Friday, June 17, 2011

Riding the Bloomsday Bus

First , a little history. I started riding the Bloomsday bus with my sister Carol Hedges in 1989. We had no expectations for the race except it was a 12K. And we could ride the bus to Spokane and back in one day. That first year I think there were over 58,000 runners. Yes, that is the right amount of 0s. The city of Spokane is so supportive of this race. It is amazing! Businesses sign up for water stations and they are 100 feet long, sometimes on both sides of the street. There are live bands along the way playing music from hard rock to polka. A couple years Elvis sang to us. This year there was a young lady singing a sultry song in a formal dress. People line the street cheering you on, playing music and spraying hoses on the hot days. As you round the corner for the run downhill to the finish line, “Chariots of Fire” is playing loudly on the stereo. Anyhow, we were hooked. We rode the bus every year after that until ’94, that was the last bus.

We, individually without sponsors, tried to get a bus going by hanging fliers but we could never get enough people to sign up. So Carol started driving the two of us over in ’97, giving up a whole weekend and staying in a motel/hotel and then driving back tired. But we didn’t want to give up the Bloomsday experience, so every year we made the trip. In ’08, we pitched the idea of a bus to RWM and they committed to three years of bus trips. The first year there were 5 of us on a Beachliner. The second year there were 7 of us on a YMCA bus. Last year there were 20 of us on two YMCA buses. Three years were up and we hadn’t filled a Beachliner yet.

Thank you RWM for extending it one more year. On May 1, 2011, 46 people got on the BloomsdayBeachliner to Spokane. Not everyone was a runner, we had two volunteers and one supporter. Of the rest, some were serious runners, some were walkers, some were first timers and some were experienced Bloomies. Each one of them was one of a little over 56,000 people moving over the streets of Spokane listening to bands and recorded music; having their pictures taken with the vulture on Doomsday Hill; being cheered on by citizens of Spokane; and rounding the corner and down the hill to the finish line. Only finishers get the T-shirt!

As hostesses, it is our sincere hope that everyone had a positive experience riding the bus. And also that you enjoyed the Bloomsday experience, too. We heard comments like “I love this bus,” “let’s do this again next year,” and “let’s try to fill two buses next year.” I hope we fill the buses for a long time into the future.
~ Bonnie Fergerson

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