A seasoned marathoner is on the run to improve trails around six Lacombe lakes and ponds.
Lacombe resident Bill Nielsen helped organize Sunday’s first annual Lacombe in Motion Walk/Run involving more than 200 participants.
He said the community event’s proceeds will go towards developing new trails, improving existing ones, setting up outdoor workout stations along several main trails, along with other possible improvements. Final fundraising tally wasn’t known on Sunday.
Trail development is important to people’s well-being, Nielsen added.
“People can get exercise either running, walking or biking on these trails,” said Nielsen, 69. “You have a sense of going back to nature.”
Nielsen is a longtime fitness advocate, completing his 100th marathon in 2008 at the age of 67. Over the last 12 years, he carved out 15 km of trails using a grub hoe and other tools.
The paths exist around Elizabeth Lake, Little Barnett Lake, Barnett Lake, Lake Anne, Henner’s Pond and Cranna Lake.
Some trails are made with wood chips, while others are asphalt and dirt.
“We can make the trails around Henner’s Pond wider, we can put wood chips down on the dirt trails and maybe extend the trails,” Nielsen said.
Nielsen said the trails could extend north as the town expands and additional ones could be built on the CUC campus. New ones could also connect with the Trans Canada Trail network to the south, where trails are being built from Penhold to Blackfalds, Lacombe and Ponoka.
Both the Town of Lacombe and Canadian University College help maintain the trails developed by Nielsen.
During the Woody’s RV World Marathon and Half Marathon banquet this year, world-class ultramarathoner Scott Jurek raved about the trails, while on a run with Nielsen.
“The trails around Cranna Lake are well used, but the rest aren’t,” said Nielsen. “So this is why we wanted to hold this race — we want to draw awareness to the trails.”
The run began and finished at the college campus. Participants took a two-km, five-km, 10-km and 21-km distance route.
The college’s running club, in partnership with community members, planned the race in co-operation with the municipality.