Bloomsday is an institution in Spokane, starting in downtown and traversing 12 km along the Spokane River and back with the epic Doomsday Hill in between. Around 40,000 people run the race each year; some serious athletes, intent on their time, others out for fun, dressed in tutus, devil's horns, and rainbow clown wings. Children all the way up to the elderly run and when the race is over, the city is full of Bloomies, wearing their newly won t-shirts with pride.
Parking on the outskirts of downtown, I walked to the start point, following the streams of people. Excitement building, music blaring, the smell of fried food (a reward at the end!) in the air! There are enough people participating in the race that starts are broken up into different color groups along Riverside Ave. I parked myself against a street light along the side walk and began sketching the crowd waiting behind the fences for their race to start.
I got the pen drawing in before the groups started moving, but I had to work on adding color as the waves of people broke over my little spot. I was grateful for my light post, otherwise I might have been carried along!
As people walked by, I was amazed to see them throwing jackets and sweaters into the trees. Soon many of the trees along Riverside looked like some odd Tibetan prayer flag monument or like a laundry line gone horribly wrong. It was very colorful! Clothing that is left behind by runners gets donated to charity, so I suppose even if you can't find your jacket, something good comes of it!
Next I drove over to the north side of the River to sketch the runners who had just made it up Doomsday Hill. Some people were still running, but lots of people were walking, or determinedly trudging forward. I practiced gestural sketching, starting off with a head and the assembling a figure from people as they go by. People were running too fast to complete a full drawing from one model so I would weld the arms from one person to the head and shoulders of another and then catch the running legs from third. Frankensteining people together I managed to fill quite a few pages. It was fascinating to see how much unique variation there is in running form-flapping hands, a dragging leg, one should lower than the other...Endlessly fascinating!
At the end of the day, I felt accomplished and I didn't even have run 12 km! I definitely feel like I won in this contest.