BOISE -- Ron Barker will lace up his running shoes on Saturday and do something he's done without fail for the past 37 years. He'll take his spot on the start line for the annual Race to Robie Creek.
The say distance running isn't a team sport, but for 67-year-old Barker and his twin brother Jim, the majority of these races have been spent side-by-side.
As far as anybody can tell, Ron and Jim have run the grueling half marathon together more than 20 times. That includes the very first Race to Robie Creek in 1975, where the brothers finished 4th and 5th.
Both were 27 or 28-years-old -- they don't remember exactly. What they do remember, is meeting Boise's Joel Weinberg, who's only missed three of the races.
That's where first ran into you, Ron jokes while the trio sits at the table in his Boise Bench home. It's the day before the 37th running of Robie Creek, and they're reminiscing. You were wearing a green T-shirt about 30 years ago. It looked like it had seen some wear, he laughs.
Combined, these superathletes have run over a thousand miles up Aldape Summit and down the other side. They're preparing to add another 39 miles to that tally on Saturday.
Along the way, Ron has finished second overall three times, and placed with top 7 nine times. He's also won the Idaho State Marathon in 1983, and took first in the Hidden Springs Duathlon last year.
Jim has finished the Race to Robie Creek in the top 20 twice, and has won awards for his age group. He's also won marathons in five states, competed in the full Ironman twice, and won the 1977 Pacific 50 miler ultra marathon.
Joel has been a lifelong road cyclist and backcountry skier who rarely misses a beat. He remembers running the 13 miles up 8th Street and across Aldape Summit long before there was an organized race.
I used to go after work every Friday, and run to Highway 21 and hitch-hike back, he explains.
'ACCIDENTS ARE PART OF LIFE'
However, for this trio of aging athletes, getting older while continuing to race was never meant to be easy.
Ron Barker was run over by an SUV while biking down Boise's Capitol Boulevard two years ago. Witnesses to the crash thought he was dead. He says it took him more than a year to heal from his injuries.
When you're actively engaged, accidents are a part of life, Ron says.
Similarly, Joel Weinberg broke his ribs and pelvis in a serious bike accident in California last year. It's taken him months to regain his stride.
This was a springtime goal to see if I could get through this year's Robie Creek, he confesses.
Jim, a Vietnam War veteran, has suffered a lifetime of running injuries, and currently jogs with collapsed arches and foam inserts to sooth his gnarled feet.
He jokes about leaving footprints unrecognizable as that of a human being.
More like the mascot of the University of Oregon, he tells me.
And now -- here's the part where you get some from free advice from these tough old guys. It's the kind of advice anyone should heed, even if you're not running your 37th Race to Robie Creek.
I think the only way to keep on moving, is to keep on moving, Joel Weinberg says. You got to keep on moving.
Ron and Jim Barker agree.
The 37th Running of the Race to Robie Creek begins at High Noon on Saturday.