Runner deadline Oct.6,

MTB deadline Oct. 7

By Colleen Mahoney

With changing leaves as a backdrop, the annual Fall Festival 5k and mountain bike races return for another year thanks to Heart Rate Up. Each race brings hundreds of runners and mountain bikers to Ellicottville for a good cause; proceeds support the HEART Animal Shelters and the Holiday Valley Ski Patrol.

The 2016 5K takes place Saturday, Oct. 8 at Holiday Valley. The race starts at 9:30 a.m., a new time for the race. Starting on Holiday Valley Road, runners will turn onto State Route 219 to Ellicottville Central School, where they take a lap around the parking lot and head back on Rt. 219, with a water station halfway through. From there, runners climb back up Holiday Valley Road to the finish line of the 3.1-mile race. The race is timed by the United States of America Track and Field certified WNY Finish Line Services.

A post-race party with refreshments and door prizes will cap off the morning. Awards for the Fall Festival 5K will be handed out to overall male, female and masters finishers, and top three in all age groups. A 1-mile walk will give you even more opportunities for enjoying Ellicottville’s Fall Festival.

The deadline to register at a discounted fee of $25 is Sept. 30; then registration jumps to $30. Online registration ends Oct. 6 at 9 p.m. To pre-register for the race, visit www.HeartRateUp.com, or  you may register the day of, beginning at 8 a.m. Fall Festival 5K logo mugs and tee shirts are also available for purchase.

For mountain biking enthusiasts, the annual MTB Race will be Sunday, Oct. 9 at 10 a.m. The race takes riders up challenging climbs, through single track and downhills and through Holiday Valley’s new flow-trail section. Distances vary depending on class, ranging from 25 miles for beginner to 4.7 miles for novice.

Classes for the annual MTB Race include novice, beginner, sport and expert. Helmets are required to compete. There will be door prizes and prizes for the top three finishers in all age groups and classes. Some age groups may be combined depending on the number of riders. Top five winners in the expert class will receive a cash prize.

Participants can pre-register at www.HeartRateUp.com, or go to the Holiday Valley Mountain Sports Center on race day at 8:30 a.m. The online registration deadline for the MTB race is Friday, Oct. 7 at 9 p.m. Registration fees vary based on the participants’ class.

Due to the popularity of Fall Festival and typically heavy traffic, race participants are asked to allot plenty of time to get to the starting line. Be sure to come early and stay late to take advantage of all Ellicottville has to offer during its biggest festival of the year.