Dig out your runners and prepare to hit Lacombe’s trails this month for the annual Bill’s Trail Run.
Put on by the Bill Nielsen Trail Society, this year’s run will be held Sept. 29 at Cranna Lake – right about the same time as Bill Nielsen’s birthday, and when he would’ve traditionally held his Lacombe in Motion run.
More than that, however, it’s the fifth anniversary of the run, which began as a way to honour the legacy of the late Nielsen – a Lacombe resident who served as the first race director of the Woody’s Marathon, and was a champion of running and maintaining local trails. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, but still managed to keep running, until he died at the age of 73 from pancreatic cancer.
“You start this thing and you wonder if anyone will attend, but we’ve had Bill’s friends come and it’s a bit of a homecoming for them – they talk about how he supported them and supported trail running or running in particular,” said Diane Hayduk, a member of the Bill Nielsen Trail Society and run organizer.
“It’s a huge year for us.”
As part of the fifth-year celebration, those who cross the finish line will be given commemorative finishing medals, which Nielsen loved to collect when he was running, thanks to a contribution by Peavey Mart. His wife and daughter, Linda and Tracy Nielsen, will be handing out the medals at the end of the run.
Registration is open, and both volunteers and runners alike are being sought after for the run.
“We usually get about 100 volunteers and over 300 runners, so we’re looking for that this year,” said Hayduk. “People have been registering, and they come from all over Alberta. They love the trails here, they love the natural trails and hopefully the weather’s good, but trail runners are resilient.”
The t-shirt deadline is on Saturday, Sept. 15, so those interested in getting a free ATC Protech shirt with registration still have a couple days to do so. Registration is available right up until the race, but those who register on race day might not be guaranteed medals, and won’t get a t-shirt., so participants are encouraged to register as early as possible.
Race fees are as follows:
- 2K Run/Walk – $20
- 5K Run/Walk – $45
- 10K Run – $50
- Bill’s Special 10 Miler – $60
- 2K Family/Team – $20 (2-5 members, no t-shirt with entry)
Race kit pickups will be held Thursday, Sept. 27 from 5 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. at the Red Deer Running Room in Southpointe Common, Friday, Sept. 28 from 5 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. at Lacombe Composite High School, and on race day, Saturday, Sept. 29 at 8 a.m. at Lacombe Composite High School.
The 10 miler begins at 10 a.m., with the 10K, 5K, and 2K run and 2k family/team run following at 15-minute intervals.
To register, visit https://www.events.runningroom.com/site/?raceId=15053.
For more information, visit billstrailrun.com. A link to the registration page is also available on the website.