Kenny McDaniel wins Race to Robie Creek as defending champ falters

Kenny McDaniel was an almost apologetic champion Saturday after he grabbed an unexpected victory in the men’s division of the Race to Robie Creek.

The 33-year-old personal trainer and triathlete who lives in Boise completed the half-marathon in 1 hour, 22 minutes and 17.8 seconds.

That’s more than 4 minutes slower than Markus Geiger ran last year to win his second straight Robie title.

But just as McDaniel reached the finish line, he saw Geiger arrive by cart. Geiger wasn’t able to finish the race.

McDaniel spoke to Geiger as they crossed paths.

“I kind of feel bad,” McDaniel said. “He’s such a great runner. I know I worked hard, but he’s definitely the class of the field. I just happened to be in good position that if I got lucky or something went wrong I’d be able to take advantage of it.”

He didn’t see what befell Geiger, who was taken to the medical tent at the finish.

“I always wanted to win this, and it’s definitely an important race on my schedule,” McDaniel said, “but I’d love to truly earn it and to race him head to head and be able to say I was the better person. ... He had a strong lead. He’s pretty close to unbeatable.”

McDaniel figures he has run in the race at least eight times, starting when he was 18. His best previous finish was third.

He uses Robie as a starting point for his triathlon season. He has completed several full Ironmans, he said.

“Since high school, (Robie) was kind of something I saw as a really difficult race, and I wanted to be a part of it and see how I stack up against the other guys in town,” he said.

Rick Floyd finished second in 1:22:47.3.