CLARKSON, Wash. — In 2017, Bloomsday runner Steve Lee had major surgery for a hole in his heart.
Less than a year later in 2018, he still walked all 7.5 miles of Bloomsday in a little over two hours. Last year, he built up the endurance to jog it to make it 40 straight years.
“I was always confident that I would get better when I was healing from my heart surgery," he said.
Even after having heart surgery for a possible deadly situation, Lee always believed he would keep his Bloomsday streak alive in 2018. He did.
Fast forward two years, the coronavirus has turned this event virtual. But there was no chance he was sitting out, the streak must live.
“This will be number 41 and hopefully next year things go back to normal,” Lee said.
However, this year he will have different scenery from the Bloomsday course he has run every year since 1980. Lee will race at a place near and dear to his heart, the Greenbelt in Clarkston.
He's been a resident there now for 20 years now and goes there to run often.
“It’s a very nice place to run," Lee said. "It’s kind of flat so I’ll be missing the hills of Bloomsday.”
Although, skipping Doomsday Hill for a year seemed alright by Lee. What he will miss is the atmosphere of Bloomsday. He'll miss the carbo-loading, seeing all the runners and the friends he's made over the years.
“I’ve gotten together with a lot of friends over the years that we gather in Spokane for the weekend and have a great time," Lee said.
These past three years of Bloomsday have all been really different from what for Lee did for so many years prior. That being said, he is staying positive. You simply can’t dampen this man’s spirit.
“I’m very excited," he said. "It’s tradition and it’s great motivation when it’s something you want to get accomplished.”
Lee plans to do his run on Friday to keep that 41-year streak going.