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Test your Bloomsday IQ

Ten things you probably didn’t know entering today’s 36th running

After 35 Bloomsdays, it’s safe to assume you know just about everything there is to know about the annual race – and running in general, for that matter.

For instance, you already know the verb “run” has 645 meanings, more than any other word in the Oxford English Dictionary. (Examples: “Run a fever” … “run a bath” … “run an idea up the flagpole.”)

And that the treadmill was invented in early 19th century England as a way to punish prison inmates. (Duh.)

Of course, you know Bloomsday is bigger than the Boston Marathon, Chicago Marathon and New York City Marathon. (The only U.S. road race that’s bigger is Atlanta’s Peachtree Road Race.)

And that 105 “perennials” have completed every Bloomsday.

Who won the first race?

Right: Olympian Frank Shorter and Joan Ullyot, of San Francisco. That was easy.

How about this one: Fully set up, how much does a racing wheelchair weigh? (Answer: 18 pounds, about the same as a high-end road bike.)

Are you warmed up?

It’s time for the Doomsday Hill of Bloomsday quizzes. Test your knowledge by answering the following 10 questions, and check your work against the answers on A7.

If you score a perfect 10, you probably competed in the 1976 Olympic marathon and your nickname is Dingy.

And if you score a zero, don’t worry – we won’t put you on a treadmill. England outlawed that form of punishment in 1902. (But you already knew that.)

1. During the past 15 years, LaLa Gerber has “donated” 600 vintage Bloomsday T-shirts to what popular cause?

2. In 1984, race founder Don Kardong and former Spokesman-Review copy editor Phil Baechler were the first to try out a new invention in Bloomsday. Now the device is common at family-friendly race events everywhere. What is the device?

3. A truck loaded with 500,000 of these went missing one year, despite efforts by the Washington State Patrol and others to locate it, forcing Bloomsday officials to scramble to find replacements. What did they buy?

4. American Jon Sinclair won his second consecutive Bloomsday in 1986 with a time of 34:25. How many of the past 10 winning times would Sinclair’s 34:25 have beaten or tied?

5. How long did it take for this year’s 250 Corporate Cup slots to sell out?

6. What percentage of Bloomsday finishers are 18 or younger?

7. One year, someone stole a very important item that had been distributed along the course. What item?

8. In 2002, what accomplishment earned Dana Gaber free Bloomsday entries for life?

9. For the past six years, the median finishing time for Bloomsday has varied by only three minutes. Pick a time that falls within that range.

10. Bloomsday has how many full-time employees?

Spokane freelance writer Michael Guilfoil can be reached at

Tags: Bloomsday