Jim Spier’s Take on the Firman Meet

by Jim Spier

It’s always a treat to come to Boise, Idaho. This is my third or fourth trip here and I love every minute of it. Boise is a special place. The downtown is clean, organized and welcoming.

I’m here for the Firman Meet, one of the top cross country invitationals of the season. It has record numbers this year, somewhere around 3500 runners, and some very good nationally ranked teams.

The forecast is for the low to mid-nineties. I’m not going to say it’s a “cool” heat, but it’s certainly not “North Carolina heat”, where you get equal humidity and temperature.

Getting here was a bit of a challenge. It’s hard to travel these days without the almost built-in delays. I barely made my connection in Charlotte (from Raleigh-Durham) and in Phoenix.

I got in at about midnight (Mountain Time; 2am Eastern) after having taken a 4:15pm flight from Raleigh. I had planned on eating dinner between flights but sprinting to my connections did not afford me that. I was famished when I arrived and immediately looked for someplace to eat.

With a population of 205,000 (616,000 in the metropolitan area), Boise is not a New York or Chicago in that it is open all night. So I drove around and came across the club district which was “hopping” on this Thursday night. Boise State U is right next to downtown, hence a vibrant club scene. Luckily there were food trucks parked in the area, and I partook of a 3 pound (it seemed) burrito to satisfy my hunger. By the way, eating that amount of food that late at night is not recommended for those of the older generation.

I brought my camera with me during my morning walk and documented some of the highlights of the city.


The Boise Depot, the old Union Pacific train stop, has been restored and sits on a hill in the south end of the city, affording a great view of downtown.

Boise State U, with their blue turf football field, is adjacent to downtown on the east side of town.



Rodeo is popular in this part of the world, and even Boise State has a rodeo team!


The Boise River dissects the city north and south. On either side are 9 miles of trails for walking and biking

This day was perfect for outdoor dining. And there are many restored old buildings.

Viewers are located throughout the city. You look into them and see exactly what that street scene looked like 100 or so years ago.

Boise is the capital of the state of Idaho and has an impressive capital building and several statues on its grounds, including one of Abraham Lincoln

As mentioned, Boise is not New York or Chicago. Here's an example of the parking rates .

I had lunch at Bar Gernika, a Basque restaurant (chorizo sandwich with peppers and onions, by the way). Boise has an active Basque district. Basques? Yes. This from the Basque website

The Boise Depot, the old Union Pacific train stop, has been restored and sits on a hill in the south end of the city, affording a great view of downtown.

The vast majority of the Basques living in the Boise area came from the province of Bizkaia. Basque names first started appearing here in the late 1800's. Although it was not something they had done in their homeland, many began working as sheepherders as the English and Scots had a lot of sheep and needed workers. Some Basques also worked in mining and logging. They were known to be honest, hard working people, and more and more came to this area as work was available.


Boise is as good a walking city as there is. Tomorrow we’ll see how the runners do at Eagle Island State park, about a 15 miles west of here.

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