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'It just feels really good': South Hill neighborhood comes together to run unique Bloomsday course

Pam Richardson designed a course for her and her neighbors to complete the 45th running of Bloomsday together.

SPOKANE, Wash. — While thousands of runners stuck to the traditional Bloomsday course, one South Hill neighborhood created their own.

Bloomsday was forced to go virtual again in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But that didn't stop people from enjoying the beautiful Spokane day on Sunday with the people closest to them. One couple came up with a way for them and their neighbors to take part in the 45th running of Bloomsday right here on the South Hill.

"Last year it was a little disappointing because we just went out and did it by ourselves," said Pam Richardson, who lives on the South Hill. "I live in a great neighborhood, we all live in a great neighborhood, and we do a lot of things together, so I figured, most of us do Bloomsday, why don't we do it together?"

Richardson and her husband Jon organized the event. It started on Saturday night with a neighborhood spaghetti feed so people could load up on carbs. That same night, kids from the neighborhood drew a start/finish line with chalk.

On Sunday, it was time to race. The full-length 12-kilometer course took the group of about 50 runners through the South Hill, going past elementary schools, Rocket Market and through the Ben Burr Trail.

The event, which also featured a short course for the kids, was a hit with the neighborhood.

"We're so thankful to even be able to have an event like this this year. [We're] very grateful that Bloomsday is having the virtual Bloomsday, and its been a wonderful neighborhood event," said Cathy Quhn, a South Hill resident who took part. "Just a great gathering to get our neighbors together and we couldn't be more grateful."

But more than just completing the race, to the people who took part, it was about coming together as a community after a difficult year.

"It just feels so good, because we really miss being with our neighbors," Richardson said. "We really miss being with people, and we tried to make this as COVID-free as possible. Masks were required at the start line and it just feels really good, everyone feels really good."

While everyone is hopeful Bloomsday will be held in-person as normal next year, Richardson said the success of his year's event means it could easily happen again next year.