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Fort Rucker trails offer customizable fitness experience

Anna Bergmark, left, and Eden Keene train using the hills along the 1.1-mile red trail at Beaver Lake recently. (Photo by Jeremy Henderson)

Anna Bergmark, left, and Eden Keene train using the hills along the 1.1-mile red trail at Beaver Lake recently. (Photo by Jeremy Henderson)

Published: September 18, 2014

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (September 18, 2014) -- As leaves and temperatures begin to fall, runners lace up to capitalize on crisp air and Fort Rucker contains a few easily-accessible locations for anyone looking to explore new routes.

Lynn Avila, Fort Rucker fitness programs coordinator, said two different trail systems, one located near Parcours Lake and one surrounding Beaver Lake, offer a customizable experience for runners and cyclists of any fitness level.

“The running trails behind Parcours Lake intertwine with bike trails,” Avila said. “There are different activities throughout that trail system such as balance beams, pull-up bars and monkey bars. Those can be used for any level runner.”

She said the Parcours Lake trails contain more than a dozen “stations” for different workouts and could be ideal for anyone who wishes to incorporate more into their workout. But runners and cyclists should be vigilant when using the trails, especially during the warmer months.

“I recommend running with a partner, especially if it is your first time,” Avila said. “Keep an eye out for roots from the trees and wildlife.”

Runners can begin at any point of the trail, but Avila suggests starting at the entry point across from the Fortenberry-Colton Physical Fitness Center to utilize all of the exercise stations.

Aleasha Liddle, Army veteran and spouse, said she enoys the short trail located behind Lyster Army Health Clinic.

“It has steps and a hill,” she said. “It’s a small trail that I incorporate into my regular run when I do it. I love it because it gives me the sense that I’m back in Alaska enjoying a trail run, minus the temperature and humidity factors.”

Anna Bergmark, Amy spouse, frequents the color-coded trail system surrounding Beaver Lake.

“If I am going to run on a trail versus the road, I enjoy the Beaver Lake trails,” she said. “The feeling of escape into the woods with such a convenient location is wonderful. There are three length options. All three are paved and provide rolling hills with the occasional flat stretch. There is a noticeable cross slope, so it is wise to change directions on occasion to avoid some stress on the legs.”

The Beaver Lake trail splits into three unique routes two-thirds of the way into the path. The blue trail, when completed, is 2.24 miles. The green trail is 2 miles and is heavily wooded. The red trail is 1.1 miles.

The trail starts east of the Third Avenue and Gladiator Street intersection, near the Air Assault Tower. It is completely paved. Most of the trail is shaded by trees, making it comfortable for runners and cyclists during warmer months.

Liddle said she prefers the Beaver Lake trails when using a stroller, adding that she suggests taking a partner if you plan to run a trail.

“I recommend bringing a buddy to run any trail,” she said. “Although it doesn’t always happen, it’s important to emphasize safety in numbers. I’ve almost stepped on a snake in the early morning.

“When trail running I think it’s important to focus on purposeful movement rather than speed,” she added. “It’s easy to twist an ankle.”

In addition to remaining alert, Avila suggests planning the run with a map available at Fortenberry-Colton PFC’s front desk.

“Definitely plan where you want to go and the distance you want to run,” she said. “It is easy to begin running a trail and end up over near the commissary.  Grab a map from the front desk, pick a route and familiarize yourself with the route.”

Runners and cyclists searching for a fully-paved trail may also utilize the Air Assault track located across from the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Facility.

“It is a nice 2-mile run and it is flat,” Avila said. “Some people may think it is only for military physical training, but it is open to the public.”

This article was originally published at http://www.army.mil/article/133979/

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