By Alicia Dziak
Are you seeking adventure, scenery and an awesome workout? Look no further than the EVL Trail Runs, hitting Holiday Valley on Sunday, July 24.
The 2016 EVL-4 & EVL-9 Trail Runs kick off from HV’s Mountain Sports Center at Holiday Valley Resort. Trail runners from several surrounding states come to experience technical trail running on wooded trails and single-track at this annual stop on the Eastern Grip Trial Running Series.
According to Mark Lawrence of HeartRateUp, who organizes the races, “The EVL Trail Runs attract 200-300 entrants from several surrounding states that come to experience challenging courses and reasonable entry rates.”
The EVL-4 is a 4.7-mile single lap trail race, with a 10 a.m. start. The course features roughly 700 vertical feet of climbing, single track, double track, trail descents and rock gardens.
The EVL-9, with a 9:30 a.m. start, is an intermediate/advanced level run that features 9.9 miles of trail running, including double track, some gravel, tight-twisty single track and rock gardens using the same start/finish as its 4-mile counterpart. The EVL-9 covers roughly 1,200 feet of climbing using resort and state land trails.
According to Lawrence, making its debut this year is “the addition of the new ‘flow-trail’ descent back to the finish line, sending runners criss-crossing across the mountain as they approach the finish line, adding a fresh, new section of safer trail.”
“The flow trail starts at Spruce Lake and winds its way back and forth across the slopes to end at the Training Center,” added Jane Eshbaugh, Holiday Valley’s marketing director. It has an average 4 percent grade so it is quite gentle.”
Competitors seem to enjoy the competition and location as well.
“I ran the EVL Trail Run last year for the first time mainly because I was completely burnt out on road races and wanted to try something different,” said Bryan Wiler of Springville. “Running on the road became mind-numbing for me and it’s safe to say I’ll never go back to it. Trail runs are better in every possible way — more challenging, better scenery, a more effective all-around workout as you climb hills, avoid rocks and roots, plow through mud and water.
“The EVL race is excellent because there’s plenty of variation,” he added. “There are tough hill climbs, narrow single-track through the woods and some great downhills where you can really make up for lost time on the ascents. There’s strategy involved too. On the road you can always pass someone, but on a trail – especially one with a lot of narrow sections – you really have to pick your spots wisely. Holiday Valley is simply a great location for a run too, which always helps.”
Awards will be given in Overall Male/Female and Masters M/F in each distance. There will also be medals three deep in 10-year age groups for each event.
A post-race party and door prize pool rounds out this action-packed day of trail running.
Sound like fun? Sign up by July 17 before prices increase. Those pre-registered by July 17 are guaranteed a t-shirt (which will also be available on race day as long as they last.) The EVL Trail Runs help support HEART Animal Shelters.
“All levels of runners are welcome to enter,” said Lawrence. “Two course distances offer routes for 4 and 9-mile challenges on wild and challenging single track terrain.”
For more info, visit heartrateup.com.