Cory Yost has run Bloomsday every year but one. The first one.
He was a senior at Ferris High School in 1977 and wanted to sign up for the inaugural Bloomsday event, but his track coach ordered him and his teammates to conserve their energy.
“We had a track meet the following Tuesday and he didn’t want us running,” Yost said.
While he missed his chance to earn the title of Bloomsday Perennial, Yost remains dedicated to the event. Sunday will mark his 40th time running the course. He’ll be joined by his wife and two of their four kids.
“It’s always a high point in the spring for my family,” he said of the event.
Yost likes to race the clock. In the early ’80s, he said, he ran the 12-kilometer course in an impressive 44 minutes, 20 seconds.
“When I turned 45, I challenged myself to see how many years I could run my age,” he said.
Now 58 and the president of a local construction company, Yost is ready to take it slow. He and his wife are recovering from injuries, so they plan to stick together and enjoy the scenery at a modest pace.
“Now we’re ready to run it for fun,” he said. “Maybe we’ll even stop for ice cream, or grab a beer.”
Yost was one of thousands of people picking up their race bibs at the Bloomsday trade show Friday morning. The Spokane Convention Center will be filled with vendors and volunteers through Saturday evening.
The trade show offers new shoes and running gear for sale at a discount, an array of trinkets and free miniature doughnuts and grilled cheese sandwiches from Franz Bakery.
“A lot of people don’t understand the trade show is open to the public,” said Bloomsday board President Mark Starr. “You don’t have to be a runner in the event to come here.”
Starr said the number of registered runners was down slightly from previous years but was more than 40,000 and climbing on Friday morning.
“Late registrations always pump us up a bit,” he said.
Starr said race organizers were working overtime to make the 41st Bloomsday run smoothly, with five water stations, 350 portable toilets and several miles of fencing to be installed.
Volunteers will give out an estimated 650,000 cups of water during the race, and 90 percent of garbage from the course will be recycled, Starr said.
“It’s staggering all that takes place,” he said.
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