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One In a Million 

by Leah Sottile

Many a New Year's resolution invokes the name Bloomsday. Runners train for months before the annual 12k race, and athletes from all over the world travel to Spokane to compete.

And after 25 years, Spokane's Lilac Bloomsday Run will honor its millionth finisher. The best part is, number 1,000,000 could be anyone from a Kenyan speedster to a newborn baby in a stroller.

"Why not do something special for the person that crosses the finish line as number 1,000,000?" says Karen Heaps, race director for Bloomsday. "The whole committee thought that would be pretty awesome."

So the planning committee deemed this year's race "The Year of the Millionth Finisher." It will be the first race in the country to recognize its millionth runner.

Race volunteers will determine the lucky finisher by the order in which each runner's individual tag is placed on a spindle at the finish line. The spindles are then kept in a numbered sequence, and the final results are tabulated by a computer. The millionth runner will be determined and announced shortly after the race -- and after all disqualified runners are taken out, like those people who start in the wrong color group or jump in along the course.

The millionth finisher will be the celebrity starter for Bloomsday 2003, and will also receive the official 2002 start flag. They will also be given free entry into Bloomsday for life and a number of donated gifts from the race's sponsors.

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