Pardon the pun in the headline (I’m a sucker for lame puns) but there’s an event that you need to catch this fall season in Ellicottville - the Halloween Half Marathon & 5K. Now in its junior campaign, the race brings the very best out of the sport of running. Between smiling faces in costumes, a swath of people in bright shoes getting a fall sweat going or the (many) post-race beers being consumed, the Halloween Half became an instant success.
Doug and Gwen Bush, the event’s creators and planners, have extensive experience in both the operation and participation of events such as this. Doug, a multiple Ironman athlete turned endurance athlete coach, has seen first-hand the type of structure and planning a race needs to succeed.
“We wanted to bring a fun event to the community we love and call home,” Gwen said. "A half marathon is a great distance for running but it may be just a bit too much of a challenge for some runners, so we coupled it with an awesome 5K."
“Western New York is so great for running,” Gwen said. “Ellicottville - especially in the fall - is a gorgeous place to run. The crisp air, the leaves changing, town getting ready to go for winter … it all adds up to this perfect weekend for a Halloween event.”
With any new event, getting people to sign up and commit can be difficult. As an initial estimate, the Bush’s came up with 200 as the number of people they thought would sign up. As the event got closer, the number grew … and grew … until it reached an astounding 800 (!). Winter in Ellicottville is obviously the busiest season, followed by summer. Spring and Fall, which are less apt to have the organized chaos you see during the busy seasons, was the perfect time to host a race.
“There’s so much stuff to do here for our runners after the race is finished,” Gwen said. “The bars, restaurants, shopping. Most times, runners won’t come alone - they’ll bring their families or spouses. So that adds to the economic impact that we want to bring to town as well. This year, we’re expecting close to 1,800 visitors, which is fantastic.”
“We’re so excited for this year’s race. We’ve got people coming from Buffalo, Pennsylvania, Canada, the Bronx … and even Australia! There will be a couple of surprises waiting for you on the course as well. It’s going to be great!”
When you're done racing (or watching!) head to Ellicottville Brewing Company for the afterparty. EBC, an official sponsor of the EVL Halloween Half & 5K, plays host to the award ceremony (which begins at 12:30pm, after the 5K concludes). They'll have cold post-race beers for you to enjoy, and the party goes until after the half marathoners are done.
The Halloween Half & 5K takes place on Saturday, October 29 in downtown Ellicottville, NY. Sign up at www.evlhalf.com (plenty more race info on the site as well). There will be awards given out for: Best Group (two or more people), Best Individual, Funniest, Scariest, Most Girly, Best Kid & Best in Show.