Bloomies keep tradition alive with virtual Bloomsday

SPOKANE, Wash. — On Sunday, Bloomsday participants took on nearly 7.5 miles as blue skies welcomed them. This year, organizers moved the iconic event to a virtual run because of the pandemic. This didn’t stop people from keeping the 43-year tradition alive.

Many participants hit the sidewalks on Sunday. Normally, roads would be blocked off. Though the pandemic has forced changes in our lives, not everything has to be different.

“This would be the first year I’ve missed in 17 years so I wasn’t going to let everything going on get in the way of doing another Bloomsday,” said Hilary Bell.

She said she decided to walk the virtual course backwards because 2020 has been that way. Bloomsday organizers encouraged runners to participate on whatever course they wanted, not just the virtual one.

However, some stuck to it like Herb Linbaugh. He said he’s been walking the race for 37 years.

“You gotta do Bloomsday if you live in Spokane. It’s state law, I think. I’m not sure, but I think it is,” Linbaugh jokingly said.

The event was also extended to Sept. 27 because of hazardous air that blanketed much of the state for about a week.

Bloomies will still get a yearly finisher t-shirt through the mail by recording their times online. Participants said having the virtual day is the sense of normalcy racers they’re happy to have.

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PHOTOS: Bloomsday runner statues dressed up to celebrate start of virtual race