The eighth-annual Seneca7, a 77.7-mile relay race, consisting of 348 seven-member teams running the circumference of Seneca Lake, will be held this Sunday, April 29. The event begins in downtown Geneva, with runners heading south along the west side of Seneca Lake, through Yates County, Schuyler County including Watkins Glen, and Seneca County, before returning to Geneva for a finish line celebration extravaganza.
Dozens of would-be teams were shut out during registration this year as the race filled to capacity in just minutes when registration opened on October 31.
“This race was started out of a love for running and a love for the Finger Lakes,” says Seneca7 co-director Jackie Augustine. “We try to expand the field each year to accommodate more interest, but we are limited to the number we can accommodate for safety reasons.”
Augustine notes that demand for a Seneca7 entry has increased every year since its inception in 2011.
Augustine and race co-director Jeff Henderson says that one of the event’s primary goals is to give back to the community. To that end organizers open ‘charity slots’ each year: race entry slots set aside for teams willing to pay an increased registration fee, with proceeds going to local not-for-profit organizations. This year ten lucky charity partners will be on the receiving end of this support.
“Athletes come bearing giftcards and carrying backpacks filled with donated goods for Mothers & Others and other local community groups,” says Augustine, who notes that can drives and shoe donations have been held in the past, as well. “Our runners want to help the community in any way they can, and charity slots are a way to do that on a larger scale.”
Henderson notes that the Seneca7 has donated over $67,000 to more than 40 charities since it began.
“The community enthusiastically comes out in support of this event year after year,” says Henderson. “If we can give back to those in need, we will give back.”