The Bill Neilsen Trail Run on Sept, 29, 2018 welcomed over 350 runners in its fifth year. Todd Colin Vaughan/Lacombe Express

WATCH: Over 350 runners come out for 5th Bill Neilsen Trail Run

$20,000 raised in last four years in support of Lacombe trails

The Bill Neilsen Trail Run (BTR) is celebrating its fifth year in Lacombe and is continuing to carry on the legacy of Lacombe resident Bill Neilsen.

Neilsen, who passed away four months before the first BTR of pancreatic cancer, was avid trail runner and enthusiast who ran 100 marathons in his lifetime — 30 of which he ran after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.

“Bill was a person that used the trails, ran on the trails and maintained the trails so after he passed away we decided to start the Bill Neilsen Trial Society and our only fundraiser is the trail run,” Larry Michielsen, president, said.

Since it’s inception in 2014, the BTR has raised over $20,000 with the funds going towards maintaining, promoting and upgrading Lacombe’s trail network.

“Right now, we are using that to maintain the trails but a lot of it is also sitting in the bank because we also want to link the trails from Cranna Lake to Elizabeth Lake,” Michielsen said.

He added they are also working with the City and Burman University to upgrade the trails.

“Our goal is to link the trail system of Lacombe and one of the areas we are looking at currently is linking the trail between Westview Drive on the west side of Lacombe to Cranna Lake,” he said. “The project costs over $100,000, so it is not small and we have to save a for a few years.”

While they wait for the City, the society spends their funds on items to maintain the trail including lawnmowers, weedeaters and also new woodchips.

Vice President Diane Hayduk said that once they receive approvals, they will begin helping the City in planning new trails and trail infrastructure.

“We can help build the trail and suggest where they should go,” she said. “It is $1,000 per metre for a bridge, which is huge. We want to have the funds ready so that we can say, ‘We can do it’.”

The BTR, however, is more than just raising funds.

“It is also about encouraging people to run and walk. We want to promote running and exercise for mental and physical health,” Michielsen said.

This year, over 350 people came out to support the cause and promote active lifestyles.

“It is 100 more people than normal,” Michielsen said, adding that each participant will receive a finishing medal for the first time this year.

“That was a big thing when you went into Bill’s garage,” Hayduk said. “He had 100 medals from all the marathons he ran.”

Hayduk and Michielsen added they want to to thank the over 100 volunteers who helped out and the business sponsors that helped them put on the event.

“The feedback from the racers is that we have the best marked course with the happiest volunteers. You never get lost,” she said.

todd.vaughan@lacombeexpress.com

Just Posted

Lacombe mayor attends fall Mid-Sized Mayors’ Caucus

Caucus highlights fiscal responsibility

Lacombe Canadian Archery champion finishes 10th at worlds

Cameron Herbert has been a competitive archer for 10 years

Lacombe County: Do you have a gated property? Here’s what you need to know.

These gates are a deterrent for rural crime, they can also impede on emergency personnel

Lacombe Police Service joins North American rail-safety operation aimed at reducing preventable deaths and injuries on rail lines

Operation Clear Track aims to reduce the number of railway crossing and trespassing incident

WATCH: Enhanced Emergency Department opens at Lacombe Hospital

$3.1 million facility jointly funded by AHS, Lacombe Health Trust

‘Unacceptable’: What politicians have to say about Trudeau in blackface

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi: ‘When I saw that picture last night, certainly it was a sucker-punch’

Judge finds Alberta couple not guilty in toddler son’s death

It was the second trial for the Stephans, who were found guilty by a jury in 2016

Alberta couple charged in toddler son’s death to learn fate from judge

David and Collet Stephan are charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life

Alberta government pitching that small rural areas pay for policing: NDP

Those 291 districts represent about 20 per cent of the Alberta population

Alberta inquiry into oil and gas foes could face legal challenge from Ecojustice

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has repeatedly accused U.S. charities of bankrolling efforts

Yearbook photo surfaces of Trudeau wearing ‘brownface’ costume in 2001

The report describes the occasion as an ‘Arabian Nights’-themed gala event

‘Troubling, insulting’: NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh reacts to Trudeau’s brownface photo

Jagmeet Singh, leader of the New Democrats, responded with a call for love after Trudeau photos surface

VIDEO: Party leaders react to Trudeau’s brownface photo bombshell

Fallout from Justin Trudeau’s brownface photo, and two other instances, sure to dominate campaign

Most Read