Runners geared up at the Lilac Bloomsday Run Trade Show at the Spokane Convention Center on Friday.
Swarms of people dug through bins of shoes, munched on food samples, signed up to volunteer at Hoopfest, entered various drawings and spun wheels to win prizes. Some got massages; some got information on other races.
Bloomsday officials say more than 50,000 people will visit the trade show over its two-day run, which concludes today.
Everything a runner might need was for sale, from sunglasses and ear buds to running attire and water bottles.
There were even some goods a runner probably wouldn’t need, at least not while running: cleaning supplies, handbags and sundresses.
Runners Soul Manager Nate Kinghorn said Bloomsday is a boon to the Spokane business each year.
“Sales have been strong,” he said. “We try to be full service and everything’s moving.
“This is my chance to see 40,000 people I wouldn’t normally see,” he added. “This is a chance to see out-of-towners.”
He said he often sees the same people during Bloomsday weekend year after year.
“They buy their shoes once a year and this is where they do it,” he said.
That’s just what 37-year-old Shari Vedder does.
“I buy my running shoes here every year because they’re always a better deal than anywhere else,” said Vedder, who has participated in Bloomsday for the last 29 years.
Runners also picked up their packets for the 35th Bloomsday on Friday and late registrants rushed to sign up for the Sunday run.
Sean Coyle, 22, was at the Convention Center on Friday to register for the run and do some shopping.
The Spokane Falls Community College student said he ran in track and cross-country as a Central Valley High School student, but he has never participated in Bloomsday because it came during team training.
“I’ve always wanted to do it,” Coyle said. “The coach never let us run. This is the first year we’ve been able to do it.”
Despite the Spokane native’s eagerness to run the 12-kilometer course, he waited until Friday to register.
The reason, he said: “Procrastination.”
“I didn’t really know what to do because it’s my first time,” he said. “I don’t know if that’s a good excuse.”
Coyle said that after registering he planned on browsing the dozens of booths.
“I definitely will walk through,” he said. “If I see anything that’s reasonably priced, I’ll probably pick it up.”
After registering for the run and doing some shopping, Coyle, a second-seed runner, said he’ll be ready to leave his Spokane Falls Community College track coach, Matt Bayley, in the dust Sunday.
“He pushes me in practice,” he said of his coach, also a second seed. “That’s why I’m going to beat him, because he is such a good coach. … He’s a pretty good runner for being 30-something, but I’m definitely going to beat him.”