By Alicia Dziak

For many, the EVL Half and 5K is about a lot more than just running. Now in its fourth year, this must-attend race is about being creative and dressing up, spending time with your running buddies and, of course, the awesome t-shirts and finisher’s medals!

It’s about the costumes.

Outside of Ellicottville, there aren’t a whole lot of races that encourage you to dress up. Superhero? 80s chick? Sloth from the Goonies? Yes! Costume awards will be given for Best Group (two or more people), Best Individual, Funniest, Scariest, Most Girly, Best Kid and Best in Show.

It’s about the medals and t-shirts.

Anyone who knows the EVL Half knows that the sought-after medals are reason enough to cross the finish line. Gwen Bush of Endurance Factor LLC, who organizes the race, said the process for choosing the design starts in the beginning of the year.  “I first have to find the EVL Creature for the year and then I come up with a sketch or image.  I work with my medal team at Ashworth Awards who take my idea and turn it into medal!” she said.

As for the T-shirts, (which, as a female, I appreciate the separate styles for women!), those are custom designed by Patra Lowes of City Garage.

It’s about the after-party.

What better place for an after-party than at Ellicottville Brewing Company? Enjoy hard earned craft beer and many wonderful giveaway prizes from area businesses.  Awards will be given in a variety of age groups.

It’s about the memories.

While the course remains the same as in years past, some special treats await. “We will have some dancing witches on course along with some musicians in a couple locations as well this year!” Bush noted.

“I have been running this race for the last four years,” said Kim Pazzuti of Springville, who is registered for the 5K. “One of my favorite things about this event is the atmosphere— it is such a great time!”

“It’s fun because everyone dresses up,” said Alex Lineen, 11, of Hamburg, who ran the 5K last year. “I like the bubble machine at the end and the super cool medals.”

His brother, Eli, 9, said, “I’m looking forward to doing this race for the first time because people dress up in silly costumes and it’s a good course.” He also added, “I’m expecting to get a first place finish in my age group!”

Both the half marathon (11 a.m. start) and the 5K (11:15 a.m. start) begin and end in the heart of town at 5 Monroe Street on Saturday, Oct. 28. If you’re still looking to sign up, visit www.evlhalf.com for more info.