6-Time wheelchair winner Mendoza vs. Van Dyk; junior division added to wheeler competition

Apr 27, 2004

Spokane, WA—Mexican Saul Mendoza, 6-time Bloomsday winner and course record holder here (25:24), will have his hands full as he goes up against Ernst Van Dyk from South Africa in the men’s wheelchair division of the Lilac Bloomsday Run. Recently Van Dyk set both course and world records at the Boston Marathon, posting a winning time of 1:18:27. In addition, Kelly Smith (Canada), Krige Schabort (South Africa), and Paul Nunnari (Australia) have strong odds for top spots, as does Spokane native Tyler Byers.

In the women’s division, 3-time Bloomsday champion Ariadne Hernandez is the clear favorite. And in the masters division, Canadian Steve Ellefson, Bloomsday runnerup for the past three years, will have to beat Jorge Luna of Mexico to finally claim a Bloomsday title.

In the T-1 Quad Divisions, a field of four—the largest T-1 field in Bloomsday history—will vie for $1,500 in divisional prize money, part of the nearly $17,000 purse paid out in the various wheelchair divisions. And in the T-2 division, Santiago Sanz of Spain will battle 9-time Bloomsday champion and course record holder Clayton Gerein of Canada.

Recognizing that an increasing number of young wheelchair runners are competing in Bloomsday, the event this year has added junior divisions—male and female—to recognize top competitors between 13 and 18 years old. In other wheelchair news, Bloomsday welcomes a team of six Mexican road racers who will use Bloomsday as a development race for this summer’s Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece.

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