Sleeping in won’t be possible for the next six Saturdays.
At least not for the 500 people who have registered for Bloomsday training clinics.
They started their workouts Saturday in the gym at Spokane Falls Community College. Many arrived before 8 a.m. to sign up for the seven-week program.
“It makes you get out,” said 71-year-old Howard Stamp, who hasn’t missed a clinic in the last nine years. “Having a lot of people around motivates you.”
Sponsored by Holy Family Hospital and Group Health Northwest, the sessions are designed to help walkers and runners build endurance for the May 3 road race.
Some drove long distances to work out with the group Saturday.
Lily Sorenson of Post Falls was there. She comes every year to exercise with her friend, Mary Thiede of Spokane.
The women, both in their 70s, haven’t missed a Bloomsday race in years.
The training clinics have become part of their readiness ritual.
“I like getting out in the fresh air and meeting people,” Sorenson said.
Forrest and Juanita Vold drove in from Sprague to take part in Saturday’s session.
Juanita started running Bloomsday in 1984 because she had high blood pressure.
Forrest, a farmer, waited until he retired nine years ago.
“You don’t have time to get in shape when you work,” he said.
Training also prevents injury, said Tonya Carty, Group Health’s clinical health educator.
By participating in the sessions, people also are able to get psyched for the race.
“It’s the social setting that makes it work,” she said. “It’s motivating to have others in the same situation - not being fit and starting from ground zero.”
Trainees Saturday ranged from exercise addicts who run six-minute miles to couch potatoes who plan to tackle Bloomsday for the first time - walking. Exercise clothes ranged from expensive footwear and Spandex to jeans and tennis shoes.
Despite varying fitness levels, everyone started in the gym, where they listened to a 15-minute lecture on injury prevention and other race-related topics.
They stretched, marched in place and warmed up with a brief, low-impact workout. Then they went outside to run or walk a mile. They’ll increase that distance by an additional mile each week.
“I’m a fun-runner,” said Leroy Leaf of Spokane, who averages a nine-minute mile.
“I just enjoy getting out with people rather than run by myself.”
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo Graphic: Getting ready for Bloomsday