Generally, the months of September and October in our area welcome stunning fall foliage, hayrides, apple cider, pumpkin everything! and a cool, crisp breath of fresh air. Many outdoor athletes can’t wait for fall’s ideal running conditions - the drop in temperature is a much anticipated change that we undoubtedly look forward to as summer begins to wind down.
Whether a beginner or a seasoned vet, if you were one of the many who took a rain check on summer’s running events in the 80+ degree heat or extremely wet weather, let this fall be your time to lace up and go! Cattaraugus, McKean and Chautauqua Counties have plenty of fun and exciting races for you to get your running fixes at. Here are our top three …
4 FOR 44
On Sunday, September 10, runners will have an opportunity to experience a truly unique race operating on the concept of a four-person relay, with each runner conquering a section of the course which circles around beautiful Chautauqua Lake! Charming scenic backdrops will take competitors through lakeside villages, parks, wine country, and even passes through Lucille Ball’s hometown. Not to mention, it begins and ends at the award winning Southern Tier Brewing Company! Who can say no to that?
In its inaugural year, the 4 for 44 Relay encourages racers to define their teams on course by wearing team shirts or costumes. Step it up a notch by decorating your team vehicles to match! The after-party at STB will be a guaranteed good time with live music, games, and an ice cold beer (or two!) After all, if you’re going to run that far, you’ve definitely earned a few brews to your name. Each participant will receive a custom finisher medal that doubles as a bottle opener, a tech tee, and an awesome day with friends, family, and co-workers.
The 4 for 44 race directors are the same folks who started the EVL Halloween Half & 5K and the Happy Half & 5K - Doug and Gwen Bush. According to Gwen, “The 4 for 44 race involves not only running, but strategic planning and a team effort to win! Each team member will run three legs of varied lengths, totaling approximately 9-13 miles each. While one athlete is running, the other teammates drive to the next transfer station to get ready for the hand-off.”
The Bush’s have done an excellent job of giving you and your team all the tools you need for success. As some sections of the race are flat and some are hilly, captains will need to use some strategy for running the race. A spreadsheet can be found on the 4 for 44 website under ‘General Info’ to help captains plan their course of action and assign legs to team members.
If you’re reading this article before Sept. 10 and would like to enter, I suggest high-tailing it over to the 4 for 44 website to register! For more information, visit www.4for44.com, find them on Facebook @evlhalfmarathon, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. And remember, there’s a beautiful lake, a team that’s counting on you, and beer at the end! BEER!
MARILLA TRAIL RUN
Whether you’re a beginner, hardcore trail runner, or someone in between, consider lacing up to experience the stunning scenic beauty of the Marilla Trail Run. Set for Saturday, October 14, participants have the option to race 14 miles, 7 miles, or hike 4 miles - truly something for all endurance levels. After all, who wouldn’t want to take advantage of the “world class wilderness” that the Marilla reservoir in Bradford, PA, has to offer?
“The thing I like most about this race is that it appeals to such a wide range of runners. For the first time trail runner, there will be hills and technical trails, but it’s not too demanding. For the seasoned veteran - you’ll just love it!” said Josh Preston, Race Director.
To elaborate, runners are taken over a variety of terrain-gravel paths, dirt trails, and winding single track, with aid stations spread throughout. Except for one single road crossing, the 14 and 7 mile courses are 100% off-road. The race features state-of-the-art chip timing by Score This!!! Following the race, stick around for a delicious BBQ chicken lunch, awards, and door prizes!
Everyone who crosses the finish line will receive a finisher medal, and awards will be given to age groups and overall best times. Last year, finishers also received custom pint glasses; this year’s prizes are still in the works at the current moment. Josh said, “At the end of the race, we draw bib numbers and pass out a ton of free giveaways to our participants.” Last year, gifts from donators and sponsors included jackets, socks, water bottles and watches, to name a few!
When Josh started trail running locally about 5-6 years ago, he was shocked that there were so many beautiful trails in the Bradford, PA, area that runners weren’t taking advantage of. This motivated him to organize the Marilla Trail Run; one of his biggest goals has been trying to connect this race to the trail running community to let them know it’s around.
All proceeds from the Marilla Trail Race will benefit the Tuna Valley Trail Association and their ongoing commitment to the development and maintenance of trails locally in the Tuna Valley. For more information, find them on Facebook and Instagram @marillatrailrace, or head to their website www.marillatrailrace.com. For questions, email the race director at email@example.com.
EVL HALLOWEEN HALF MARATHON & 5K
On Saturday, October 28, the EVL Halloween Half Marathon & 5K return to downtown Ellicottville, NY for a “scary” good time! This race is a can’t-miss opportunity if you’re looking to have some festive fun in a competitive yet family-friendly race event. Well-known for the vast array of runners who attend clad in their spookiest and most creative costumes, athletes of all abilities are encouraged to enter!
Whether choosing 13.1 or 3.1 miles, runners from near and far look forward to the opportunity to tread over scenic country roads in cooler temps, and treat themselves to the fabulous after-party held at the Ellicottville Brewing Company. You can expect EBC’s Beer Garden to be decorated for Halloween, with brews a flowin’, some tasty chili to warm your soul, and a live DJ spinning good vibes and handing out prizes for plenty of super fun crowd participation contests!
Although not mandatory, runners are encouraged to dress in costume, with awards for Best Group (two or more people), Best Individual, Funniest, Scariest, Most Girly, Best Kid, and Best in Show! Of course, there will also be male and female awards given based on age groups for the run itself. Everyone receives a custom finisher medal, t-shirt, and swag bag.
“The EVL Half Marathon & 5K was the first event we hosted,” said Gwen Bush, Race Director. “Every year we have grown in size, and we try to add new aspects to the race to make it exciting for our athletes who come back year after year.” (As mentioned earlier, Gwen and Doug Bush also direct the 4 for 44 and the Happy Half & 5K race.)
Gwen continued, “We have amazing volunteers. They are the ones handing athletes water and food, giving registration packets, cleaning up, and passing out medals. Ellicottville Brewing Company and Ellicottville Entertainment throw a fun-filled after-party with great beer, hilarious games, and a lot of prizes are sponsored by the local merchants in Ellicottville. This event certainly would not be the same without the Ellicottville residents, the local governments, the police departments, the sheriff’s department, the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce, and the businesses that support the race.”
Grab your friends, plan your costumes, and get yourself signed up for this year’s race. Bot the half marathon and the 5k always sell out, so get in before it’s too late!