BOISE -- Every year, thousands of runners congregate in Boise on the third Saturday of April to take part in what some call the “Toughest race in the Northwest.” Some runners train to win the Race to Robie, others run it just for the satisfaction of completing the grueling half marathon. This year, one Boise man is returning to the race to find the joy he has known after a devastating event that shocked the country.
Boise State professor Ray Mullenax is no stranger to running races. A veteran of 5K's, half marathons, marathons, and even grueling ultra marathons, Mullenax has run over 150 races in his life.
So it's no surprise that the 46-year-old is a seasoned veteran of the Race to Robie.
“Robie is the magic race,” Mullenax said. “Every runner wants to run the Race to Robie.”
Mullenax has run the race 16 times, and will once again lace up his running shoes to take on the summit on Saturday.
“It's really a community event. For me, running in the Race to Robie, I'm supporting one of the best community events in Boise.”
The fact that Mullenax will take to the starting line this year in particular, may be surprising to some. Four days ago, he ran in another race, one that ended in tragedy.
“It still definitely feels pretty surreal.”
Mullenax completed the historic Boston Marathon an hour and half before the tragic explosions went off that killed three and injured more than 170 others. While he was unhurt physically by the tragedy, he says he was affected, as was everybody involved.
“It's been pretty energy zapping all week. I would say it's very sad. It's a very sad event. It's made me kind of question, definitely in a sense, humanity.”
Mullenax has since returned to Boise, and is readying himself to once again start a long race. But the short amount of time that has passed has left him with some hesitations.
“I do have a little apprehensiveness about going to the race start and being in a crowd.”
However, the tragedy at the Boston Marathon won't stop Mullenax from doing what he loves to do, at the race that he loves.
“There was little bit of, it was momentary, where I thought do I really want to go out there that day. It didn't last long. You’re going to have to fight to keep me away from the race line.”