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Mark Baker
Spokane, Washington

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Bloomsday Must Go On!

Bloomsday RunnersBloomsday is a big deal. Spokanites have a long standing competition against their brethren. For some, that means hours spent on the treadmill and braving the end of winter to take a stab at a better time. For others, competition means a more elaborate super hero costume, a larger swag bag filled with free stuff, or the elusive tally of how many free hot dogs you can consume while still running hard, or maybe that's just me.

For the real competition and prize money, totaling nearly $100,000 actually, it goes way beyond a bunch of locals trying to best each other. Professional runners from around the world are poised to battle for that coveted top prize of $10,000. Last year's champion, Kenyan Allan Kiprono, will be joined at the front of the pack by some prominent runners including newcomer Emmanual Bett, who currently holds the record for the fastest 10,000 meters in the world which he bagged in 2012.

Bloomsday AerialLike I said before, Bloomsday is a big deal, especially so close to the Boston Marathon tragedy. 58,000 "Bloomsday Stands with Boston" bracelets will be handed out on Sunday to show support for the athletes and our country. Bill Iffrig, the78-year-old Lake Stevens, WA resident from the infamous Boston Marathon photo where he lays fallen before the police officers, will be running the race as well. Bill plans to wear the same orange singlet he wore during the Boston Marathon.

Regardless of what your Bloomsday goal may be, the 37th Lilac Bloomsday Run is sure to stand out among the rest. I will take comfort in knowing that shameless acts of cruelty will not crush the heartbeat of our country, Spokane and Bloomsday! So come and join me, Bill, all those incredible athletes and the 50,000+ runners/walkers/rollers that will take over Spokane this Sunday. It's not too late to register, but even if you don't want to conquer the run, make sure to get downtown and see the city come alive with one of the best events in the country. Maybe you can pick me out of the crowd as I battle to keep from tossing up those hot dogs on Doomsday Hill!

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