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Sunday, August 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Lantern Run Club embraces the hill in South Hill

Eddie Tompson, who has been a member of the Lantern Run Club since it first started, runs with the club on Tuesday, April 17, 2019. The Lantern Run Club meets every Tuesday at The Lantern Tap House. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)
Eddie Tompson, who has been a member of the Lantern Run Club since it first started, runs with the club on Tuesday, April 17, 2019. The Lantern Run Club meets every Tuesday at The Lantern Tap House. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)
By Dave Cook For The Spokesman-Review

At first impression, Dom needs a megaphone. And the Lantern Tap House needs a beer garden. But you can’t get lost very easily running the South Hill on Tuesdays with this group.

The Lantern Run Club in the Perry Street District is as quaint of a running club as you can get for a group which seems to be bursting at the seams. Now you can imagine what the Flying Irish went through at O’Doherty’s some 12 years ago. Quaint doesn’t always associate with masses.

On this, a picture-perfect running day in late March, about 100 eager runners gathered on the sidewalk and on the streets to hear run organizer Dominic Bartoletta give the pre-race command. More or less, he yelled over the din of energized chatter, “Runners start your engines, run up this hill, run up another hill, then run down and over, and then, if you take the 5-mile option run this way through Manito Park, but if not, run the other way, then come around the corner and come back to The Lantern.”

And this wasn’t even the course aptly named “Oh Hilllllllllllllll No!” … there is no need to count the L’s for accuracy, the point is made – it’s not called the South HILL for nothing.

Running the South Hill is easier said than done, and getting lost while battling fatigue is possible – especially for rookie out-of-towners. But, with a crowd so large, it was easy to keep on eye out on people ahead of you. Thankfully, fellow club-hopper Wayne was up ahead in a Lantern club shirt with the motto on his back: “Run, Drink, Rinse, Repeat.” That slogan alone is worth earning a shirt for.

Started in 2012, TLRC has routes that can be intimidating if you don’t know the South Hill. At worst, you could end up at Liberty Park. At best, you could end up at Manito Park, or, better yet, the South Hill Grill, where you should give up running and order yourself a Fire Lion King.

Those of you who have been to The Lantern Tap House know it’s a gem of an establishment, with excellent and friendly service. The original Lantern Tavern is tiny, quaint and narrow, and in the early years when community members started the club, six to 10 runners filled the place up. Regulars are eager to tell you about the pull down “shelf” on which you can place your pint.

In 2013, owners Mike and Melinda Dolmage expanded into the former Perry Street Cafe space next door. Thankfully, they kept the intimacy of the original tavern, and a Spokane legend was reborn.

But with 100 souls trying to grab a post-race brew, it’s a tad bit hard – especially in a time crunch. If only they could expand into the street like they do for their annual Winter Beer Fest in January. Or would it be bad form to ask for an easement into Grant Park?

In any event, the Lantern Run Club is in a class by itself. So are their runs, and Dom and his fellow organizer Conor Craigen deserve a toast for bringing them to us.

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