WATERVILLE — Alumni of Thomas College helped open a new 3-mile trail system to the public Sunday.

The college inaugurated the trails at the sixth annual Homecoming Weekend Terrier Trot 5K race. The Sukeforth family, whose donation funded the project, was honored at a celebration Saturday. The paths have been collectively named The Sukeforth Family Trail System.

The new looped routes are suitable for running, walking and mountain biking. Hills and flat stretches provide a variety of terrain.

Head cross country coach Kerry Smart said that the trails provide a “great opportunity to welcome the community to campus.” Smart has coached runners at Thomas College for 11 seasons and also serves as the director of athletic fundraising.

Runner Nick Kopf crosses a bridge during the Terrier Trot event that was part of the Thomas College Homecoming weekend on Sunday. Runners ran through campus, fields and woods on the new Sukeforth Family Trust System that is now open to the public.

The system contains numerous loops, which can be combined in a variety of ways. Trailheads with maps are located by Smith Field and the practice field. One route measures 2.33 miles in total but can be subdivided into shorter distances, and another is 0.66 miles. Since 2009, the campus has housed the roughly half-mile route, which is maintained in part by Kennebec Messalonskee Trails volunteers.

“We’re trying to figure out which loops are the best and how to make the loops work for races and competitions and using our imaginations to find the best routes for student-athletes and runners,” Smart said. The men’s and women’s cross country teams have been practicing on the trails since late August.

A 0.78-mile stretch of challenging terrain has been proposed as an addition. The college is getting quotes on the project and looking for a donor, according to Smart.

Smart said she has enjoyed seeing people enjoy the new paths already and welcomes newcomers to campus.

Meg Robbins can be contacted at 861-9239 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @megrobbins

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