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Monday, June 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports

Grip on Sports: Remember that one time, at Bloomsday, when the vulture almost won?

Runners high-five the Doomsday Hill Vulture during Bloomsday 2019 on Sunday, May 5, 2019 in Spokane, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Runners high-five the Doomsday Hill Vulture during Bloomsday 2019 on Sunday, May 5, 2019 in Spokane, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • It’s been years since I participated in Bloomsday. Notice, the word “run” wasn’t my verb of choice. There is a reason for that. I only ran Bloomsday once, more than three decades ago, and the picture my friend Chris Anderson took afterward still scares me to this day.

••••••••••

• When I moved to Spokane in 1983, there was a month until Bloomsday. It was all the talk in the S-R newsroom, even if “only” some 30,000 people were expected to participate. With little else to do, one of them would be me.

Running wasn’t an avocation, but I had done some in Southern California, including a 10 k race and shorter fun runs. Speed and I didn’t run together, sure, though his distant cousin endurance was a partner at times.

So I decided to train, running to and from work – not a big deal, I was living in Browne’s Addition – and doing more in the mornings before heading into the sports department.

I felt ready that first Sunday in May. And was doing OK, pretty sure my goal, to break an hour, would fall.

Then came Doomsday Hill.

It didn’t kill me, but it certainly didn’t make me stronger. I never stopped running, though Touche Turtle probably was moving faster by the time I got to the top.

The rest of the march through West Central is kind of a blur. I do remember heading down the Post Street Bridge and under the tunnel that is now part of RiverPark Square (full disclosure: the folks that pay for this website own that road now) to the finish line.

Then Chris, an S-R photographer, snapped a series of photos. I looked awful. I felt worse.

The promise to “never run this again” was easy to make. And to break.

I have more than a handful of Bloomsday T-shirts in my some-day-Kim-wants-to-make-a-quilt drawer, along with every Hoopfest T-shirt from the first 15 years and a couple pre-Spokane events. But the other Bloomsday shirts were earned with Kim and her friends, participation trophies really. That’s fine. I sweated enough in 1983 to last a lifetime.

I have the picture to prove it.

• Speaking of pictures, Colin Mulvany and Tyler Tjomsland has photographs galore from the elite races as well as the rest of the crowds. … Dave Nichols has coverage of the women’s race and the wheelchair race, while Ryan Collingwood covered the men’s race.

•••

WSU: The baseball team earned its second conference win of the year and this one counts triple. It was over UW. … Elsewhere in the Pac-12, there is football news from Colorado as well as two stories from Utah.

Gonzaga: Give Mark Few and his staff credit. When they really want a grad transfer to commit, they bring them in on Bloomsday or Hoopfest weekend, when Spokane looks its best. The strategy worked again, with Admon Gilder, the most sought-after grad transfer guard out there, committing to GU on his way home to Texas on Sunday. The former Texas A&M guard may step right into the lineup next season. Jim Meehan talked with Gilder for this story. … The baseball team fell to Saint Mary’s.

Preps: Clarkston High graduate Joel Dahmen finished second in the PGA Tour event yesterday, winning more money than most of us will earn in a decade – or two.

Mariners: Not only did the M’s win 10-0 yesterday, snapping the six-game losing streak, but there were two milestones. Braden Bishop picked up his first hit and Erik Swanson earned his first big league win. … Gene Warnick has the daily Out of Right Field summary.

Seahawks: Rookie minicamp filled the weekend with promise, though no one seems to have more than receiver DK Metcalf. Who else shined? … The quarterbacks certainly didn’t.

•••       

• Off to the golf course today. I just checked the forecast, not to see if it will be warm – it will, maybe hitting the low 70s – but to make sure the wind won’t be blowing – it won’t. Nothing ruins my high, majestic drives more than strong winds. Of course, wind doesn’t bother my worm-burners much, though it does make them harder to find in the rough. Until later …

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