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Race to Robie Creek returns for 13.1 miles of community, competition

The 47th annual Race to Robie Creek had 2,023 runners lace up on Saturday for what's billed as the "toughest half marathon in the Northwest."

BOISE, Idaho — A sea of runners dashed up and over the Boise Foothills Saturday for the 47th annual Race to Robie Creek

The half marathon -- 13.1 miles -- was finally back in full swing for 2023 after being limited, going virtual and being canceled in the previous three years due to COVID.

This year's race had 2,023 runners who laced up for what's billed as the "toughest half marathon in the Northwest."

Runners took off from Fort Boise Park at high noon. The course had runners gaining 2,100 feet in elevation toward the snow-paced Aldape Summit. The course then takes a sharp 1,700-foot descent before runners reach the finish line at Robie Creek.

"This is really a race that just attracts the crazies," Race to Robie Creek Director Michael Devitt said. "It's not just runners, it's just people who just want to do something that really challenges them, and maybe challenges their sanity at the same time."

The race has always had its roots in craziness - since runners started lacing up to run up Robie Creek in 1975. 

"A bunch of crazy people decided that would be a good idea. They originally did it in August, but it was too hot," Devitt said. "So, it starts at noon because John Robertson, the first race director, had to drive his Volkswagen over the course and leave water at the aid stations. It took him that long to get all the way over and back."

Everyone has their reasons, like Esha, Liesl and Jenna - a trio of runners who wore matching outfits and came to cheer each other on. Liesl and Jenna are students who were going from the race - to their big dance.

"We have prom later today so we need to finish quick," they told KTVB at the start line. "We have to get ready for prom."

A group of firefighters from Nampa, Caldwell, Boise and Eagle were also running together. 

"Fellowship and good times, and little suffer fest over Robie," firefighter Chris Rodes said. "It's just a good way to stay fit together and have a good time doing it."

There were Robie Creek veterans, like Adam - who has ran the race 31 times. He even made the trek up to Robie Creek alongside his kids during the year the race was canceled - although their run was missing a key part of the Robie Creek experience. 

"That's the most fun part of the race - the spectators and the party,” Adam said.

Whether its a sub-two hour time, or just to finish - no matter a runner's goals - the Race to Robie Creek is always a party.  

"It feels so good to be doing this this year, because this - this is Robie Creek," Devitt said. "We have a band, we have beer, we have all this stuff on the other side that we did not have last year, and we've got a bigger crowd that we didn't have last year. So, this is what the Race to Robie Creek is supposed to be, and we were not able to do that last year. We're just thrilled to be able to do it again this year."

28-year-old Samantha Lewis of Moscow had the best overall women's time at 1:31:55.

Logan Rees, a 26-year-old from Boise, had the best overall time, clocking 1:16:40 - a pace of 5:51 per mile.

Full Race to Robie 2023 results can be found here.

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