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Korrika, race in support of the Basque language, came to Boise, Idaho putting an end to the 2011 edition of the run


Boise Korrika participants
Boise Korrika participants


Korrika came to Boise on Saturday, April 30, marking both the end of this year’s edition of the Basque run and the beginning of a new biyearly tradition in support of the Basque language in Idaho’s capital. This event will join the many already in place in this Western town that promote the Basque culture. All proceeds from Boise’s Korrika will go to support US Basque language students that wish to attend a 'barnetegi' (Basque language boarding school) in the Basque Country.

Boise, USA. The final leg of Korrika took place in Boise, Idaho last Saturday, April 30. This run marked the end of this year’s edition of Korrika, an event celebrated every two years in the Basque Country to support the Basque language, where participants run across the Basque Country for two weeks. This first instance of the 2-mile run was organized by Izaskun Kortazar, NABO Basque Language Coordinator and Spanish professor at Boise State University (BSU), and it was made a reality with help from volunteers, the Basque group Euzkaldunak, and Boise’s Basque chef Jesus Alcelay.

The Boise run follows Korrika celebrations in San Francisco, California, and Mountain Home, Idaho. Euzkaldunak opened the doors to the Basque Center at 8 AM, when the first wave of volunteers arrived to set up the registration booth and the tables for a post-race lunch. There was also a table for face painting organized by Boiseko Ikastola, where kids could get a ‘Lauburu’  (Basque cross) or ‘Ikurrina’ (Basque flag) painted on their faces by Mara Davis, Ikastola director. Additionally, NABO had a table set up with water bottles, backpacks, and Basque-themed postcards for sale. All proceedings from the Korrika and the merchandise sales will be used to send US Basque language students to a ‘barnetegi’ (full-immersion Basque language program) in Maizpide in the Basque Country.

Registration was set to begin at 9 AM, and Korrika kicked off shortly after 10 AM. Participants started trickling into the Basque Center around 9, and soon the dining room was filled with groups of adults greeting each other and kids running around. A total of 118 people signed up for the run, which makes Boise’s the largest group of Korrika participants in the US. Boiseko Ikastola kids initiated the run with a symbolic relay, followed with a speech by Dave Bieter, Boise’s mayor, and an Aurresku performed by Oinkari dancer Ben Monasterio. Then the Korrika started and participants left the Basque Center to run or walk the 2-miles. After the race, everyone gathered back inside the Basque Center and enjoyed a potluck with talos and chorizo prepared by Jesus Alcelay, plus veggies, fruit, cake and refreshments brought by the Korrika participants.

Sam Snodgrass took pictures and video throughout the event and will make a video to send to the Basque Country and countries of the Basque diaspora.

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