Though he won’t go so far as to call it redemption, Saturday felt good for Erik Teig.
The 33-year-old Boisean finished second in last year's Race to Robie Creek. Though he didn’t lose a ton of sleep over coming agonizingly close to a victory, Teig said that winning the 2017 edition of the half-marathon would mean the world to him.
He now knows what it feels like to be champion.
Teig won the 40th Race to Robie in 1:16:57.6. He finished nearly three minutes ahead of second-place finisher Jimmy Lee (1:19:20.8) and 30 seconds faster than he did in 2016.
“I kind of teared up (near the finish line), knowing that I was going to be the top finisher,” Teig said. “ It was great to run the race I hoped to run.”
Boise’s Morgan Arritola was the top female finisher at 1:30:30 and finished 16th overall.
“It’s kind of one of those things where at the moment you’re kind of asking yourself why you did it,” said Arritola, 30, who was running in her third Race to Robie Creek. “And then you get done and you’re like, ‘Oh yeah, I’ll probably do it again next year.’ ”
Behind Arritola were Keely Henninger (1:31:33.1), Amber Nickelson (1:32:17) and Danielle Marquette (1:35:29.1) Molly Mitchell, last year’s winner, finished fifth (1:35:51.3).
Gus Gibbs (1:21:23.8), Rick Floyd (1:22:40.2) and Barak Watson (1:22:48.6) rounded out the top five men.
Almost 2,400 people took part in the race, which came a day after snow hit the Treasure Valley.
“It was beautiful,” Arritola said. “The top was icy, but it wasn’t too bad.”
The theme for the 40th edition of the race was “Retro Robie.” Many participants were dressed for the occasion, donning clothing from eras as far back as the medieval period.
Teig and Arritola, however, were dressed for peak performance. And perform they did.
Teig took an early lead on the field and did his best to put blinders on for the remainder. Doing so forced him to imagine runners on his tail, even though there weren’t any.
“The good thing about being in the lead is you have no idea how close anybody is to you,” Teig said. “(You) just imagine people are right behind you.”
Arritola recently moved back to Boise for school and had not run the race since 2007. When she returned to the area, signing up for the first time in a decade was a no-brainer.
“It’s been awhile. I moved back here and I’m in school full time,” Arritola said. “If you live in Boise, you have to do Robie.”
Teig admits there are some days when he knows during warmups whether or not he is going to run well. There are also times where he warms up well and then performs poorly. But everything clicked Saturday, and Teig was at a loss for words when describing the win.
It was a year in the making, after all.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever had this experience before,” Teig said.
Race to Robie Creek results
Erik Teig, Boise, 1:16:57.8
Jimmy Lee, Boise, 1:19:20.8
Gus Gibbs, Ketchum, 1:21:23.8
Rick Floyd, Reno, 1:22:40.2
Barak Watson, Boise, 1:22:48.6
Morgan Arritola, Boise, 1:30:30.0
Keely Henninger, Beaverton, Ore., 1:31:33.1
Amber Nickelson, Boise, 1:32:17.0
Danielle Marquette, Nampa, 1:35:29.1
Molly Mitchell, Boise, 1:35:51.3