Hundreds race to Robie Creek in style

Posted at 6:31 PM, Apr 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-16 20:47:21-04

It's the day athletes across the region have been waiting for since last Spring.

Hundreds spent the day outdoors to take part in the toughest half marathon in the Northwest: The Race to Robie Creek.

While locals dominate registration, people travel from all over the U.S. to be a part of it. This year's theme was a blast from the groovy Motown past.

The race starts at the corner of Fort and Reserve Streets with live music to get the runners pumped up.

The race is in its 39th year.

"This is put on by the Rocky Canyon Sailtoads," said Billy Gans, the race director. "They started running the race with about seven or eight people who ran it the first time."

Elite and casual runners, alike, are given their race number, which has a chip inside that tracks their time. Each competitor has a different goal in mind but most are looking forward to the scenery.

"It's well known, it's supposed to be really hard. It's a good challenge," said Daniel Fleming, of Moscow, Idaho.

His friend who lives in Boise, Ethan Mansfield, chimed in: "It's beautiful country. So, it's pretty and it's not on pavement."

Once the race starts, runners head to Shaw Mountain and run uphill for 8.5 miles, finishing at the Robie Creek Campground where a celebration awaits them.

The 2016 winner of the race was Jeff Howard. He's a coach for Boise State University's cross country track team. This was his first go at it.

"Neither of us [who he ran the race with] have run it, so, I thought this might bite me in the butt if I overextend myself a bit but once you get up to that peak and start rolling down, you feel like you can't get caught," Howard said.

Howard finished in one hour, 15 minutes and 8 seconds.

It was the second attempt for the first female finisher: Molly Mitchell. She came into the race with the experience she needed to prevail and crossed the line in one hour and 33 minutes, shaving seven minutes off her 2015 time.

"Last year, I went out way too fast. I got really overexcited. There are so many people at the start that you just want to get to the front," Mitchell said. "So, the first couple of miles were so fast that then I was just kind of exhausted the rest of the race."

This year's Motown theme called for the participant trinket to be a magnet in the shape of a record.

Julie Holm helped pass them out. Taking on the challenge in the past, this year she got a feel for what it's like being on the other side of the finish line.

"It's kind of fun to be at the finish line and not feel like you're going to die," Holm said. "At the same time, it makes me reminiscent of crossing the line and feeling really proud."

Thanks to the 600 volunteers who help put on the race, all proceeds go back into the community.

"Last year, we donated $82,000 to local charities," Gans said. "So, if it wasn't for the runners running the race, we wouldn't be able to do that."

If you're up for the Race to Robie Creek challenge, heads up for next year.

There are only so many spots, and registration goes fast. It only took 12 minutes to fill up this year, which was the second fastest closing of the race in its history.