As many of you may already know, Ellicottville is home to some of the most entertaining festivals and events in Western New York. From the multiple fetes produced by the Chamber of Commerce, to the countless gatherings afforded by HoliMont and Holiday Valley, there is no shortage of reasons to visit our village. One of these reasons is coming up quite soon, as the 2nd Annual EVL Halloween Half Marathon & 5K hits the streets and country roads of the area on Saturday, Oct. 24. This costume themed race is truly fun for all levels of participants - whether you’re an avid marathoner or casual jogger. Costumes are encouraged, but certainly not mandatory, making this an enjoyable spectator event for those lining the start / finish area in downtown Ellicottville.
The event is the brainchild of Ellicottville locals and event directors Doug and Gwen Bush, who were inspired by several regional events, as well as the Centurion Cycling event - the large cycling series which visited EVL a few summers ago. Doug, being a 10-year veteran participant of the Ironman Triathlons in Canada and Hawaii, exercise and physiology training professional, as well as Gwen with her extensive background in the entertainment industry, saw an opportunity to create something unique to the area, which embodied the spirit and excitement typically associated with Ellicottville. The goal was simple: create a total experience event, which even the most seasoned, serious participant could enjoy alongside those who may only partake in one event in a given year. It’s safe to say with nearly 1,000 runners the first year, that their vision was ultimately successful. With year one in the books, the Bushes have already made several improvements for year two of the event, including bringing in ‘Score This!!!’ timing, with the Championship system used by the biggest marathon events in the worldincluding the Buffalo, NYC, Chicago, and Boston Marathons, as well as the ever popular ‘Turkey Trot’, one of the biggest running events in the country. We were fortunate to catch up with Doug and Gwen Bush, to offer readers some insight into just what makes this event tick, and how you can get the most out of your race day!
A LITTLE ADVICE FROM DOUG BUSH, EVENT ORGANIZER
PAT: What inspired you to come up with an event like this. These ideas don’t happen overnight; how long did it take to formulate the concept?
DOUG: We had been thinking about getting into the event business for a few years. We wanted to put on a half marathon distance because it is challenging but doesn’t take quite as much time and commitment as training for a full marathon. Our goal was to put on a family friendly event that showcased all the great things that are available in our village during a season that is not traditionally tremendously busy in Ellicottville. The Halloween theme seemed a perfect fit and the ideal time of year to have a half marathon race. Plus, it is a whole lot of fun!
PAT: Let’s speak to that fun in the form of a three part question then ... what advice can you give regarding: costume designs, for those dressing up. What should people think of, or perhaps steer clear of?
DOUG: COSTUMES ... One of the most important things you’ll want to think about while planning your costume for the EVL Half run is chafing. Think about how your costume is going to wear over 13 miles. There are products you can buy that can help prevent chafing. Ask about them at your local specialty running store. We certainly ask that you please do not wear items that may danger you or other runners. Another concern is the temperature - steer clear of wearing items that will make you feel colder. Metal pieces such as bracelets and earrings may feel especially cold at freezing temperatures. You’re allowed to have hats, masks, and carried items BUT your race number bib must be placed on the front of your costume and be worn at all times.
RUNNING SHOES ... Shoes are the most important part of running gear - particularly when running a half marathon! Different types of shoes are designed to fit different types of feet and running styles. Visit your local running shoe specialty store for proper fitting. Remember, most often your running shoes will be a half size to a full size larger than your other shoes.
LAYERING ... Remember IT CAN BE COLD in October! Try to avoid cotton fabrics, including cotton socks. Layering in polyester-based materials is an excellent idea as this allows your body to sweat without your clothes retaining moisture. There are several companies that make specialty socks for running. These socks can help with blister prevention. You will want to dress for weather about 10 degrees warmer than actual temperature when you start the race, because you’re body will warm up while running. Dress appropriately so you can HAVE FUN!
PAT: Perfect! Now let’s talk nutrition ... what should one eat the night before race day?
DOUG: Try to eat healthy carbohydrates the night before. Stay away from high fat or too much protein. Pasta and whole grains are a good idea.
PAT: Okay so it’s race day ... what advice can you give to runners for the morning of?
DOUG: Don’t wear new shoes. If at all possible, run with what you are going to wear for a training run so you can see if it will feel comfortable while during the race. Don’t eat something before the race that you don’t usually have before a long run.
PAT: Switching gears ... what prizes are up for grabs this year? Last year there were those amazing medals. Anything similar in mind?
DOUG: There will be the race t-shirt and a medal in all packets this year. The 13.1 has a 4” medal and the 3.1 has a 2.5” medal. There will also be other goodies in the bags, and we are working with potential event sponsors to make sure no one walks away without a great participation bag!
PAT: So when I’m done racing, what’s on tap?
DOUG: We’ve yet to finalize our after-party plan at this time, but we plan on having a bigger and better party with random prizes given out throughout the afternoon.
PAT: With all those great costumes last year, did any stick out as a favorite?
DOUG: We had so many great costumes it would be hard to choose, but we encourage people to check out our website evlhalf.com to get inspiration for their own costume this year. Remember, there are prizes for costumes ...
PAT: Any other projects in the works, given the success of the EVL event?
DOUG: The Poconos Halloween Half is on Nov. 1, 2015 at Split Rock Resort (poconoshalloweenhalf.com). We’re also discussing the idea of a spring half in 2016. We are currently working out the details, and look forward to announcing them when they are worked out!
For more information on the EVL Halloween Half Marathon & 5K, click through to their website at evlhalf.com or find them on Facebook for frequent updates and training insight. Doug and Gwen additionally wish to thank the local community of Ellicottville in year one, including but not limited to participants, local businesses, law enforcement, the Nazareth Food Pantry, Ellicottville Sports Boosters, Springville Track Club, Wingate Hotel, and of course the Village Board. These events aren’t possible without the support of many, and truly thrive in small, character filled towns such as Ellicottville!