Spokane’s 38th annual Lilac Bloomsday Run brought together thousands of family and friends who spent their Sunday celebrating spring and fitness.
“Being from Spokane, you kind of want to be part of it, either by running or volunteering or just coming out to cheer people on,” said Tiffany Copher, a volunteer. “It doesn’t matter what body type you are. You’re getting out there and you’re doing it. And that’s really inspirational.”
The weather cooperated, with temperatures in the low 60s and none of the threatened rain – ideal conditions for 44,626 runners, walkers and rollers who covered the 7.46-mile course.
“This is what runners do,” participant Keith Comes said. “You can’t be a runner in Spokane and not run Bloomsday.”
Here are some vignettes from along the Bloomsday route:
8:10 a.m. Post and Riverside. Stephen and Mary Ann Slade waited near the starting line to cheer for their niece, Camille Shilett, of Silverdale, Washington, one of the elite women’s runners. “We’re just so excited to see her run,” Stephen Slade said. “She’s put a lot into this.”
8:17 a.m. Broadway and Madison. For the third year, Randy Carmon, 50, of Spokane, snagged a spot in front of the Spokane County Courthouse with the kids, Andrew Carmon, 10, and Natalie Blair, 9. They were looking for wife and mom Cindy Carmon, 37, running on the Safeway corporate team. Randy hopes to run Bloomsday next year. “I would like to run one with my son,” he said.
8:35 a.m. Post and Sprague. Martha Severn used a microphone to help direct runners to their starting lines. “Good morning, Bloomies. Yellow colors go straight down Wall. Corporate Cup, go left. All other colors of the rainbow, go right.” Severn is a 20-year Bloomsday volunteer. “Since I’m not a runner, it’s my way of helping out the community and being involved.”
8:55 a.m. Howard and Riverside. Baylee Buchanan, 15, and Payton Fredericksen, 16, were dressed up as Jelly Bellies, wearing colorful balloons inside a plastic bag. They’ve worn costumes for the last six Bloomsdays. As far as outfits go, “This is one of our best,” Fredericksen said.
9 a.m. On Broadway between Elm and Cannon. Carrie Mason, 54, and son Ryan Mason, 15, wait to cheer on the first racers. They’ve lived along the race route for about eight years, but this is the first time they’ve made and hung a sign from their porch telling racers: “Almost there. Great job.” Said Carrie Mason, “By the time they get up that hill and around the corner, they’re tired. It’s inspiration to keep going.”
9:28 a.m. Broadway and Lindeke. Sue Thompson, 64, was finishing breakfast as the first elite male runners trickled by her home, once known as the “airbed hotel” because of all the friends and family members who would stay for Bloomsday. “People would bring airbeds and sleep out on the porch,” she said. “Now we put up the tent trailer on the patio.”
9:30 a.m. Sprague and Riverside. Stefania Domino, 41, and her friend, Jeanine Fisher, 50, both of Spokane, waited for the Lilac group’s time to go. Domino was walking in memory of her brother, who died of cancer in February. Fisher was celebrating her recovery from breast cancer.
9:57 a.m. Lindeke and Sinto. Photography enthusiast Pat Madden, 64, of Spokane, was taking pictures of runners and liked the light at this corner. “I’m looking for interesting people. Occasionally, I find someone I know.”
10 a.m. Spokane Falls Boulevard. Gwen Lapham, 44, an elite women’s runner from Seattle, showed off her sky-blue finisher’s T-shirt. “I actually really like the design,” she said. “We were guessing that it would be neon before we saw it. That’s always part of the fun, guessing the color.”
10:43 a.m. Top of Doomsday Hill. A man and a woman jogged past the medic tent. Her black tank top read “beauty,” and his, “beast.”
11:05 a.m. Medical Aid Station No. 4. Injuries were mostly blisters and scraped knees, said Tiffany Copher, 43, a volunteer with Spokane County Amateur Radio Emergency Communications. “No heat exhaustion because of the weather, which is good. … We keep an eye on the crowd and see if anybody is struggling.”
11:14 a.m. Mission and West Point Road. Andrew Muniz, 28, and Justin Case, 24, who recently moved here, hold signs proclaiming “1.5 miles left” and shouting: “Almost there, guys! You made the hill! You got this!” Said Muniz, “People should be thankful that they live here. Spokane is awesome.”
11:45 a.m. At the water station on Broadway. Tom Carr, 11, handed out water with his dad, Spokane fire Lt. Dean Carr, 44. “I’ve seen a lot of people take water, but some of them are holding their pride and they just keep running,” the fifth-grader said.
Noon. Spokane Falls Boulevard. Angela Topov, 8, and her brothers Anatoliy, 11, and Igor, 12, gave their first Bloomsday experience a thumbs up. “You feel proud,” Anatoliy said. “Everyone deserves to be a winner.”
12:27 p.m. Broadway and Madison. Spokane rock band Quarter Monkey prepared for its second set. “We want to keep spirits up, and we want to keep people happy and moving,” said bassist Tony Brickner, 33. “When we play a higher tempo, you can actually see people speeding up.”
1:15 p.m. Riverside and Monroe. Vince Slott, 94, finished the race strong, accompanied by 16 family members. They were in town for another special event: Slott and his wife, Peggy, will celebrate their 70th anniversary this month. “I enjoyed every step,” said Slott, a veteran Bloomsday participant, “but I was glad to see the finish line.”