Bloomsday entrants race despite events in Boston


Photo by: Dylan Paulus (Left to Right) Carl Combs, Dave Millet, Jeff Rahn, Jeff Corkill, and Grant Smith prepare for their running club for the 2013 Bloomsday event.

Photo by: Dylan Paulus
(Left to Right) Carl Combs, Dave Millet, Jeff Rahn, Jeff Corkill, and Grant Smith prepare for their running club for the 2013 Bloomsday event.

By Jake Kershinar

staff writer

[email protected]

With Bloomsday right around the corner, many runners in the greater Spokane area are preparing to trek the annual 7 1/2 mile run on May 5.

Because of the events that occurred in Boston this past month, there has been talk of people possibly dropping out of Bloomsday have been circulating around campus these last couple of weeks.

For many faculty members, however, they remain as dedicated as ever to running in Bloomsday despite the attacks in Boston.

Carl Combs, a student technology manager at EWU, is among those who are not backing down and is more inspired to run now than he was before the Boston incident.

“Overall, the whole running community has this, ‘You messed with the wrong people,’ kind of mentality,” said Combs. “Runners are just a different breed.”

Combs said it was easy to decide whether to run or not because the drive for dedicated runners simply does not go away.

“We just get into running and get fired up,” said Combs. “People just want to compete and not be scared.”

Combs also jumped at the first opportunity to show his support for Boston runners by participating in a “Run for Boston” event in Spokane’s Riverfront Park this past week and will also run in Cheney High School’s “We Run for Boston” event on May 19.

Dean Kiefer, associate professor of finance, said that he too would be participating in a charity event with his triathlon club this summer in addition to running Bloomsday, but is not without caution.

“The events in Boston concern me a little,” Kiefer said. “I will pay more attention to what goes on around me in the crowd.”

“The Boston bombing is definitely a reminder that you never know when an attack can happen,” said Head Equipment Manager of Athletics Augustine Hernandez.

While Combs admitted there would be people who would probably rethink running in Bloomsday, he said it ultimately came down to being inspired and representing the people of Boston.

“Boston [Marathon] runners are serious,” Combs said. “The only thing I was concerned about was the possibility of Bloomsday being shut down. If events were cancelled, then the attackers [in Boston] would be victorious. But I do think it would be a good idea to have more security at Bloomsday and create more awareness.”

James Fitzgerald, academic coordinator at Eastern, said he felt more motivated to run because of a friend who ran in the Boston Marathon.

“Every person handles these situations differently,” Fitzgerald said. “For me, I choose to be resilient. Our society has a great sense of bouncing back from these situations. But, because of the Boston bombing, I will be more aware of my surroundings.”

Kiefer explained that he believes a majority of runners are not going to back down to fear caused by the bombings but that everyone will probably handle the situation differently.

“[People] would be allowing the terrorist some control over their lives which gives them exactly what they want. Surrender [to fear] would mean avoiding these events over a long period of time and I don’t think most people would do that.”

“I have [run] Bloomsday since 1983,” said Susan Megaard, professor of accounting. “Although the thought has occurred that something like the bombing could happen, I still enjoy the race and seeing people.”

Megaard also said that security should be tight.

“Running is such a great way to push yourself beyond your limits just like those marathoners were doing in Boston,” said Hernandez. “I’ll be pushing myself to run my best Bloomsday time in honor of [the Boston runners].”

Bloomsday officials have also decided to show support for Boston by handing out 50,000 bracelets that will be given to participants with the words “Bloomsday stands with Boston.”