Scary Good Fun

To some, the idea of running a half marathon is a scary endeavor.  After all, running 13.1 miles isn’t something you just jump out of bed in the morning and do.  Preparation and training are needed to work your way up to that kind of distance. 

If you’re familiar with the Ellicottville fitness scene, then at some point you’ve probably had the pleasure of meeting Doug and Gwen Bush.  Endurance athletes in their own right, they are always looking for new and exciting ways to challenge themselves.  The couple recently decided to take on the challenge of bringing a half marathon to Ellicottville. 

The EVL Halloween Half Marathon, which also features a 5K and a Kids Race, will take place on Saturday, Nov. 1 at 11am.  One of the unique aspects of this race – as evidenced in the event name - is that it will feature a Halloween theme so not only should you start training for the big day, but you should also start planning your race costume.

Catering to individuals andfamilies of all ages, EVL Half (for short) invites your energetic young ones to join in on the fitness fun.  The non-timed fun run for kids ages 4-12 will allow young runners to finish the ¾-mile run at the same finish line as the 5K and Half Marathon runners.  All registrants of this race will receive a finisher medal.

“We wanted to bring something a bit different to Ellicottville during what is traditionally a slow time of year for the community,” Bush stated.  “The idea came from a dinner we were having with friends; we discussed the idea of organizing a running race.  Overall we want to create a fun event, but it will still be a serious one that has a certified course and chip timing.”

If you think running can’t be fun, you’d be well advised to rethink that notion.  You’ve seen an increase in the popularity of themed races like foam runs, color runs, and glow runs.  Pictures of these unique races inundate Facebook timelines and Twitter and Instagram feeds alike.  According to Bush, the Buffalo Color Run, which took place on Aug. 16, attracted 7,000 participants.  With that said, Bush seemed skeptical as to whether or not those kinds of “fun runs” had real staying power.  He went on to state that in looking to build an event that could be an annual success, which he is looking to do with the EVL Halloween Half Marathon, he looked at races like the Wineglass Half and Full Marathon in Corning as an example - every year it sells out months in advance and attracts around 3,000 participants.  Naturally, numbers like that are a significant boon to local tourism. 

Speaking of numbers, so far the ladies are due to be representing the Ellicottville Halloween Half Marathon & 5K in a very big way.  An impressive 75% of the entrants thus far are women.  Typically in the world of half marathons, women make up approximately 55% of the participation numbers. 

If you’ve never run a half marathon, or even a 5K for that matter, Bush’s company, Endurance Factor, is offering some phenomenal tips on how to best prepare.  If you go to www.evlhalf.com and click on the Race Info tab, you will see a section titled Training where you can download information on how to train yourself to successfully complete whichever race you decide to take part in.  A little preparation can go a very long way and ultimately be the difference between just finishing a race and having a fun time while finishing a race.  So far, over 250 training guides have been downloaded. 

Let’s get back to the topic of having fun.  After all, this is a Halloween themed event so participants should be in store for some ghouls and goblins to go along with race bibs and New Balance sneakers. 

“I hope a good portion (of participants) show up with costumes, but the important thing is we end up having a fun, safe event,” said Bush.  “I guess if it were 50/50 it would be ideal. It will be interesting to see what type of costumes people show up in.”

Plenty of safety precautions have been organized for this race.  Both the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Department and the Ellicottville Police Department have been consulted to ensure the safety of the course for the runners and to make sure that the race does not cause an inconvenience to the Ellicottville community.

Following the race, an awards ceremony (as well as some fun celebratory events that have yet to be finalized) will be held at the Ellicottville Brewing Co.  All in all the day promises to be a one-of-a-kind experience, which if the Bushes have their way, will become a spooky-fun Ellicottville staple for many years to come. 

Entry fee for the Half Marathon is $65.  The 5K is $20 and the Kids Run is $10.  You can register at www.evlhalf.com.  

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