By Kellen M. Quigley

 Some of the area’s toughest runners will gather Sunday, July 21 at Holiday Valley’s Mountain Sports Center for the annual EVL Trail Races.

These 4- and 9-mile trail running races utilize resort and state lands for the traditional trail running races, which began to attract the toughest of the tough since 2003. 

Participants from several surrounding states come to Ellicottville where Holiday Valley will once again send runners deep into technical trail running territory.

Registration opens at 8 a.m. on race-day at the Holiday Valley Mountain Sports Center where race-day registration is welcome, but at a slightly higher rate. However, no one will be turned away to compete. 

The 9-mile race starts at 9:30 a.m. and the 4-mile course starts at 10. Please use your judgement when entering the long course. Ample fitness and trail running experience is required, so walkers are not permitted on the long course due to its duration.

The 4-mile route is a great way to test the waters and experience the thrill of the chase up and down the mountain. It’s a one-lap race that climbs the mountain and uses single track trails that hide no secrets of the tight-twisty trails we love so much featuring one water station.

This course also welcomes walkers.

The 9-mile course is for experienced runners that test their fitness on single track and technical terrain. This track will sending runners deep into single track heaven, state land trails and the amazingly wicked descent back to the finish line sharing the same start and finish as the 4-mile course.

Both courses feature everything from gravel access road starts up the mountain, tight technical single track trails that utilize resort and state land property and the infamous flow-trail downhill that traverses the mountain to the finish. Three water stations, some self-serve, on the long course provide ample resources for the demands at hand.

Runners will have an early exit point if they are not up to the task by around mile 3.5. Long course entrants not up for the terrain will be redirected to the finish at this point. Time limit for the 9-mile course re-directs any entrants that take more than 45 minutes to get to mile 3.5 to proceed back down the mountain. Please use your judgement.

Post-race party, awards and athletic stories abound as runners share their experiences during the annual EVL Trail Runs.

Awards will include the overall best finisher for men, women and masters categories in each distance. There will also be top-3 finisher awards for each distance for under 19, age 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69 and 70 and up.

The first 300 participants are guaranteed a swank finisher medal proving they do not fear the mountain. A beautifully crafted 3D medal including the current race logo is sure to become a collectors item.

All entrants are invited to the Holiday Valley Pool after the awards ceremony for the EVL-Trail Run Pool Party. Half-price pool entry coupons will be given to those interested before the race.  Enjoy great food, drinks and poolside fun!

Held rain or shine, clear your calendar and get ready for one of the most challenging and wicked days of trail running action of the summer!