race." 

I'd rather think of it as training for the next adventure, perhaps a wilderness backpacking trek, a goal just another few steps beyond….

It's hard to buy such inspiration nowadays. The entry fee is only $18.

An unlikely hero for the Shock


Imagine Russell Wilson going down with an injury in St. Louis. And imagine Tarvaris Jackson also being out, injured during the week. So the Hawks turn to Percy Harvin to play quarterback. Think they would win? Read on.

Bloomsday and your workplace culture

It says here that…

If the boss where you work is an ectomorph, there is a much greater likelihood that everyone is expected to be really into Bloomsday than if the boss is an endomorph.

A rare spring day blooms around here


Let's be clear here. Today is going to be a great day. And it has nothing to do with sports. OK, it has a little to do with sports. Read on.

Remembering Bloomsday 1988

Sandy Felsenthal, a photographer I had worked with before coming to Spokane, was going to shoot the 1988 Bloomsday for National Geographic magazine. He asked me if he could join our staff photographers up in the Review Tower on that Sunday morning.

I introduced him to the SR people who could make that call. And he was given the green light.

Then, with Bloomsday drawing near, that permission was withdrawn. I never did understand what happened. But I have always suspected one particular idiot was behind the decision.

So anyway, Sandy rented this big-ass crane and had it set up on Riverside. (I suspect the city green-lighted this because of the nature of his assignment.) As a result, he was actually IN the pictures taken from behind him up in the Review Tower.

If it looked like that big white crane was flipping off the SR, well, that was fine with me.

I’ll accept your challenge, Riccelli

PHOTO CAPTION: Marcus Riccelli, then a staffer for U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, runs the 2009 Bloomsday with Cantwell. Picture provided by Riccelli.

I got an unusual news release yesterday from state Rep. Marcus Riccelli.

Riccelli, D-Spokane, announced that his New Year’s resolution is to run Bloomsday. He challenged me to do the same.

“Today, the first day of the new year, I am committing to running Bloomsday in 2014 and am challenging Spokesman-Review reporter Jonathan Brunt to do the same,” Riccelli said in a new release before mocking the eating and exercise habits of politicians and journalists. “I think that both of us can set a good example for our colleagues and the public by participating in Bloomsday.”

I was too busy watching my alma mater win the Rose Bowl to respond immediately.

Waldref cruises to Bloomsday win

Congratulations to Councilwoman Amber Waldref, this year's top Bloomsday finisher among elected leaders (at least among those whose time we checked).

She easily beat out the rest of her City Council cohorts, though in defense of the others, she is the youngest elected official we located who ran the race.

Spin Control also offers the following trophy-less awards:

Participation Award: The Spokane County Commission. All three members finished the race. They are a shining example to the legislators serving the Third Legislative District. None of them completed the race even though the race is in their district.

Doomsday Hill Award: Jon Snyder, barely beat out Michael Baumgartner for the fastest time up Pettet Drive.

Here are the finishers we found. They are a bit slower than last year when former county commissioner and mountain climber John Roskelley ran the race.

In parenthesis are the official's age, followed by his or her final time, per-mile pace and his or her time on Doomsday Hill.

It’s a (near-perfect) morning in May


As I looked out my window today, all I could think of were the lyrics to a Three Dog Night song. Isn't that sad? Read on.

It seems to be a popular assumption

Maybe you have noticed this.

Someone asks if you are doing Bloomsday. You answer that you are not. And the person to whom you are speaking leaps to the assumption that you actively dislike the annual event.

Since when does not participating imply hostility?

May is the beginning of the best stretch


It is the first of May. The fifth month of 2013. The beginning of the best time of year. Read on.

If you had to guess

What percentage of people around here, after all these years, still totally don't get that the origins of "Bloomsday" are literary, not vernal?

Governor’s race comes down to Hoopfest vs. Bloomsday

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee will be on the court Saturday at Hoopfest in a team that also includes Democratic state House candidate Marcus Riccelli.

Their team, the Evergreen Dream Team, will play its first game at 8 a.m. Saturday on Washington Street between Main and Riverside, according to a news release.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna already participated in a popular Spokane sporting event this year. He ran Bloomsday.

Roskelley edges McKenna among Bloomsday politicians

Among the elected leaders and politicians running for office, it should be no surprise that John Roskelley won the race.

Roskelley, a candidate for Spokane County Commission, had the best Bloomsday time among all elected Spokane and Spokane Valley city leaders; state House and state Senate candidates for districts within Spokane County; Spokane County commissioner candidates; and gubernatorial candidates.

Roskelley is, afterall, a world-renowned mountain climber.

Here is the list of local politicians (plus a governor hopeful) who completed Bloomsday:

  1. John Roskelley, D, candidate for Spokane County Commission, 0:59:00
  2. Rob McKenna, R, candidate for governor, 1:00:21
  3. Amber Waldref, Spokane city councilwoman, 1:07:52
  4. Marcus Riccelli, D, candidate for state House, 1:08:27
  5. Steve Salvatori, Spokane city councilman, 1:17:00
  6. Amy Biviano, D, candidate for state House, 1:17:16
  7. Dennis Dellwo, D, candidate for state House, 1:20:08
  8. Tom Towey, Spokane Valley mayor, 1:28:14
  9. Brenda Grassel, Spokane Valley city councilwoman, 2:13:47
  10. David Condon, Spokane mayor, 2:41:52
  11. Michael Baumgartner, R, state Senator and candidate for U.S. Senate, 2:47:31

Remembering living on the race course

During the first year of our married life, my wife and I lived in a second-floor apartment on Riverside that looked down on the Bloomsday course.

On that race day morning, we opened multiple windows and listened to the thousands of sneakers springing and scuffing on the boulevard below. It went on and on, like an invasion of land octopi. And it made for a uniquely Spokaney breakfast accompaniment.

Neither of us have ever had that religious feeling about Bloomsday that some people seem to experience.

But we will never forget that sound.

Show of hands, please

Who remembers when the special viewing platform on the back of the Bloomsday media truck came apart near the starting line in 1988, spilling photographers and reporters onto Riverside just as the race began?

This is not the Leo Bloom…

…connected in a roundabout way to Bloomsday.

Leo (Gene Wilder) is on the right. But you knew that.