Thousands of people came to the Spokane Convention Center to check in ahead of Sunday’s Bloomsday race.
Each participant received a bag holding their race number. While there were thousands of numbers, each number belonged to someone with an individual reason of why they were participating in the race.
Many people said it was a family tradition.
“This will be my seventh year. I’ve always prepared for this year, and this is really kind of the highlight for a family gathering,” said Leroy Santiago, a participant.
But for others, the family atmosphere also comes from the community.
“It’s like walking with a lot of friends for this giant street party,” said Stephanie Plowman, another participant.
Stephanie’s reason to run also comes from her husband’s motivation.
Garry Plowman ran in the second Bloomsday race in 1978. Since then, he said he’s crossed the Bloomsday finish line more times than he can count.
“I haven’t kept track of the number,” he said. “I have a million shirts that I finally have packed away.”
But Garry said he does know how much the race has changed over the years.
“There was hardly anybody there. There was almost no one there,” he said. “There were no bands. And now there’s like 20 bands that play all along the route. And that’s kind of fun.”
He said running that earlier course was difficult for him as a younger runner.
“I had only just started running,” he said.
But over the years, Garry said he’s only gotten stronger and more experienced. He said all of the Bloomsday races he’s run since then have pushed him to keep going.
As he prepared for yet another race, Garry said he still thinks back to his first Bloomsday run.
He said he’ll be running, or walking, the Bloomsday races for as long as he can.
This year he said he’s mainly looking forward to running it with his family.
“It’s a family tradition now,” he said.