Half Marathon, 5K and Kids’ Race

By Alicia Dziak

Just because Fall Fest has come and gone, doesn’t mean fall in Ellicottville is over. The EVL Half is coming to town this weekend — an all-new event that gives people yet another reason to visit Ellicottville this time of year.

The EVL Half is the brainchild of Ellicottville resident Doug Bush and his wife, Gwen, who are endurance coaches and together run Endurance Factor, a company that coaches runners, triathletes and cyclists. As part of Endurance Factor’s endeavors, the couple attends many big endurance sporting events in places such as Lake Placid.

“(Going to these events) is such an exciting thing to do, and we wanted to bring an endurance sport to Ellicottville,” said Gwen. “We thought it would be a great way to show off our town and bring in new people who may not be skiers.”

The half marathon covers 13.1 miles, and is a true test of endurance. The course takes runners north from the village, on rural roads, beginning and ending on North Monroe Street by the City Garage Ski Shop. Water stations will be available at miles 1.5, 4, 6, 8, 9.5 and 11 during the race, and restroom facilities will be provided at miles 4, 6, 8 and 9.5.

While the half marathon is geared toward serious runners, others looking for a great workout have the opportunity to join the fun by competing in the 5K, a cardio workout that covers 3.1 miles, also heading north out of the village, toward the library and back to town. The 5K course will include water stations at the 1- and 2-mile marks.

A sold out crowd of about 850 runners for these two events is expected.

“We’ve had a much bigger reception than we had thought!” said Gwen.

“This event is new to the area as a whole. It is not only a fun run but a serious competition for those that wish to take it as such,” explained Chris Chapman, media and communications manager for the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce. “This is the first race of its kind to be held in Ellicottville. The race will bring somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,500 to 1,750 people to the village.” Included in that number are friends and family members supporting the runners.

Athletes will compete for the top times and a chance for bragging rights in various categories. Awards for males and females will be given in the following age groups: 14 and Under (5K), 15-19 (5K), 19 & Under (half), 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60 & Over, as well as for the overall winner in each group.

The half and 5K are sold out, but there are still spaces left in the kids’ race — a great opportunity to get the younger set excited about running!

The kids’ race, for children ages 4-12, covers a distance of about 3/4 mile, beginning at ending on Monroe Street. Participants receive a fabulous — and edible — chocolate medal from Ellicottville’s favorite sweet shop, Watson’s Chocolate. The kids’ race begins at 10 a.m. Register on Halloween for $10, or on race day for $15.

Besides the fun Ellicottville atmosphere, what else sets this weekend’s races apart from others? The costumes!

While dressing up is optional, why not get one more use out of those digs and enter for a chance to win the costume contest? The contest, sponsored by Watson’s, will be held at 2:15 p.m. at Ellicottville Brewing Company (EBC), and winners will receive gift certificates from Watson’s and Dina’s.

If you’re already signed up for the half or the 5K, packet pickup will be at The City Garage parking lot at 5 Monroe St. Ellicottville on Friday, Oct. 31 from  4:30 to 7 p.m., and Saturday, Nov. 1 from 7 to 10:30 a.m. (Kids’ race packet pickup is from 8 to 9:45 a.m.) Parking will not be allowed in this lot; however, free parking is available on the village streets and paid parking is available on race day at a private lot at 12 Mill St., less than a quarter mile from the race start.

The half marathon begins at 11 a.m. on North Monroe St., and the 5K begins at 11:15 a.m.

Following the race, runners will enjoy an after-party at EBC.

Various race merchandise, such as T-shirts, wine glasses and stickers, will be available for purchase at the registration area and at EBC.

Be sure to check your race packet for coupons and race day-only discounts at many of the village shops and stroll through town to find additional deals.

“Each merchant has the ability to set what they will offer if participants identify themselves,” said Chapman. “They will have signs that will be distributed this week, identifying themselves to the race participants. The signs will be similar in design as other groups that come to the village for various events.”

Don’t miss this opportunity for big savings on holiday shopping or ski season gear.

Looking to make the day even better? Take time to give back. Help support the community with a donation to the Nazareth Food Pantry at the United Church of Ellicottville. Donations of items such as dried and canned foods, dish soap, paper products and toothpaste will be accepted at registration on behalf of the United Church, and Coffee Culture will be offering free coffee to everyone who brings a donation — it’s a win-win!

In addition, a portion of the race proceeds will go to the Nazareth Food Pantry, as well as to the Ellicottville Sports Boosters.

Whether you’re running, walking or just coming to watch and cheer on your favorite competitor, the EVL Half adds an exciting new element to November in Ellicottville.

“It will undoubtedly be a great thing for the area,” Chapman said.

“We are excited about this event because we hope it will add another thing that makes Ellicottville a wonderful and unique place to live and visit,” Gwen concluded.

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