Bill’s Trail Run is returning to Lacombe for the sixth straight year this Saturday.
The run, which is organized by the Bill Nielsen Trail Society and honours the legacy of Bill Neilsen, raises funds for the upkeep of Lacombe’s expansive trail system which Neilsen advocated for throughout his life.
This year, there are over 400 racers competing in four different lengths including: 2 km, 5 km, 10 km, and the 10 m, which is know and the Bill Special.
The run not only helps with the upkeep of the trails, it also promotes them to the community.
“We have a fantastic trail system that a lot of people who don’t live here say we are very lucky to have,” Organizer Diane Hayduk said. “We are out here promoting it and inviting all kinds of people to come out and use them.
“The trails are great for not only physical health, but also mental health. It gives you a break away.”
Over 100 volunteers are helping run the event and many of Nielsen’s friends and families will be volunteering and/or taking part in the race.
“He is a real important person for us and we enjoy having this race for him. We invite back his wife Linda and both of his daughters will be there — one running the 10 km and the other is helping us out as a volunteer. They are so overwhelmed that we are paying respect to Bill’s name and the trails. We are looking after them,” he said.
The trail society has helped keep Lacombe’s trails intact and pristine.
“There was a point after he passed away where the trails weren’t being kept up. Our society formed a group and instead of going after the city, we knew we had the energy and know-how to look after the trails and promote them,” Hayduk said.
Hayduk said it is important to maintain these trails and appreciates their natural condition, as opposed to other municpalities that have paved systems that can be hard on the joints for long-distance runners.
“The people who use are trails are doing the greater distances. It is a great, somewhat easier trail, to train on and you get to visit all five water bodies here in Lacombe,” she said.
The race starts at 10 a.m. Saturday and Hayduk invites residents to come cheer on the racers around the final leg near Cranna Lake. The event is held this time of year due to Neilsen holding his Lacombe in Motion races at this time in the past.
“It is a great time for the people who have been putting in the effort all through the summer,” she said.
She added, “Woodland Drive will be intermittently closed if you want to avoid that area — or you can cheer them on while you are waiting in the vehicle.”