My month of May started with Bloomsday, one of Spokane’s signature events. The road race draws at least 30,000 people annually who complete a 12K/7.5 mile course that begins and ends in downtown with scenic views of the Spokane River, historic neighborhoods, and other landmarks sandwiched in the middle. Growing up in Spokane I ran Bloomsday several times but it had been more than 20 years since I last participated.
I joined my brother and sister-in-law to partake in this year’s race. We took advantage of the Bloomsday shuttle that allowed us to board a Spokane Transit Authority (STA) bus at Ferris High School for a stress-free drop off within blocks of the starting line.
On Sunday I just couldn’t stop smiling. As I waited in the brilliant morning sunshine for the gun to sound, I felt so fortunate that the worst of the pandemic had passed and that community events could finally resume. It had been a long time coming.
Trust me, I wasn’t the only one smiling. The enthusiasm and glee was infectious. Glen, Carrie, and I were filled with joy as we huddled with thousands of other bloomies at the starting line. Bloomsday was back!
There is nothing like that first Bloomsday mile. Running the initial 5,280 feet with the masses while injected with natural adrenaline is simply the best. As we ran by Our Lady of Lourdes Cathedral during that opening stanza, Fr. Kyle Ratuiste gave us a quick blessing from the church steps. At that moment, I was at peak euphoria for the day and ready to tackle the course.
I took off on my own and simply enjoyed myself as I navigated the course. Bands, vendors, and spectators lined the streets as there was never a dull moment. At one point, someone on the curb extended a couple of PBR tall boys in my general vicinity.
“Sorry, I ran out of water,” the man said.
I declined but a braver soul who was running close to me graciously accepted the man’s offering. I gave him a nod of admiration.
Interactions like that made the race fun. To see everyone so spirited, runners and spectators alike, made for a fun morning. I crossed the finish line at 1 hour, 11 minutes—a little better than what I anticipated.
Once I reunited with Glen and Carrie we picked up our coveted finisher t-shirts. Always the subject of intense scrutiny, this year’s color and design seemed to be lauded by fashion critics and social media users.
With t-shirts in hand, we headed to the next natural spot—the bar. A beer never tasted so good.
Thanks to Glen and Carrie for letting me do Bloomsday with them, I had an absolute blast. And thank you, Spokane, for making such an awesome event possible. Until next time! Don’t Blink.