By Alicia Dziak

The all-new Happy Half and 5K is ready to put a smile on your face when it hits Holiday Valley on Saturday, May 7. Choose from three races—a half marathon, a 5K or the much-anticipated Beer Mile.

“We had always planned on adding a spring race in Ellicottville,” said Gwen Bush, one of the event’s organizers. “Then last summer Holiday Valley approached us about having an event at the resort. The half marathon course from Holiday Valley is really nice and we think our competitors are going to be very ‘happy.’”

The half marathon begins at 10 a.m. at Holiday Valley. The course leads runners north through scenic, lightly traveled, rural roads in a great atmosphere. Intersections will be controlled by local Police and County Sheriff’s Departments to ensure a safe experience for all participants. The race ends back at the resort.

The 5K, which starts at 10:20 a.m., also begins and ends at Holiday Valley. The course route takes runners out on Rt. 219, left at Brewers Cross Road and then back again.

Awards will be given in the following age groups for both men and women: Overall Winner, 10 and under (5K only) 19 & Under (half only), 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60 & over.

Do you consider yourself a champion beer drinker? How about trying your skills out at the Beer Mile? This 21-and-over race, sponsored by Southern Tier Brewing, challenges participants to drink a beer, run a quarter mile, and repeat three more times, for a total of one mile and four beers. If you’re up for something with a little less of both, grab a friend and take part in the Beer-lay instead, where you and a teammate each drink two beers and run a half mile.

“We’ve read about the Beer mile and thought it would be a fun event to try,” Bush said.

The Beer Mile awards will be given in the following categories: Fastest Beer Miler in Western NY (Male & Female), Fastest Masters (40+ years old) Beer Miler in Western NY (Male & Female), Fastest two-person (any gender) relay in Western NY, Fastest Happy Half & Beer Mile Combined (Male & Female), Fastest Masters (40+ years old) Happy Half & Beer Mile combined in Western NY (Male & Female), Fastest Happy 5K & Beer Mile Combined (Male & Female), Fastest Masters (40+ years old) Happy 5K & Beer Mile combined in Western NY (Male & Female).

Following the race will be an after-party in the Main Lodge, sponsored by Southern Tier Brewing.

“After the race, (participants) can enjoy the party and all the other outdoor activities Holiday Valley has to offer,” said Bush. “Then of course they can head down to the Village. Some of the local merchants are going to be giving discount coupons for the competitors in their goodie bags.”

Spots are still available but are booking up quickly for all three races. To register, or for more info, visit www.happyhalfrun.com.

“It is our hope that we can put on a fun running event that brings new people to our area at a time of year that people don’t generally think about coming here,” said Bush, adding that, “Ellicottville has so much to offer during any season.”