The Seneca 7

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What a fun but busy whirlwind of a weekend I had! 6 months ago I was asked by some friends if I had any interest in participating in a relay race called the Seneca 7. Having never been one to turn down the opportunity to spend a day in a van with 6 other people running a race of course I said yes!

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The Seneca 7 is a 77.7 mile foot race around Seneca Lake located in the Finger Lakes Region of western NY. It starts and ends in Geneva, NY covering 77.7 miles of beautiful wine country up and down the rolling hills surrounding the lake.

We headed out to Geneva on Saturday aiming for a late afternoon arrival time so that we could get to the mandatory pre-race meeting which was at 4. We got there with plenty of time to spare so we picked up our race goodies and explored the local bike shop.

After we were through with all the pre-race stuff we headed to the Seneca Bistro which is located a few miles south of Geneva on the west side of the lake. We got there and ordered some drinks while we waited for the rest of our party to arrive. The food at the Bistro was excellent, but the service wasn’t great. The burgers that were ordered medium rare came out well done and while they did try and rectify our dissatisfaction with the meal we would have been happier with it had it just been right. We also had to physically bring our bill up to someone after waiting forever to get someone to take it from us. Lucky for me, I had no complaints on my food, I ordered crab cakes and a salad. The crab cakes were excellent and the salad had great flavor, though the dressing was a little over powering. I’d order it again but light on the dressing.

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Before turning in for the night we made one last stop at Wegmans. For those not familiar with Wegmans it is an awesome grocery store which is totally worth the trip if you are near one. We grabbed a couple last minute supplies and headed back to the hotel for the night. We stayed at the Hampton Inn located right in downtown Geneva and it was excellent. I’d highly recommend it to anyone looking for a place to stay either for the race or just for a nice weekend away. It is convenient to walk to and from and the hospitality was wonderful. There was a free breakfast and coffee and tea always available.

Our team had a 7:30 start time so we made our way over around 7 to get our runners ready. I was runner number 7 so I had awhile to chill before taking off but both runners 1 and 2 had to be at the start. The first exchange is too small for vans to be at so the 2nd runner grabs a shuttle ride from the start to the exchange and then runner 1 rides a shuttle from that exchange to exchange 2 to be reunited with the team.

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Once everyone was off and running we made our way back to the hotel, hit the restrooms one last time and were on the road.

Like any other relay race there were a couple of exchange points that were somewhat of a nightmare to navigate, especially the 2 exchanges that were in Sampson State Park on the east side of the lake. The roads were bad and the traffic was terrible. Vans were going this way and that and nobody seemed to know exactly what they were doing. But overall it was a very well run race that was just so much fun!

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The legs I ran were fairly uneventful for me in terms of running. I slogged along and made it through without injury. I ran a total of 10.9 miles over 3 legs of the race and while they were slow I wasn’t feeling too bad. It definitely lit a fire under me to get my butt in gear for triathlon season! I did experience something I never though I would and can say I hope I never do again. During my second leg, which was 3.1 miles along a road that the vans weren’t allowed down, I was almost run over by a HERD of deer. It was the craziest, and also kind of terrifying thing I’ve ever experienced on a run. There I was minding my own business when I heard some crashing in the woods to my right. I turned my head to see deer hurdling through the trees directly at me followed by about 25 more running through the field a little farther behind. I stopped dead in my tracks knowing I wasn’t going to be able to run fast enough to get out of the way. As deer raced across the road both in front of me and behind me I held my breath hoping they wouldn’t run INTO me. After the first wave went by I started running again only to have to stop to let more deer bolt across the road. It was seriously the craziest thing ever! I made it through unscathed and now have a great story to tell, haha. I wished I had a camera on me at the time because it was a crazy scene to see.

In summary, the Seneca 7 is a very well organized and fun race. As much as I liked doing the Ragnar Relay in the Adirondacks I liked this race better due to it’s shorter distance and more hometown feel. Only having to worry about one van and the logistics for one day was so much easier than the Ragnar race. I definitely preferred the Seneca 7 and will be doing it again in the future.

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