E.A. Sports Today

Building bridges

New bridge is one of the featured elements to the new Golden Springs Trail that will stage Thursday’s Wing & A Prayer cross country race

Chris Prichard pauses to check the progress of the bridge he’s building that will be part of the Golden Springs Trail cross country course.

By East Alabama Sports Today

The newest offering in the John Moore Collection of cross country courses will be center stage Thursday when the newest race on the county schedule answers the starting gun.

The Wing & A Prayer Invitational is a collaborative effort between Faith Christian and Donoho on the Moore-designed Golden Springs Trail adjacent to Golden Springs Baptist Church in Anniston.

The bridge builders: (from left) Chris Prichard, Marcus Strickland and John Moore.

It’s the fifth course in the area that carries the Moore stamp. The retired White Plains coach also has designed the courses at White Plains, Munford, McClellan and Lincoln, but as is his way, he deflects the credit.

“There are a ton of community business men who have helped me with this project,” he said. “Many of these guys run their own businesses during the day, so they let me borrow their equipment when they can. They all also are a wealth of knowledge.”

One of the volunteers, Chris Prichard, built the seven-foot-wide bridge that is a prominent feature early on the trail and lent his contribution during the evenings. Another, Derek Barksdale, was a regular on the crew before being called to Florida to help with Hurricane Ian relief effort.

Runners from 18 teams will traverse a course winds its way back and forth through the woodlands across the street from the church, but the way it’s designed it offers spectator viewing to about 75 percent of the race.

“As far as courses I’ve building, this is the shadiest,” Moore said, referring, of course, to the tree canopy as opposed to any clandestine construction in the woods. “I’ve not a fan of loop courses, because you run the risk of the last guy being caught by the first guy, but you operate within the terrain you have.”

In terms of projected race times, this race is expected to run about the same as the races at White Plains.

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