Each year during the first Sunday in May, tens of thousands of people from around the world, such as from Kenya, gather in downtown Spokane to participate in Bloomsday, a 7.46 mile race around the city.
Bloomsday, which will take place on May 4 at 9 a.m., is not your average race. According to the Bloomsday website, it is “open to all runners, walkers, wheelchairs, assisted wheelchairs and strollers.”
To help prepare students for Bloomsday and other runs, Eastern offers a class during spring quarter titled “Bloomsday Conditioning.” The class meets Monday, Wednesday and Friday at Roos Field, where course instructor Paul Limpf gives his students a pep talk and an assignment for the day.
“It’s a course designed to prepare people for Bloomsday, but my objective is to get people to enjoy running,” Limpf said. “If I can get people to like it or motivated to do Bloomsday, or a half marathon, then cool, my objective has been complete.”
Kelsy Nolan, an EWU senior has never run Bloomsday, but is excited to try it out after taking the class.
“I’ve learned new terms like strides and that hills are the key to speed.” Nolan said. “I am most looking forward to running [Bloomsday] with such a large group of people for inspiration.”
Limpf prepares the class for the 7-mile race by teaching them about strides and encouraging them to run a fartlek.
A fartlek, according to Limpf, is the Swedish word for ‘speed play.’ There are several different types of fartlek, but Cornell and the other students were encouraged to work hard for five minutes then take it easy for five minutes, go hard for four minutes then go easy for four minutes and so on.
Freshman Kayelah Nazario said she took the course because she loves to run and stay motivated.
“I’ve learned more about my endurance and how to make my speed increase and different workouts to build that up,” said Nazario.
During the first week of class, Limpf asks students to write down their goal for this quarter, their strengths in running and their weaknesses in running.
“Strengths are easy to build on because you know them and you can work with it. Weaknesses, I think for the most people is finding one thing you neglect. So I say, ‘How can we fix that?’, ‘What are you going to do to get to that point’ and ‘I can offer my advice to help to get you to that point.’”
Limpf encourages everybody to try Bloomsday, whether it is running or walking.
“Bloomsday is just a lot of fun. You have people lined up the entire course, there are bands like every half mile and there’s people barbecuing on their lawns.” Limpf said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re at the front end of the pack or in the last 100, you still get people to cheer for you and you still get a cool T-shirt at the end.”
Nazario reassures that the class has been worthwhile.
“People should take this class because you get to know people who love doing what you’re doing, and it’s a great way to stay in shape and get a quick tan on,” Nazario said.