2024 Flying Irish Board Elections

The Flying Irish Board Election will take place at the end of year party on the 28th of December.

Volunteer Coordinator:

Rita Davis:

Hello fellow Flying Irish! My name is Rita Davis, I have had the pleasure of serving as your volunteer coordinator for the last 2 years, I would enjoy continuing to serve in this role for another term. I have enjoyed putting together groups of Flying Irish to represent our unique brand of spirit at local races. I enjoy getting out there and through our volunteer work introducing our club to the Spokane running community. As we go into next year I would like to entertain other area’s where we might show up to support Spokane even outside of running events. And regardless of who you choose to be your volunteer coordinator I think it would be great to get member input on how you would like to see Flying Irish volunteering going forward.

Dianne Mahaffy:

Dear Flying Irish runners, I am excited to run for the position of Volunteer Coordinator, drawing on my 13-year journey with this exceptional club. My profound connection to the Flying Irish has fueled my desire to play a more active role. If chosen, my mission is clear: inspire and engage more members to contribute their time and talents, amplifying the impact of our community. In this role, I aim to organize volunteer opportunities that cater to every member’s skill and interest, fostering a sense of unity and shared purpose. Our club thrives not only on miles but also on the collective efforts that make our events memorable. I want every member to experience the fulfillment that comes from contributing to the Flying Irish spirit. Together, let’s elevate our club’s community engagement. With your support, I am committed to making every volunteering experience rewarding and unifying. I envision a future where our collective efforts not only strengthen our community but also help our club grow. Join me in creating a path where every member finds joy and purpose in giving back. Thank you for considering me as your next Volunteer Coordinator.



Hilary Erickson

Hey fellow runners! I’m stoked to continue my journey with the run club as your Secretary. Having previously served on a board, I’ve fine-tuned my organizational skills, ensuring that no brilliant idea or important decision slips through the cracks. I take pride in capturing the essence of our discussions and motions during meetings, turning them into concise meeting minutes that hit the board members’ inboxes shortly after we wrap up. It’s all about keeping our club shipshape and everyone on the same page. Efficiency is my middle name, and I’m committed to bringing that same energy to our club’s administrative side. Let’s keep those runs smooth, and the paperwork even smoother! Can’t wait to contribute to another fantastic chapter in our running adventures.

Brendan Dowling

Make running fun! One simple idea that led to an amazing running club. Years ago, I endeavored to build the Flying Irish to be a place where running was fun, members and their accomplishments big and small were celebrated, we took over the streets with every run, and you felt a part of something special. I remember when WE were the largest running club in the world, people visited Spokane just to do one run with the Flying Irish and the Flying Irish was featured in Runner’s World several times. Let’s get back to that! Let’s get back to where every run was an event. Where you met the most amazing people that turned into life-long friends. Where you felt you were a part of something special. I’ve lived and breathed the Flying Irish since moving to Spokane so many years ago, and have the best memories and friends as a result of it. I want to share my experience with you all. That is why I have accepted the nomination for the Flying Irish Board. The ingredients are there. Let’s make it happen! But as always… WE RUN SPOKANE!


Membership Director:

Ace Starno

I first ran with the Flying Irish in 2012 and have this club to thank for the resources, friendships, and support I needed to adopt a more active and healthy lifestyle culminating in completion of the 2014 CDA IronMan. Today however, my knees hurt, my ankles hurt, my joints hurt, and being that I am temporarily unable to run, I found myself looking for another way to participate each week, see my friends, and support this club that has given me so much. One evening Rabbitt, brought to my attention the technology and workflow used to sign in members each week, track their runs, and generally manage this important piece of the club. I joined the board as interim Membership Director and am running today with a focus on bringing my 15 years of experience in tech to modernize these processes and improve this experience for all of us. Quicker sign-ins, more visible milestones, and better data will help the members and the board understand where we are as a club and where we can improve. Since joining the board I was able to apply for and receive funding from my employer BECU, to help support the club and so far have raised $2600. This funding is annual as long as I remain on the board and that funding along with my tech background and ability to solve some of membership’s toughest issues are why I believe I am the best fit for this position and I hope to continue to serve the club in this capacity.

2023 Flying Irish Board

Grand Poobah / Membership Director – Lou Karl

Background: I started running in college as a way to quit smoking. I like to say that the stronger addiction won, although there were several years of fits and starts along the way. As the years went by I got to meet many amazing people through the vagabond lifestyle of running and racing. These days, I am content with just trying to stay up with my fellow Irish on Thursday evenings and competing for the old guy awards at a few local races.

Year Joined the Flying Irish: 2018. I actually started running with the Flying Irish when I moved here late in 2017, but the season was already over so those runs were unofficial

Favorite Flying Irish Route:  Any run that runs alongside of or crosses the awesome Spokane River in all its fury.

Running Shoes: I was a big advocate of Asics Gel Lytes and DS Trainers for years. Now with the need for more cushioning and stability I have gone to the Brooks Ravennas.

Running Highlights:  Completing my first marathon back in, wait for it, 1980. Running my first sub-3 hour marathon in Chicago, completing a marathon in all 50 states with the Maui Marathon back in 2008, and running the Windermere Marathon on a whim a few years ago which just happened to be my first visit to the amazing City of Spokane.

Favorite Running Race:  Boston Marathon. There are many great races, but there is nothing quite like the history, enthusiasm and honor of running the grand-daddy of them all.


Sponsor Liaison – Jim Palm

Background:  I moved to Spokane in 2012 and did not know a single person.  By pure serendipity, I heard about this running club – The Flying Irish, and decided to check it out.  Clearly, one of the best decisions I have ever made.  The amazing friendships and memories that have been formed will last forever.

Year Joined the Flying Irish:  2013

Favorite Flying Irish Route:  The 7-bridges route as it highlights the most iconic symbol of this great city, the Spokane River.

Running Shoes: Asics GT-2000

Running Highlights:  I am a native of Minnesota where winters can be brutally chilly.  I used to love those cold weather below zero runs where icicles form on your face and your eyelids freeze shut.  So much fun!

Favorite Running Race:  I absolutely love the Spokane to Sandpoi nt200 mile Relay Race – such great commaraderie with our team ‘Geezers and Dolls’.  But I think the race that is the most special is our annual Flying Irish Halloween Romp thru the streets of Spokane.  Hundresds of costumed crzaies taking over the city and then dancing the night away to the sounds of DJ Marathon.  Priceless!

Membership Director – Ace Starno

Background: Became a runner chasing a girl and then joined the Irish and learned to run to drink

Year Joined the Flying Irish: 2012

Favorite Flying Irish Route: The Hill Run

Running Shoes: Hola Cliftons

Running Highlights: I once ran a half marathon a day for 31 days straight, then ran a 52 mile run.

Favorite Running Race: Beat the Blerch. Cake, couches, and Bad habit fairies, what’s not to like.

Secretary – Hilary Curtis

Background: About 7 years ago, I got a small, cute puppy that had way too much energy. I quickly learned that running was the way to calm her down and run out the zoomies. We have been running as a pair ever since.

Year Joined the Flying Irish: I moved to Spokane on a Saturday in March 2022 and I joined the Flying Irish that Thursday. The Spokane running community was so welcoming and friendly. I look forward to Thursdays every week.

Favorite Flying Irish Route: River Run

Running Shoes: Well this is a long story, but it used to be Nike Pegasus and now due to the long story, ok well not long at all, Nike changed the shape of the shoe, I wear Mizuno Wave Riders.

Running Highlights: Running is a social activity for me. I love talking and running and helping others achieve their running goals. I paced 5 half marathons. From June 2020 to March 2022, I created my own routes and ran a half marathon a month with a few running friends, because running with friends is always better.

Favorite Running Race: Any race that I can run with friends and celebrate with brunh after. Did I mention I mostly talk about food when I’m running?

Treasurer – Dawn Vidoni

Background: I ran my first mile in college, and my first marathon 15 years later. I love the people I meet and the places I get to see. All you need are shoes – no equipment to break down or maintain, no special trails you have to go on, rain or snow, it’s a year long way to get some exercise and be outside.

Year Joined: I probably did my First Flying Irish run in 2010, but it wasn’t until after the pandemic that it became a regular part of my routine.

Favorite Route = River run for the scenery and Stairmaster for the challenge

Running Highlights: Finishing the Windermere marathon 1.5 years after I had a huge accident, broke several bones in my leg and almost died.

Favorite Running Race – Race2Adventure! It’s a trail running group made up of runners from all over the country. We travel to foreign lands, run in out of the way places, experience new cultures and see amazing places; check it out! Locally, Bloomsday – it’s crowded and crazy and was one of the first things I did when I moved here from Phoenix.

Director of Merchandise – Bret Whitesides

Background: Fire fighter, Medic, ER Nurse (basic adrenaline junkie)… BA from Boise State University.  Currently working in HR/ Payroll support for Hospitals.

Year Joined the Flying Irish: Circa mid 2006

Favorite Flying Irish Route: I always enjoy the 7 Bridges route… running around Riverfront.  There are more than 7 bridges on that route by the way…

Highlights:  Several Marathons, MANY half marathons, Spokane to Sandpoint x5, countless 5 and 10 K’s

Favorite race: Spokane to Sandpoint!  Party on wheels!!

Director of Communications – Tony Proctor

Background: High school middle of the pack runner, and amateur status through my 20s and 30s. Now that I’m elbow deep in middle age, I intend to lean heavily on Thursday evening Flying Irish runs to lead me to gold in the next summer olympics.

Year Joined the Flying Irish: July 8th 2021, the first day of in-person running after the great COVID scare of the 21st century. 

Favorite Flying Irish Route: H.I.M. (Howard Indiana Monroe), mostly because it joined the Flying Irish after me. 

Running Shoes: Anything Altra

Running Highlights: If it’s a Spokane group run, it’s a great run. 

Favorite Running Race: Whatever I’m training for next, be it Spokane to Sandpoint, the Sundae Sunday, the Spokane Marathon, or Bloomsday, the races keep me motivated to continue to train and run. 


Director of IT – Rabbitt Starno

Background: Became a runner back in high school, gained a lifelong love of the sport, and lost about 100 pounds.

Year Joined the Flying Irish: 2007?

Favorite Flying Irish Route: Stair Master. Gotta get those buns, hun!

Running Shoes: Saloman Speedcross trail runners

Running Highlights: Party weekends at the BBFR

Favorite Running Race: Spokane to Sandpoint. Who doesn’t love 2 days in a van with stinky runners?