Bill's Trail Run returns for fourth year
Bill Nielsen Trail Run participants make their way around Cranna Lake during last year’s race. This year's run takes place Saturday, Sept. 30. (Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe)
For the fourth straight year, runners from across Alberta and beyond will descend upon Lacombe to hit the trails built by the late Bill Nielsen.
The Bill Nielsen Trail Run will be held this Saturday, Sept. 30, with the first group of runners taking off from the Start line at 10 a.m.
Diane Foster of the Bill Nielsen Trail Society said preparations are well underway for the event this weekend.
“Everything’s going good,” she said on Monday afternoon. “As of right now, we have 240 people showing up - from Mexico, to B.C. and Ontario.”
Annually, the race attracts more than 300 people, from sports teams to families and recreational runners to marathoners. Another 100 volunteers will also take part in the organization of the race, cheering participants on as they round Cranna Lake and make their way through some of the more picturesque trails in Central Alberta.
Last year, despite dreary, rainy weather, participation topped 400 people and the society is hoping to see that many again.
“It’s getting to be more well known. Bill knew a lot of people and they liked his trails and that’s why they like to come run,” she said.
“It should be a good time, and it looks like it will be really good weather.”
Nielsen, a man dedicated to maintaining and running the trails he built throughout the city, suffered from Parkinson’s disease and died in April 2014 of pancreatic cancer.
The Bill Nielsen Trail Society was founded shortly thereafter and has carried on his legacy of maintaining the trails, and extending them as the city grows.
In October of 2014, they organized the very first Bill Nielsen Trail Run in commemoration of his work on the trails and welcomed over 300 people – 200 more than expected.
Since then, it’s grown every year, drawing in more participants and showcasing Lacombe’s network of trails - both paved and unpaved - to visitors.
Race package pickup is as follows: Thursday, Sept. 28 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Red Deer Running Room, Friday, Sept. 29 at LCHS from 5 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. and on race day, Sept. 30 from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Those looking to register on race day are asked to arrive at 8:30 a.m.
The 10-Miler mass start time is at 10 a.m. at LCHS. 10K, 5K, 2K and 2K Family races to start at 15-minute intervals afterwards.
Maps and more information on Bill Nielsen and the run named in his honour can be found online at billstrailrun.com.