BOISE-- Two months ago, thousands of people signed up for the Race to Robie Creek, a race knicknamed by organizers as the "toughest race in the Northwest."
But just how does Boise's best-known race stack up to the competition. Cori Mooney, a 38-year-old runner that has won the women's division in 6-of-7 tries, likely knows a thing or two about just how tough it really is.
"For all the half marathons that I have done, Robie Creek is the toughest," Mooney said.
But what is it about the race that makes Mooney compare it to marathons, or competitions double the 13.1 mile length of Robie?
"That feeling of being uncomfortable for a long time. With Robie Creek having the hill aspect of it, and climbing the hill for eight and a half miles, it's just a burn that you don't normally feel when you're running," she says.
Many racers may say that the entire race is challenging. But certain parts of the race stand out more, even to a six-time women's winner like Mooney. The well-known cattle guard, at around the six mile mark, for instance.
"You get a couple of breaks up to the top, but for the most part, it's pretty steep to get to the top of the mountain now," Mooney said when she scouted the course three days before thee race.
Mooney also points out the last half mile uphill push, when all but the strongest runners are forced to become hikers.
"This section is really, really steep. I think mainly what I focus on here is just putting one foot in front of the other."
Finally, the last challenge. After over eight miles of uphill torture, the top of the hill is at foot, a cause for relief, and excitement.
"I love this part because I just feel like, I feel like the finish line is calling my name down there, when I get to the top. And I run as fast as I can to get to it."
But, just because the hill part of the race has been conquered, racers still face five miles of downhill running to the finish line, adding even more to the challenge, and perhaps backing up the unofficial name of the race.
"It's definitely one of the toughest races, not just in the Northwest," Mooney recalls.