Two brothers and 30 years of running the Race to Robie

Credit: KTVB

Jim and Ron Barker have been running the Race to Robie Creek since it started in 1975.


by Scott Evans
Idaho's NewsChannel 7


Posted on April 16, 2010 at 5:56 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 9 at 3:36 PM

BOISE -- On your mark, get ready - because the Race to Robie Creek is almost upon us.

On Saturday afternoon 2,400 runners and walkers took to the mountains to compete in what's been dubbed 'the toughest half-marathon in the Northwest.’

NewsChannel 7 talked with two men who have been running this race for over 30 years.

For Jim Barker and his twin brother Ron, running and anything outdoors is their life.

They were a part of the original Race to Robie Creek over three decades ago.

"We're 63 going on 36, that's the fantasy anyway," said Jim Barker.

The Barker brothers love to run, it's their passion.

Between the two of them, they've run over 100 marathons.  None is more special than the Race to Robie Creek.

"It was 1975, a hot August afternoon, and it was funny, I don't so much remember the rigors of the race, as I remember how dry and hot it was, because there was just a few water stations. So it was really quite a challenge that day," said Jim Barker.

Ron says the day of the first race there were only 25 or 26 people.

And as far as he knows he and his brother Jim are the only ones of that initial group that will be racing on Saturday.

Ron says he's never missed the race.

"Have you ever had any trouble getting a ticket?” asked NewsChannel 7.

“Oh yes, but there's always good people to help out," replied Ron Barker.

The race course is extremely rigorous -- eight miles up and five miles down.

"It's the supreme psychological challenge to accomplish Robie Creek, and again, it's a marvelous fellowship and the matchless setting of northern Boise and the mountains," said Jim Barker.

"There's so many ways and reasons to give up on this course, and just as many to persist. So it's like anything, the challenge, we want to live a life free of boredom," said Ron Barker.

No matter how hard the race, the Barkers always keep one thing in mind - keep running, never walk.

"The intensity of Robie Creek equates easily to a marathon or beyond because it really, it requires you to give everything you have," said Jim Barker.

Because they've run this race so much, Jim and Ron love to watch the smiles and chatter between racers at the beginning of the race.

But once the racers reach the summit, they say the smiles and chatter are gone and what's left is a lot of panting.

After the race be sure to check out KTVB.COM.  We will have lots of photo galleries, stories and video of all the competitors.