Robie Creek notebook: Young, not-so-young tackle Northwest's toughest race

dsouthorn@idahostatesman.comApril 20, 2014 

— Finishing what's billed as "The Toughest Race in the Northwest" is enough of an accomplishment, but even more impressive if the finisher can receive Social Security - or is still in elementary school.

The 37th annual Race to Robie Creek saw 2,314 runners and walkers complete the grueling 13.1-mile course. Finishing in the top quarter was 70-year-old Ole Bergset, who has completed the race more than 20 times. Bergset finished in 2 hours, 9 minutes, 18.7 seconds Saturday.

"It's nice to test yourself and see if you can do it," Bergset said. "It's what really starts the spring - you hardly can train during the winter, then you come out here and kill yourself. Somehow we enjoy that."

Bergset was one of 22 entrants age 65 and older who finished the race. Kenneth Karcher, 85, was the oldest, finishing in 3:41:39.2. Carolyn Devitt, 75, was the oldest female, finishing in 3:08:32.4.

"It seems like it gets longer and steeper each year, so you've got to pace yourself, accept that it's not like it used to be," Bergset said. "I think people my age can do it. It's kind of sad not to see very many."

Victor Jensen, 67, finished in 2:10:06.3. He noted running not only keeps him healthy, but gets some extra attention when surrounded by younger runners.

"People joke that they can't run around the block, but of course they can, and can go longer if they train a little," Jensen said. "It makes me feel good. People think I'm younger than I am. … It makes you feel great, especially when the younger ladies notice."

On the other end of the spectrum, 11-year-old Talia Duke crossed the finish line in 2:51:07.8 and looked like she could've gone a few more miles, too. Her mother, Alicia, finished a little more than a second behind her. Alicia said she wanted Talia to enter an easier half-marathon first, but insisted on running with her at Robie.

"I've never run that long before," said Talia, who attends Cynthia Mann Elementary. "I felt really good just reaching the top (of Aldape Summit), but especially reaching the finish."

BOISE'S BRILL FINISHES IN TOP 10

Another young standout runner, Boise High sophomore Jackson Brill, finished seventh overall in 1:28:54.5. Last year, he took 11th, but ran 27 seconds faster.

Temperatures approached 80 degrees, and some wind in the early portion kept times down, but Brill was plenty glad to improve his standing.

"It was more a battle to see what place you'd get, rather than time. Conditions were brutal this year, way harder than last year, but I'm happy," Brill said. "It feels really cool to be top 10 and improve on last year."

CARRYING THE WEIGHT

Jim Lambrecht probably could have finished faster than 3:09:22.3, but he didn't care - especially with 35 pounds on his back.

Lambrecht, a master sergeant in the Air National Guard, wore camouflage fatigue pants and a 35-pound pack throughout the race. On the back of the 45-year-old's pack was a large sign with the Wounded Warrior Project logo.

In 2008, Lambrecht visited Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas and saw wounded soldiers returning home, and was amazed by their resolve.

"We've got to take care of each other, and I love that," Lambrecht said. "I'm getting older, so I hope some of the other military guys saw it, maybe run in my place and can keep increasing awareness."

EMBRACING THE THEME

The theme of Saturday's race was "Killer Queen." A few tiaras dotted the course, but Katherine Grimmett took it to another level.

Grimmett donned a white dress, tiara and sash, then added the level of difficulty by running all 13.1 miles with a bouquet of roses and holding a tea cup affixed to a saucer.

"I'm a quarter English, so I have to go to my roots," Grimmett said. "It should be fun, and if people want to high-five you or have something interesting to look at, then great."

Aaron von Lindern and Cameron Beatty certainly drew eyes for their outfits and bountiful mustaches. The pair dressed as Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of the band Queen, whose songs were played at the start and finish lines.

"It's kind of an annual thing - I've been Shakespeare, a pirate, a samurai. It's cool to see people's reactions while you're trying to run all dressed up," von Lindern said.

Dave Southorn: 377-6420, Twitter: @IDS_Southorn

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