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Wednesday, May 22, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Jr. Bloomsday relaunch draws full crowd of young runners

UPDATED: Sat., April 20, 2019, 1:55 p.m.

Junior Bloomsday runners take off from the start line at Avista Stadium in Spokane on Saturday, April 20, 2019. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
Junior Bloomsday runners take off from the start line at Avista Stadium in Spokane on Saturday, April 20, 2019. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

Identical 9-year-old twins Carter and Zoe Thompson said one of their main goals in the Jr. Bloomsday run Saturday was to beat the other in the race.

“I’m going to start slower and then go faster,” said Carter Thompson, wearing gray Nike runners that matched her sister’s. “I can get more energy midway. I think it will be very fun.”

Zoe Thompson said it’s “pretty important” that she beats her sister, adding that she may be running in Bloomsday when she gets older.

“I never really ran a Bloomsday before,” Zoe said. “It sounds fun.”

About 1,700 kids ran in the relaunch of Jr. Bloomsday on Saturday at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center. Kids ran a little over a mile through the Fairgrounds expo barns and into Avista Stadium, where they finished near home plate.

The run, open to kids in third through seventh grade, was once an annual event. In the late ’90s, Jr. Bloomsday became “America’s Kids Run” up until 2011, when it “petered out,” said Don Kardong, race director for Bloomsday. He and other organizers have been trying to bring Jr. Bloomsday back for years.

“Since that time there hasn’t been a spring race for kids of their ages,” said Jon Neill Jr., Bloomsday organizer.

Kardong said: “It was something we wanted to bring back, but we wanted to do it in a way we’d feel good about it. It’s a shorter race with some of the same elements.”

Calvin Hilton, 12, finished first in the initial wave of runners. After overtaking an opponent in the homestretch inside the ballpark, he crossed the line, squinted and threw his head back.

“I’m super happy,” he later said. “I didn’t train at all. I didn’t think I’d win.”

Finishers all received a light blue Jr. Bloomsday T-shirt after crossing the finish line.

Kahlan Cartmell, 10, said she liked running through the barns, where giant inflatable dancing men greeted the runners.

Her mother, Holly Cartmell, said she “loves that there’s a race for the kiddos too old for the Marmot March,” which is held May 4 – the day before Bloomsday – and is only open to kids younger than 3rd grade.

“It’s nice they brought this back,” she said.

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