Mekonnin Returns to Spokane to Defend Bloomsday Title - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Bloomsday 2012

Mekonnin Returns to Spokane to Defend Bloomsday Title

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Misiker Mekonnin sprinted to the finish line in 2011 in what was one of the most dramatic Bloomsday finishes ever. (Photo: John Fritz) Misiker Mekonnin sprinted to the finish line in 2011 in what was one of the most dramatic Bloomsday finishes ever. (Photo: John Fritz)
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Two of the three runners who won last year's Bloomsday Run are are coming back to defend their titles.

Race organizers revealed the participants in the Elite divisions at a news conference in Spokane on Wednesday. The race gets underway Sunday morning, with live coverage available on KHQ and SWX, as well as on both stations' websites.

Misiker Mekonnin, who won last year's Bloomsday Run in the women's Elite category, is the favorite to repeat this year. The native of Ethiopia won in dramatic fashion in 2011, and has performed well in back-to-back marathons in recent weeks. She won the Hong Kong Marathon and finished second in both Honolulu and Los Angeles.

Last year's second-place finisher, Wude Ayalew, will not run Bloomsday this year.

In the men's Elite division, last years winner, Simon Ndirangu, will not be participating. That means last year's runner-up, Allan Kiprono, is the favorite to win this time around. He could be challenged by Stephen Muange (Kenya), who finished third two years ago in Spokane. He recently placed second at the Los Angeles Marathon.

And in the Wheelchair Division, five-time winner Amanda McCrory is back for another year. She won the Paris Marathon this year and finished sixth in London.