2024 Flying Irish Board

Grand Poobah – Brendan Dowling

Background: Originally from Wisconsin, I moved to Spokane in 2006 for my job. I didn’t know about the Flying Irish during its first year but I randomly read about it just before the 2007 season kicked-off. Needless to say, I quickly became enthralled with the Flying Irish and have been to almost every run since that very first one way back when! 

Year Joined the Flying Irish: 2007. Runner #293!

Favorite Flying Irish Route:  Stair Master. Created as an April Fools joke to watch the Marmot breeding but its probably the most scenic and fun routes!

Running Shoes: Nike and only Nike.

Running Highlights: I did my first “run” as a more or less as a joke in 3rd grade when we had the mile. I ran it in a pair of sweet 80s hightops but alas I ended up running it 6:11. My mom found out about this and she promptly took me to buy my first pair of running shoes… Nike Pegasus. I continued to run with her while she trained for various races and even did the second-half of marathons with her when I was 9. Needless to say I was hooked at early age!

Favorite Running Race: The one that hasn’t been done yet.


Secretary – Natalie Sorger

Background: I am a Spokane native. I grew up on a farm on Green Bluff. I started running in Middle school, track and cross country. A friend invited me to run with Flying Irish at the season opening run March 2017. I was hooked, I never had so much fun running before.

Year Joined the Flying Irish: 2017

Favorite Flying Irish Route:  River Run

Favorite Running Race: Cherry Pickers Trot


Sponsor Liaison – Maja DeWolf


Background: I’m from Spokane and have much love and appreciation for this beautiful part of the world. Spokane is a wonderful place to be a runner.

Year joined the Flying Irish: 2014. A co-worker told me about this weekly running club and invited me to join her one Thursday. I hardly talked to anyone for the first two years and was terrified to tell my milestone jokes. A decade later, I have made some of my best friends through Flying Irish and can no longer be mistaken for a wallflower.

Favorite Flying Irish Route: The Hill. It signals the start of Bloomsday weekend and has the best views!

Running Shoes: I always come back to Brooks Glycerin. I also love Hoka Speedgoats for trail running.

Running Highlights: I was a competitive swimmer growing up and didn’t truly start running until grad school in my 20’s. I had to start with a “Couch to 5k” plan and slowly built up my mileage and speed. I never imagined I would eventually be running marathons or that running would become such an important, happy part of my life.

Favorite Running Race: Bloomsday. Yes, it’s crazy and crowded. It’s just so special and so uniquely Spokane. I love all the hype and the after-parties


Treasurer – Dianne Mahaffy

Background: I am originally from Long Island NY. I have lived in many states and a few countries  as a military spouse. We moved to Spokane from Japan in 2005. 

I started running in 2003 with my husband while he was training for his PT test. I have run ever since.   My oldest daughter was the one who introduced me to the Flying Irish back in 2010. We would meet every week and run together. It has always been fun running with FI. 
Year joined: 2010
Favorite Flying Irish run: These are my favorites. It was hard to pick just one  The Hill run, and the  Stairmaster
Favorite Shoes: Brooks all the way..
Favorite Running Race: The Rock and Roll Half Marathon  in Nashville.


Membership Director – Michele Smith

Background: My family is from New York, where I was born and spent my youngest years. We moved to Cali where I grew up and started a family. Most of our family moved to Spokane when my sister’s family returned to the states and retired here. I have lived in Spokane for almost 20 years. I love the outdoors and the River…I also love the coast and would spend more time there if I could. In 2013 I faced an illness that almost killed me. So, I decided to change my life, which included reducing from over 500 pounds to what I am today.  My first year with the club was difficult but Brendan was always there with encouragement. But I would never have continued without the unwavering support of my sister Dianne and nephew Nathan.  All of the Irish were and are supportive, which is why I love the club so much. Wherever you are in your journey there is a runner or walker who will be there to encourage you-it’s what makes the club great.

Year Joined the Flying Irish:  2014 so this is my tenth year.

Favorite Flying Irish Route:  I love the 7 Bridges Run, even when I take a wrong turn and increase the length.

Favorite Local Race/Run:   I love Bloomsday and Cherry Pickers Trot.

Running Shoes: I’m a New Balance Kinda Gal. 


Merchandise Director – Nicole Coburn