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Race to Robie crews prepare for cold temperatures ahead of Saturday

Race to Robie Creek organizers said most areas of the course are "runnable," but there were a few spots with snow on top.

BOISE, Idaho — Billed as "One of the toughest races in the Northwest," the popular Race to Robie Creek half-marathon will celebrate its 45th run Saturday. With colder and icier conditions around Boise this past week, this year's half-marathon could prove to be more difficult than past.

"I'm telling people, 'take it easy.' This is a run maybe more so than a race this year," race co-organizer, Brian Rencher said. 

Over the 13.1-mile race, runners will log a 2,072-foot ascent and a 1,732-foot descent before the finish line. 

Rencher said most areas of the course are "runnable," but there were a few spots with snow on top. A few other organizers did a practice run on the course Friday, where they discovered snow around mile 7, lasting until mile 10. 

Crews from the Ada County Highway District (ACHD) helped clear some of the 6-8 inches of snow on the backside of the course.

"It looks like it's getting better with the sun and the warm temperatures, but it will be slushy," said Brian Rapp, a lead worker with Adam's Grade Crew and ACHD. "If it rains it might be treacherous so I hope the runners limber up."

He estimated about 1-2 inches of snow was left on the area they paved.

"That's about as much as we can get down to before we hit dirt," Rapp said. "I think it's about ready to go."

Rencher added the snow-covered areas along the course were still runnable as well, but with the expected rain Saturday, the conditions could change.

"The initial descent from the summit will likely be slippery. It is a good idea to wear shoes with good traction and use caution," wrote the Race to Robie Creek Facebook page Friday. 

Rencher said 1,400 people signed up to race this year, with 600 of those sign-ups being first-time racers. He said he advises people to dress warm and wear layers.

The race will have crews with Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue Unit to help keep an eye on runners around the course. Rencher emphasizes they have been putting this race on for a long time and they have the runner's safety at the top of their minds.

While Saturday's course could prove to be interesting, Rencher said this is Idaho in April. The weather can never be too predictable.

"We'll see what Saturday brings and if it's going to be the coldest year," Rencher said. "I've run it before when it's been snowing at the top and then we've had years where it's been in the 80's."

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