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Grip on Sports: The many faces of Bloomsday were on display yesterday – as they are every year

Even superheroes attended Bloomsday 2018 on Sunday, May 6, 2018, in Spokane, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Even superheroes attended Bloomsday 2018 on Sunday, May 6, 2018, in Spokane, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • There really is two faces to Bloomsday, sort of like that old Roman god who graced the doorways of homes in Pompeii. Read on.

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• We are referring to Janus, the god of beginnings and transitions, whose two-faced likeness would sit above doors in the houses of the rich and famous. And we are referring to Bloomsday, the Spokane tradition that includes the rich and famous of the running world and the smile-covered masses of the rest of us.

The rich and famous fly through the city’s streets with Nikes barely touching the ground, finishing in less time than it would take most of us to drive the route on a Monday morning. 

The rest of the 40,000 or so who participated yesterday wear Nikes too, but also New Balance, Saucony or whatever is in the bargain bin at Big 5 the week before.

Some try to run, others succeed. Some jog, others shamble. Some push strollers, others cuss at those who push strollers. It’s a cross section of ages, genders and fitness levels, all mushed together for a day of celebrating spring.

Bloomsday is not unique to Spokane, of course, though its sheer size is. But it is uniquely Spokane, from the downtown start, to Doomsday Hill to the finish in one of the nation’s nicest downtown parks.

A river of people flow through the river city. 

But what is so cool are the runners who come to our city to compete. There is a cash prize at the end for the top 15 finishers. The winner picks up $7,000, or about $1,000 for every mile. There is prize money for the older runners, prize money for U.S. citizens, prize money for the wheelchair racers.

And there is a prize for the last-place finisher whomever that may be. It is the pride of knowing finishing is possible no matter the challenges. It may not be the same challenges faced by Buze Diriba or Jemal Yimer, but it is a challenge nonetheless.

And that is Bloomsday. A challenge accepted. A challenge completed. A T-shirt earned.

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WSU: Speaking of challenges, the heptathlon is seven challenging events. Well, challenging to everyone except Alissa Brooks-Johnson, who won her third Pac-12 title yesterday. … The baseball team didn’t lose to Oregon State on Sunday. But it didn’t win either. The game ended in a 7-7 tie due to inclement weather. … Elsewhere in the Pac-12, Chip Kelly is getting used to UCLA.

Gonzaga: The baseball team lost in San Diego in extra innings.

Bloomsday: There are many races within the race, including the men’s elite, covered by Jim Allen, and the women’s elite, which Dave Nichols wrote about. There is also the wheelchair, with Jim writing about it. 

Mariners: For a while this offseason, it looked as if the M’s would land Shohei Ohtani, the Japanese two-way star. But the 23-year-old decided to sign with the Angels instead. Yesterday, Mariner fans had the opportunity to see what Seattle missed out on, and it’s a lot. John Blanchette was in Safeco and has this column about baseball’s newest superstar and the Angels' older one. … Ohtani impressed just about everyone this weekend. … The M’s homestand wasn’t exactly what they wanted. Mainly due to Mike Trout and gopher balls.

Seahawks: The Hawks have something to prove, from rookie Rashaad Penny to veteran Earl Thomas. … Rookie mini-camp is over.

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• No, I did not participate in Bloomsday this year. Kim and I spent the day participating in an endurance event entitled Buying and Putting Together Patio Furniture. No one gave us a T-shirt when we were done, though it took hours and we did earn a couple blisters. Until later … 


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