The Boston Marathon, the ING New York City Marathon, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon; these are some of the most prestigious and historic races in existence.
But for one of the most unique and challenging races in the world, one does not even have to venture outside of Boise.
At 13.1 miles on one of the most difficult courses imaginable, it’s not surprising that the Race to Robie Creek on April 20 draws runners from around the world.
Beginning in 1975 with the inaugural running, the Race to Robie Creek has been a staple event in Boise for decades as it will host its 36th
Boisean Jon Robertson began it all in 1975, when he and 24 other runners set out on the 13 mile trek through severe elevation changes in what was originally called, “The Idaho Summer Road Racing Championships.”
The course sets this race apart from many other races across the country.
A 2,000 foot elevation climb over the first 8.5 miles, followed by a 1,700 foot elevation decline the final 4.6 miles, Robie Creek requires endurance and determination.
If anyone knows all about the Robie Creek, its race committee member, Brian Rencher. Rencher, who has run the race 27 times himself, is excited about the turnout this year.
“We are expecting 2,436 competitors,” Rencher said. “We set a cap and that’s where our cap is. We might be slightly above. We won’t be below. We change that number each year. Last year it was 2,435.”
One of the most unique parts of Robie Creek is the opening ceremony and closing parties.
“We do some theatrics at the start and the finish that other races don’t have.” Rencher said. “We have a band and festival at the start. We don’t just count down runners on your marks, 3, 2, 1 and shoot a gun.”
Each year, Robie Creek has a themed start. In 1980, when Devo’s song “Whip It” was topping the charts, Robie Creek began the race with the start cracking a whip. But what happens at the start remains a secret to everyone, outside a select group of about eight people.
“We just have a great time, we have fun with it. Our goal is to put on the best race we can for the participants,” Rencher said.
Boise State student Kody Olinger is running in his first Robie Creek competition. And while his racing background isn’t extensive, he’s prepared for the challenge.
“I think that in order to be successful at a race like this one, you need to have an awareness of your capabilities and also have a never say never type mentality,” Olinger said.
The Race to Robie Creek will be held on April 20 this year with over 2,000 runners in the field, each with a different reason for competing.
“Ultimately being my first Robie run, I’d love to run the whole race without stopping, finish in the top 10 for my age group and hopefully not puke,” Olinger said.
Rencher is just hoping everyone enjoys themselves in what is sure to be another successful Robie Creek event.