Jeff Rook and Kevin Korzeniewski are two of the founding organizers of the It’s A Wonderful Run 5K which is part of the It’s A Wonderful Life Festival held annually in Seneca Falls. They were in studio one-day ahead of the 2022 race with information for the over 4,500 runners and walkers expected to descend on Seneca Falls on Saturday afternoon.
This segment originally aired on Finger Lakes Today on FingerLakes1.com on Friday, December 9, 2022. More information for participants and Seneca Falls residents appears below the video.
To Our Wonderful Runners and Walkers:
Fourteen GLORIOUS YEARS! Welcome!!
If you’ve done this before and only need cliff notes, here they are but we highly suggest reading the whole thing (CAPS is not yelling, I promise):
- NO DOGS ALLOWED (unless service dogs allowed under the ADA of course). I may be yelling here.
- PACKET PICK UP – FRIDAY 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and SATURDAY 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. ONLY (Friday would be great!). Community Center address: 35 Water Street, Seneca Falls.
- Yes, you can have other people pick up your bib. Yes, you can pick up other people’s bibs. Bring a bag!
- To lessen the spread of Covid, RSV, Flu A B C & D, Monkey Pox, and whatever else is brewing, YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO WAIT IN GYM FOR ANY REASON. Wear a mask if you would like but they are not required.
- Our store will be OPEN per usual during registration. There is an additional store location this year as well at 32 Fall Street.
- No refunds or deferrals regardless of the reason and we cannot change from in person to virtual or vice versa. Rest assured your money will go to a good cause! If you cannot make it to the race, yes you can have a friend pick up your shirt/bib.
- No, we can’t mail out shirts at all if you cannot attend… we cannot make any exceptions. If you cannot make it to the race, yes you can have a friend pick up your shirt/bib.
- If you signed up VIRTUALLY your shirt WILL be mailed to you.
- The Community Center will be closed to ALL car traffic Saturday. Here is parking information as of now: https://itsawonderfulrun5k.com/directions/ ***HOWEVER, NOTE IF THERE ARE SIGNS FORBIDDING YOU FROM PARKING IN THESE AREAS OR ANY AREA, PLEASE ABIDE BY THE SIGNS***. We highly suggest using our shuttles. More on that later.
- WALKERS/STROLLERS line up in the WAY BACK please. There will be a sign. NO RUNNING with strollers. Do not line up more than 3 across, as this makes it tough for others to pass. And if you do see people “breaking these rules” please give them the benefit of the doubt that they simply don’t know the rules and aren’t doing it on purpose to ruin your evening. We have a lot of “new” or “casual” 5k-ers in this race and they may simply not understand race etiquette.
- NO DOGS ALLOWED (unless service dogs allowed under the ADA of course). Still yelling.
- No awards ceremony this year. We will be handing out awards and offering LIMITED snacks. Please be sure to visit our many restaurants downtown for something more substantial, especially our sponsors THE GOULD HOTEL, 84 FALL, and THE RED BRICK PUB. Also at the Red Brick Pub… bring your race bib after the race, show it to them and get a free beer (21 and older, please. No fakes).
- If you haven’t already, please “Like” and follow us on Facebook. That is our choice of social media platforms (we are probably showing our age here) and is how you will get the most up to date information. We will post on that throughout the day. We can’t, however, promise to answer messages. We do our best.
Every single person you encounter this weekend who are helping with the race are volunteers. Many of them have been with us since the beginning and many forgo doing the race so they can stay behind the scenes to help ensure things run smoothly. We feel so blessed in this department. We all truly have the best intentions and do everything within our power to ensure you all have a great experience with our race. Thank you in advance for your patience and good holiday cheer and spirit!
If you’ve been here before…welcome back and yes, this letter sounds very familiar. If you’re new, WELCOME TO BEDFORD FALLS. We hope your time here is magical. Here is some important info:
RACE SHIRTS –
If you want to swap sizes, you can come back to Registration AFTER THE RACE is completed to see if there are any shirts available (from no-shows) to trade. We will not do any trades, etc. prior to the completion of the race. If you are unable to attend the race, again, we still cannot mail shirts to you.
REGISTRATION/BIB PICK UP –
Once again this year’s registration and bib pickup will take place at the Seneca Falls Community Center at 35 Water Street IN THE GYM IN THE BACK. Pickup hours are on Friday, December 9th from 5PM – 8PM ONLY and on race day, Saturday, December 10th, from 12PM– 4PM. Please do not arrive earlier than those times as you will not be able to get in any earlier than these stated times. The Community Center is the building right next to the bridge/start line.
We IMPLORE/BEG/PLEAD for you to come down Friday night and pick up your race bibs. There will be a tremendous amount of people on Saturday and the more registrations we can take care of on Friday, the easier Saturday will be for everyone. If you do come on Saturday, make sure you give yourself enough time to pick up your stuff. The bib pick up will close promptly at 4:00PM and the race will start promptly at 4:40PM.
I hope it doesn’t need to be said, but I’ll say it anyway… we understand that these last few years have been trying and everyone’s patience has run thin but please do not yell at the poor people running registration or traffic or the water station or finish line. They are all volunteers. They do this to support us and their town. They get nothing out of this except for the good-feeling that comes with knowing they were a part of something that helps those in need. Many of them are high school students who we hope continue this legacy of giving. We are very protective of our little elves and we will not tolerate anyone yelling at, berating, or otherwise being a scrooge or grinch to any of them. Thank you in advance.
Visit https://itsawonderfulrun5k.com/directions/ and you’ll see a listing for available race day parking. You’ll also see a map that illustrates different parking areas on a map of Seneca Falls. All parking areas are very close to the Seneca Falls Community Center. **Please note- some of these lots may close early. There are also many side streets to park on as well…but be sure to adhere by all No Parking signs. Please adhere to them – and DO NOT PARK in business lots or you will be towed and that would ruin your otherwise awesome night. Mynderse Academy parking (105 Troy Street) is plenty and encouraged. Which is a segue to below:
There will again be two race shuttles (school buses) this year that will be traveling from Mynderse Academy (our local high school), 105 Troy Street, to The Gould Hotel, which is right near the Community Center. Once you are dropped off, head down the hill (toward the canal). You will see “the bridge” and the Community Center is right next to it. Honestly just follow the throngs of people. Shuttles will run from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., then again after the race from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Stay later and enjoy our town! There are TONS of things going on (more on that later). We understand there was a snafu with the shuttles last year after the race. That has been addressed.
OTHER SHUTTLES –
OUR SHUTTLES ARE THE SCHOOL BUSES. The It’s a Wonderful Life Committee are also providing shuttles. Here is their information: https://therealbedfordfalls.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/2022-IAWL-Shuttle-Times.pdf Remember, the race shuttles are school buses.
There are many bathroom facilities scattered throughout the town. If you use a business restroom, please support their business. There will be plenty of portable restrooms behind the Community Center. We believe the Canal-side Boater Amenities Facility, located behind downtown Seneca Falls on the south side in the middle of the Seneca Falls canal harbor, will be open and has showers and bathrooms as well. No restrooms will be available inside of the Community Center. Again, tons of portapotties will be available.
THE RACE –
The race starts on the Bridge Street Bridge. The first half mile or so will be blocked off to traffic, and the last quarter mile will be blocked off to traffic. The rest of the race is open to traffic so please be extremely careful and keep to the right side of the street (I know this goes against the rule) at all times when possible. If you do have reflective clothing, please wear it. THIS IS NOT A CLOSED COURSE!! What this means is that there will be traffic. Our volunteers and our amazing local police department will do everything within their power to stop traffic, but you will encounter some vehicles. Be smart and STAY SAFE!
If you see orange cones on the road, STAY WITHIN THE CONES. WE CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH. Some roads will still have possible traffic! DO NOT go outside cones to pass anyone or give someone across the street a high-five or take a pic with a giant inflatable dinosaur holding a present. At 5:45 p.m. the police force will leave their posts so if you are still out on the course after that time, you must utilize sidewalks!!!
We ask that all walkers, children, people with strollers, and slower runners line up in the back. NO DOGS. NO DOGS!! THESE ARE ALL FOR SAFETY MEASURES AND WE ARE SORRY IF THIS DOESN’T MAKE YOU HAPPY BUT WE DO IT FOR THE GOOD OF ALL. We will continue to address this all day. Please don’t start the race on the bridge or near the front if you’re walking or running at a slow/slower pace. THERE WILL BE PACE MARKERS. Please adhere to them. There will tons of participants and we want to make sure everybody has a safe, fun run. This is the main complaint we hear and we have to rely on everyone being cognizant of where they are lined up and be considerate of the rest of the pack. We understand we have many first-time participants or people who don’t participate in races often so this is why we repeat this so much. We don’t think you are doing it on purpose, we feel it’s just something people don’t know. If you don’t know what a pace sign is, chances are you’ll be comfortable in the back.
So, as a recap…if there are children or STROLLERS with you, or if you want to walk or go relatively “slow”….you must line up at the back of the pack. HEY, NO DOGS YES I’M YELLING.
***ALSO, EQUALLY IMPORTANT, do NOT line up 5 or 6 or 7 people side by side. This causes runners or faster walkers to be blocked. If you want to walk/run in twos or threes fine. Anything longer will hinder the enjoyment for others. Please be considerate and aware of your surroundings. ***
Dress accordingly. As a rule I avoid looking at the weather forecast this time of year, but I just peeked. It will be “decent” as decent as a race in the middle of winter can be. You’ll be waiting outside. There will be a heated tent in the front parking lot. AGAIN, you will not be allowed to wait in the registration area! We aren’t doing it to be difficult, we swear.
POST RACE ACTIVITIES –
We will NOT have an Awards Ceremony this year but we will be handing out awards if you place. Based on your age group we may have to wait a little bit of time before we know final standings. We will be setting out LIMITED refreshments outside the Registration area, weather permitting. The race store will also remain open for a short time after the race.
Please visit our area businesses to grab some cheer and a bite to eat. There are many restaurants in the area and of course we want them all to have a successful night. However, please be sure you spend some time supporting ones that chose to sponsor us: THE GOULD HOTEL, 84 FALL, and THE RED BRICK PUB. And of course, don’t forget to take your race bib to RED BRICK PUB after the race/awards ceremony to get your free beer and share in some Christmas cheer!
OTHER STUFF –
If you can, please share the rest of your weekend with us too! There is SO MUCH going on. Event information can be found at www.therealbedfordfalls.com.
Please be sure to support our local merchants, especially our sponsors. There are many, many businesses in Seneca Falls…please support the ones who support us!! Here is a list!! https://itsawonderfulrun5k.com/ Let them know how much you appreciate them and are thankful for their support. They are instrumental to our race.
SOCIAL MEDIA –
Please use the hashtag #Wonderfulrun2022 so that we and others can share in your holiday spirit! Be sure to follow up on Facebook and Instagram (we also have a Twitter but I’m too old to understand how that works!). We love seeing pics after the race!! Both virtual and in person participants, please tag us our email us your pics at [email protected] or send over Facebook Messenger. We will post a 2022 album on FB.
WHY WE DO THIS –
Well we did it because we thought it was a neat idea and wanted to just add a little “something” to the weekend. Our goal was 200 runners that first year and assumed it would be made up of mostly family and friends who felt bad for us. Well look at where we are now! We do it because we love our town. We grew up here, have been friends forever, and chose to raise our families here. We love It’s a Wonderful Life. We still cry at the end of the movie, even after all this time. “The richest man in town!” What a great line. We love George Bailey. Not only his character but the type of person he embodies. We want to be him when we grow up.
We do it to give back, to be good role models for our kids, and to help people that aren’t as fortunate as we are. We do it to help our neighbors and that is why the vast majority of our donations go to local organizations and scholarships to our local high school, Mynderse Academy. To date, our generous participants who registered online gave an additional $7205.40 towards our local charities and scholarships. SIMPLY INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!!
And finally, most importantly…bring your Christmas spirit… your happiness, your smiles, your joy, your hearts… your elf ears and Santa hats, your reindeer antlers and angel wings, your matching ugly sweaters, lighted costumes, and your best holiday running gear. Or jeans and Uggs, we don’t judge. Bring your friends, your neighbors, your children, your parents, your spouses, your partners. Or come alone and make new friends. Bring your good moods, your holiday cheer, and your generous hearts. Our hope is that you have the very best experience possible. A special shout out to our amazing residents who will line the course and cheer you on. We love you!
WELCOME TO BEDFORD FALLS!
See you Saturday (and hopefully at packet pick up on Friday too)!!!
Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts,
Jeff, Tina, Kevin, Jolene