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Bloomsday brings in millions with more to come

Bloomsday brings in millions with more to come

While many are still recovering from Bloomsday, Spokane businesses are still cashing in. Many are gearing up for a big payoff in the years to come.

This past weekend, hotels like the Red Lion Inn at the Park were completely booked.

"We were sold out, and quite a bit in advance. It was just a tremendous weekend," said General Manager Michael Fear.

The Onion Restaurant downtown was packed as well.

"It never stopped. It was quite a bit busier, I think, even than last year," said Jacky Roberg.

It was busier than last year, and more profitable. According to estimates from Visit Spokane, Bloomsday brought in about $1.6 million more this year than last year. A key factor was more hotel rooms were booked.

Everyone is looking forward to Hoopfest.

"Bloomsday will slow down about three o'clock. Hoopfest on the Saturday and Sunday stay busy all the way until eight or nine at night," Roberg said.

Projected numbers from Visit Spokane, show Hoopfest could net $38.7 million for the local economy.

Man proposes to girlfriend after Bloomsday

Man proposes to girlfriend after Bloomsday

Tom Curalli defines what it means to be a Bloomie.

"Today is a big day, it's my 35th Bloomsday," said Curalli.

Curalli said he would never miss a Bloomsday. He loves how the race brings the community and families together. The theme of togetherness inspired him to make this day about the most important person in his life.

"I'm going to propose to my girlfriend at the finish line in front of a lot of a lot of people," said Curalli.

Curalli has prepared for the big day since February. He chose not to share the plan with anyone, and the anticipation was starting to get the best of him.

"I'm pretty excited, a little nervous, had a bit of trouble sleeping last night,"said Curalli.

The couple have been dating for about a year, but have been close friends for nearly six.

Kids preparing for Junior Bloomsday race on Saturday

Kids preparing for Junior Bloomsday race on Saturday

Over 130 kids will participate in Saturday's Second Annual Junior Bloomsday.

Junior Bloomsday is one mile timed race for third and fourth graders.

"We have the Marmot March for the second grade and younger kids so this is a timed race for third and fourth graders to get them in the spirit of what Bloomsday is all about," said Lesli Cleveland, Bloomsday volunteer.

Cleveland said Junior Bloomsday is all about getting kids excited about running. The race does more than that. It also teaches kids the importance of giving back to kids their own age.

"We collect shoes for Soles4Youth, gently used running shoes for kids in need," said Cleveland.

The organization collects shoes for local children in grades one to six.

"Some kids were running in flip flops or shoes that were too small. And we talked about what we could do for them and the idea of Soles4Youth was born," said Cleveland.

In the one year the organization has been around, they have collected nearly 200 pairs of shoes.

Age not a factor for veteran Bloomsday runner

Age not a factor for veteran Bloomsday runner

We've always been told, age is just a number and Bloomsday runner Jeff Corkill is proving that age old adage is still true.

Come Sunday Corkill, who is 70, will be running in his 29th Bloomsday.

"I don't see stopping for awhile," he said. "A lot of my colleagues aren't but I'm still at it, as long as my legs will keep going and I will keep running."

Over the years Corkill has racked up an impressive amount of hardware at the Bloomsday finish line.

"This is my hall of age group medals from Bloomsday, most of them are first place ones, there is a couple of second places in there," he said.

In all, Jeff has won his age group 20 times and is the second most decorated runner in Bloomsday history. This year with a new age comes a new goal.

"Last year I was just over 50 minutes so I'm hoping I can do just under 50 minutes this year, I think that would be a nice target," he said.

That figures out to be about a steady 6 minute, 45 second mile but, at 70 years young, Jeff's not showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Wheelchair athletes ready to take on Bloomsday course

Wheelchair athletes ready to take on Bloomsday course

Each year, at least 50,000 people run, walk or even wheel their way through the Bloomsday course, and its become an annual tradition for wheelchair athletes Scott Parson and Edwin Figueroa.

"The course is really challenging and the field is great, a lot of competition," Parson said.

Parson and Figueroa touched down in Spokane Friday fresh from California. Parson has won the wheelchair race the last two years.

"The older I get, the younger they get so it's going to be tough this year," he said.

This year is Parson's 15th Bloomsday while Figueroa has raced it a dozen times. Each year they always mark their calendars for this race.

"The group of people that put the race on, they really make it good for all the wheelers to come back," Parson said.

The wheelchair athletes are greeted at the airport and then taken to their hotels, with equipment in tow, by STA.

"They see everybody equal, from elite runners to able bodies, it's a good group," Figueroa said.

While they're looking forward to the race, they're both like every other athlete getting ready for the course. They're dreading Doomsday Hill.

Items to leave at home during Bloomsday

Items to leave at home during Bloomsday

As you’re preparing to walk or run the world’s largest timed road race on Sunday, keep in mind there are some items that aren’t allowed on the course. Here’s a list of items that Bloomsday organizers want you to leave at home.