The Seneca7, a 77.7-mile running relay event around Seneca Lake, will be held Sunday, April 24, and organizers want to remind the driving public to traverse the roadways around the lake with even more care than usual.
The race, which will see 250 teams of seven runners apiece converge on the area, begins Sunday at 6 a.m. in downtown Geneva. Runners will follow a route around the lake that will take them down the west side on Route 14, through Watkins Glen, and back along the eastern shore in the afternoon.
“Runners will be spaced out in six waves, with the first at 6 a.m. and the final wave at 8:45,” says race co-director Jeff Henderson. “We expect to see traffic along the west side of the lake during the morning hours, through Watkins Glen around lunch time, and along the western shore in the later morning and afternoon. East Lake Road near Sampson State Park should see the most traffic between 4 and 8 p.m.”
“Some teams travel with their runner in a vehicle, but a number of teams travel by bicycle,” race co-director Jackie Augustine says. “This helps lower congestion at the ‘exchange points’, where the teams hand off running responsibilities to the next runner. We’re asking the public to watch out for bikes out on the roadway, as well.”
The race had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 in both 2020 and 2021, so this year’s event marks the first time area drivers will see the Seneca7 in three years. Organizers say that this year’s field will be smaller than in past years, with about 80 fewer teams than last time, in keeping with guidance on social distancing for events. Other changes that have been employed include a virtual pre-race briefing, instead of the large gathering of thousands of athletes in the Smith Center for the Arts.
“We’re playing it safe, because we want to be able to safely, responsibly host this event, and keep our athletes and our community healthy at the same time,” says Henderson. “This race wouldn’t exist without the hundreds of volunteers who come out from Geneva and communities around the lake in Ontario, Yates, Schuyler, and Seneca Counties. Keeping everyone safe and healthy is a priority for us.”
“This race became a running tradition in the Finger Lakes for many years, and we were forced to take it virtual in 2020,” says Augustine. “It’s so refreshing to have our teams back – we’re excited to have them back in Geneva, and back on our course where they belong.”
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