Archive for Thursday, August 10, 2006

Forested course perfect for EHS runners

August 10, 2006

All Eudora High School cross country coaches Dan Kuhlman and Paul Boone wanted was a simple, nature trail for the cross country team to run on. But when they asked Eudora resident Ken Waldock if they could build on his land, they got so much more.

After months of hard work, a two-mile trail, complete with plains, hills, forested areas, stream by-ways, natural barriers and various paths, was completed on Waldock's land, specifically for the EHS cross country team. The team has been running on it since the beginning of the summer.

Boone said he, Kuhlman and the team could not be more appreciative of Waldock's donation.

"We have a great working relationship with Ken and his family," Boone said. "We enjoy him letting us use his property. We want to leave the area better than we find it."

Waldock said he was just glad the team was able to use the land, and his involvement in the project was pretty minimal. All Waldock says he does now is mow the trail before the team comes to run on it.

Waldock said how the project even came to be was wrought with irony. Last spring, the EHS track team used Waldock's land for its annual banquet ceremony, and before the event occurred, Kuhlman and Boone went to clear away some brush and made a clearing. That same day, they brought their running shoes and ran around the area and decided to ask Waldock if they could construct a running trail. He excitedly said yes.

Boone said the team loved to run on the course.

"It's varied, it's got hills, plains, a prairie area and a neat spot through the woods," Boone said. "For a two-mile course, it's got pretty much everything. It's a lot of fun."

Waldock said perhaps what made the trail so fun for the runners was that it had several varying by-ways in the trail, forcing runners to make choices.

"It's not like running on flat ground," Waldock said. "There are choices they have to make when the course splits and they have to utilize strategy."

But the course is not all fun and games. Boone said it also offered several great training aspects. He said the varying terrain and the inclusion of several high hills really allowed for the runners to put in 110 percent.

Boone said depending on what type of workout for the team he and Kuhlman were aiming for, the trail on Waldock's land was able to accommodate.

"As far as terrain goes, it can be pretty tough," Boone said. "We can use that course at varying intensities. Some days we will go real hard and get a hard aerobic workout. Other times we go easy and just soak it all in."

One such terrain type that proves to be a challenge to runners is a fallen tree that has made its home lying perpendicular across the trail. Waldock said whenever he mowed, he had to stop when he got to the fallen tree and go back around and mow the course from the other side, all to maintain the barrier. He said he does not even give doing this a second thought.

"It's for the kids," Waldock said.

Waldock's land, in addition to the running trail, also includes many tree houses. Waldock said he did not charge groups to utilize his land, under one condition: the group must be non-profit, like the EHS cross country team or Scout troops. Waldock said his land was not open to the general public.

Waldock said that he was much too busy to run on the trail. He said it is a full-time job just keeping the grounds up.

"I'm too busy building things to run on it," Waldock said. "We have a campground here for kids and I spend virtually all my time trying to improve things and make them better."

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