By Alicia Dziak

Running season is upon us, which means dozens of local races to satisfy your competitive side! Check out these races happening in July:

On Saturday, July 7 at 9 a.m., head to Ripley’s Race To Wellness, a 5K and 1-mile Kids Race at Ripley Town Building, 1 Park Ave. (North State St.) in Ripley. The Children’s Fun Run is at 8:30 a.m. and the 5K Race and Walk begin at 9 a.m. A T-shirt is guaranteed for all pre-registered participants and refreshments are provided. Awards for overall and age-group winners.

Saturday, July 14 at 7 p.m. kicks off The Woods at Bear Creek Trail Races at The Woods at Bear Creek Resort in Franklinville. The event consists of three new trail races: a 3-mile trail run at 7 p.m. Saturday; 4 miles on Sunday at 8 a.m.; and 6 miles at 10 a.m. You can optionally book accomodations on site and stay overnight. Run one, two or all three races. Net proceeds benefit WNY Heroes!

The following day, on July 15 at 6:45 a.m., head to the 40th annual Presque Isle Half Marathon at Beach 1 at Presque Isle State Park in Erie, Pa. The race is one lap of Presque Isle State Park followed by a picnic at Beach 1.

On Tuesday, July 17 at 7 p.m., the Okay 5K Fun Run/Wellness Walk comes to Delaware Park’s Ring Road in Buffalo. This wellness walk/run will appeal to first time 5K runners and seasoned veterans alike — it’s all okay! Proceeds benefit the substance abuse prevention programs of Preventionfocus. The first 100 registrants will receive a free T-shirt! There’s a post-race party with bronze, silver and gold medals for top three male and female finishers in five-year age categories and special recognition for first time 5K runners!

On Thursday, July 19 at 6:30 p.m., check out the St. John Vianney Kickoff Run at St. John Vianney R.C. Church, 2950 Southwestern Blvd. (near Michael Road) in Orchard Park. Participants will compete for $1,300 in cash prizes awarded to top five male/female finishers and top three male/female Masters finishers.

Friday, July 20 at 7 p.m. brings the Subaru Buffalo 4-Mile Chase to Bidwell Parkway. This race is open to runners of all ages and experience and includes a post-race party in the Elmwood Village. Highlights include $10,000 in prize money; a couples division; T-shirts to the first 1,100 runners; very deep age group awards; a kids race; live music and entertainment; and beer at the post-race party. The race is USATF sanctioned.

On Saturday, July 21 at 8:30 a.m., head to the Laurel Run 8K at the Silver Creek Village Square, corner of Central Avenue and Main Street (Route 20). Cash awards will be awarded to the top three male and female in the 8K. Proceeds of this event support people with developmental disabilities.

Also that day at 9:30 a.m. is the Character Chase 5K in Hamburg. Race along the certified course through the Village of Hamburg. T-shirts to the first 250 registrants. Awards for top male/female, team challenge and age groups. Plus, there’s a post-race party at Carte Blanche with live music.

On Sunday, July 22 at 7:30 a.m., check out the Sunrise Camel Spider 5K at the American Legion Post 567, 3740 N. Buffalo Road (corner of North Buffalo Road and Webster Road) in Orchard Park. Enjoy a post-race hot breakfast with Paula’s Donuts, scrambled eggs, sausage, bagels, rolls, coffee, tea, juice and, of course, beer for those hardy folk. The first 150 to register are guaranteed a T-shirt, so register now to support the vets!

That same day at 9:30 a.m. is the EVL-9 and EVL-4 Trail Runs at Holiday Valley in Ellicottville. Competitors can choose from 4-mile or 9.8-mile courses on off-road trails including ski area access roads, single track trails and tight-twisty downhills throughout Holiday Valley and state lands in these races, which are part of the Eastern Grip Trail Running Series. The events help support the Heart Animal Shelter.

On Saturday, July 28 at 8 a.m., check out the Randolph Toymakers 5K Fundraiser at 29 Center St. in Randolph. This race raises funds for the local non-profit group that makes small wooden toys that are given to children in need around the world.

Also that day is the McGreevy Run For All Heroes 5K at Portville Central School, 500 Elm St. in Portville. The event is to honor the memory of Michael McGreevy, a U.S. Navy Seal from Portville, and all our heroes who served our nation. Proceeds go toward the McGreevy Memorial Scholarship Fund which awards scholarships each year to individuals who exemplify McGreevy’s qualities of honor, integrity and achievement.

July 28 is also the day the Bonefrog Challenge returns to Kissing Bridge. This race features more than 9 miles with over three dozen obstacles plus hills and mud.

On Sunday, July 29, get ready for the Buffalo Paddle-Bike-Run at Silo City in Buffalo. Participants can choose distances then race via paddle (kayak or canoe), bike (any bike and bike helmet required), then run!

Get ready for a month full of a little friendly competition that’s sure to get your heart pounding.