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EWU teams dominate Corporate Cup at Bloomsday

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EWU teams dominate Corporate Cup at Bloomsday

Bloomsday participant Lois Musser taking off from the starting line for the 12K race. This was Spokane's 43rd annual Bloomsday run.

Bloomsday participant Lois Musser taking off from the starting line for the 12K race. This was Spokane's 43rd annual Bloomsday run.

Mckenzie Ford

Bloomsday participant Lois Musser taking off from the starting line for the 12K race. This was Spokane's 43rd annual Bloomsday run.

Mckenzie Ford

Mckenzie Ford

Bloomsday participant Lois Musser taking off from the starting line for the 12K race. This was Spokane's 43rd annual Bloomsday run.

By Amanda Haworth, Chief Copy Editor

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Bloomsday is a staple of Spokane. It has been an ongoing tradition for 43 years. This year, EWU’s red team (top men’s team) won its 23rd consecutive Corporate Cup title. The top EWU women’s team came in second overall, placing higher than any women’s Corporate Cup team in Bloomsday history.

The Corporate Cup is a competition between businesses and organizations with over 325 teams. The cup started back in the 1980s and is organized by divisions.

“The Corporate Cup is a team competition and each team has five members from organizations … Eastern has eight or nine teams,” history professor John Collins said.

The divisions of the Corporate Cup are based on gender and age. Collins has been participating in the Corporate Cup for the last three years.

“A couple of colleagues three years ago—because I was interested in running—were like ‘you should do Corporate Cup for Eastern,’” Collins said. “So I ran it in 2017 and I got a good enough time where the next year they invited me to be on the red team. So 2018 was my first year on the red team.”

Collins described the atmosphere of Bloomsday as great.

“It was 60 degrees and sunny. Perfect conditions,” Collins said. “There were bands playing along the course and you get sprayed with water and yeah just everything felt great! I got a personal best—44 minutes—so it was a great day.”

Mckenzie Ford
Clothes thrown into the trees at the beginning of the course. All of the clothes are collected and donated to local charities.

EWU IT Support Carl Combs has been affiliated with the university since 1983. He runs competitively.

According to Collins, Combs is one of the fastest 50-year-olds in the country. He made his debut on the red team in 1997.  

“Then there is the overall,” Combs said. “That’s where Eastern comes in with not only an overall win since ‘97, so that’s 23 years in a row, but also the ladies have won the women’s division multiple years and this year they have set that mark at the highest finish ever for a women’s team. Ever. That is huge. Second overall right behind us only by four points. Four points from a perfect score.”

A perfect score in the Corporate Cup is 3,000 points and they scored 2,996. President Mary Cullinan got a perfect score scoring 1,000 points, according to Combs.

“The Corporate Cup is designed to have any kind of corporation or any kind of enterprise get involved in Bloomsday,” professor of English and humanities coordinator at EWU Dr. Grant Smith said. “To get involved in the festive spirit of the community. It’s a celebration of wellness. Of course, we have some elite runners come in. But the Corporate Cup is a way to get corporations or any employer to encourage their employees to stay fit, to be a part of this celebration of wellness as I often refer to it.”

According to Smith, over half the participants are actually walkers.

“To encourage employees to participate there is this Corporate Cup division,” Smith said. “Any corporation can have a team … The competition is with age and gender categories. Each team member is scored as to how well he or she does in that category.”

I think it goes along with the general purpose of Bloomsday as a celebration of wellness and as a way of encouraging wellness among our employees”

— Dr. Grant Smith, professor of English and humanities coordinator

The Corporate Cup has been part of Bloomsday since the 1980s.

“(The idea for the Corporate Cup) got started in 1982 when the Washington Water Power contributed a trophy and they had their teams organized and they won the first Corporate Cup division,” Smith said. “I and a few other guys from Eastern were standing around watching this award ceremony and we knew that we had individually beaten the runners who were the winners of the first Corporate Cup … Nobody had even heard of the Corporate Cup.”

EWU has kept its success going despite some tough competition over the years.

“Eastern Washington University has been preeminently successful,” Smith said. “Corporations from virtually all over the country have come in and competed. It has drawn interest from outside of Spokane. Boeing has sent teams over, the University of Washington. WSU used to be a key competitor in the Corporate Cup division. Eastern has been notably successful.”

Smith emphasized the element of community the Corporate Cup and EWU demonstrate.

“I think it goes along with the general purpose of Bloomsday as a celebration of wellness and as a way of encouraging wellness among our employees,” Smith said. “And participation with the community, identify with the community, just be a part of that … It’s wonderful that our university is supportive of this. They see it as a good thing. Both in terms of identifying with the community at large and the community that we serve and be supportive of the community.”


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About the Writer
Amanda Haworth, Chief Copy Editor

Amanda Haworth is The Easterner’s Chief Copy Editor. Haworth, a senior studying English Literature, grew up in western Washington and is in her second...

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EWU teams dominate Corporate Cup at Bloomsday