Andrija Barker went into the Race to Robie Creek “terrified” of the downhill, but it was the closing steps of the massive climb that forced her to repeat her running mantra.
“I’m unable to quit,” she told herself, “because I’m currently too legit.”
She was certainly legit Saturday – winning the women’s division by more than 6 minutes in her Robie debut.
“I knew I was going to win about 2 miles in,” the 34-year-old Boisean said. “It made me so happy and it made me just enjoy the rest of the race so much. ... I just felt perfect. I knew I was on. You can just kind of tell. I felt smooth and controlled, and I knew I was going to be OK.”
Never miss a local story.
Barker, a sales rep for running brand Saucony, finished 16th overall by completing the half-marathon in 1 hour, 30 minutes and 52.7 seconds.
Lauri Thompson of Boise claimed second for the fourth straight year in 1:37:22.7. Thompson has been beaten by four different women in those years.
She won’t have to worry about Barker next year. The winner was emphatic that her first Robie also was her last.
“I’ll come back as a spectator,” Barker said.
If she hadn’t won, she would have returned, she said.
She was determined to add the most famous running event in the Boise area to her resume.
Barker finished second in October in the USATF Half Marathon Trail Championships, her greatest accomplishment as a runner.
“There’s this thing around Boise where everyone asks you, ‘Are you a runner?’ And you say yes. And then they say, ‘Oh, how many times have you done Robie?’ ” she said. “It’s like no matter what you’ve accomplished outside of Robie, they just want to know how many times you’ve done Robie. I got tired of saying I’ve never done it, so here I am — I did it.”