Epic elite races highlight Bloomsday 2017 - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Epic elite races highlight Bloomsday 2017

Elite winners Buze Diriba and Gabriel Geay. Elite winners Buze Diriba and Gabriel Geay.
Wheelchair winners Josh George and Susannah Scaroni. Wheelchair winners Josh George and Susannah Scaroni.

Before the masses took to the course, the elite races started the 41st Bloomsday with a bang.

A first-time runner stunned the men's field, as 21 year-old Gabriel Geay of Tanzania bested Philemon Cheboit with a finishing kick on Monroe Street and in a time of 34:31.  Geay had just finished running the 5,000 meters at Stanford on Friday when he was added to the Bloomsday field on so he could get a road race under his belt while on the west coast.  The trip to Spokane proved to be worthwhile, as Geay pocketed a first-place prize of $7,000.

In the women's race, 23-year-old Buze Diriba of Ethiopia pulled ahead of 2012 winner Mamitu Daska in the final seconds to win at her first Bloomsday with a finishing time of 40:19. In a bit of a rarity, a pack of 8-10 women were neck and neck as they reached Doomsday Hill, before a select few stretched ahead.

The elite wheelchair race proved to be one of the most dramatic in Bloomsday history. While cruising down Riverside at speeds upwards of 40mp, defending champion James Senbeta lost control and crashed into a spectator. He was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

In his return to Bloomsday after a year off, two-time champion Josh George ('14 and '15) and up and coming 18-year-old Daniel Romanchuk were in a neck and neck battle the rest of the way. After alternating the lead throughout the race, a sprint to the finish on Monroe saw the 33-year-old George reclaim his Bloomsday crown, besting Romanchuk by less than a second at 24:09.

In the women's wheelchair race, it was once again the local favorite Susannah Scaroni who crossed first. The 25-year-old Tekoa native won her 4th Bloomsday.

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