Driving The Inaugural Seneca7

The first 77.7-mile relay race around Seneca Lake. A team of seven friends entered to run. I drove the support van.



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April 30, 2011: My friends, writers Holly Corbett and Patty Hodapp of The Lost Girls, along with a team of fitness-inclined runners, took part in the inaugural Seneca7. The 77.7-mile relay race was designed to introduce people to the many wonders of Seneca Lake.

While I was in no physical condition to run the seven legs that would add up to 11.1 miles as each of the seven runners were prepared to do (yes, the organizers worked the concept of ‘seven’ in wherever they could), I wanted to be a part of it.

So, I volunteered to man the support van.

The race was conceived and put together by a group of students and staff from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY. This organizing committee was made up of a diverse group. Some were seasoned athletes and runners, while others were those who simply like organizing events. Their unifying goal was this amazing day.

My friends dubbed their portion of Seneca7 The Lost Girls Races and they raised money for The Butterfly Project. The Butterfly Project provides vital support, mentoring and funds for young East African women who seek nursing degrees.


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We stayed in a quaint lake cottage that was part of a group of about a half-dozen cottages called Cobtree Vacation Resorts. Sleeping with the cold lake air coming thru the window, I woke up refreshed and ready to roll early in the morning. This is simply beautiful country. The distance from the city’s grime has cleared my mind. I may not be running, but I feel myself improving just by being here.

It had been raining for days in the area, but we really lucked out as the sun burned thru the chill of the morning. I took my spot behind the wheel of what we called the mom van and off we went. When I heard the race spanned 77.7 miles, I had no idea that was simply the circumference of Seneca Lake. And off we went.


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The sheer number of runners was astounding. Seventy five teams, seven runners on each team. I never imagined there were so many people willing to put their bodies thru such an endeavor. Yet there they were in the cold morning air, waiting to run a course that I was barely even fit enough to drive.

Of course I felt outta place among the runners, but even the other support drivers looked more like runners than I did. Me in my jeans and leather shoes, hobbling in and out of our van. It was slightly embarrassing, I will admit.

Still, I came away from this trip inspired. I doubt my legs will ever be prepared to run such a course. Hills here, rugged terrain there. However, watching a few people (both officially and unofficially) cycling the course made me think that I could someday do the same. My whole body would benefit as much as my rickety knees and lower back.

The runners among us agreed that the course was well laid out and the legs fairly divvied up with levels of difficulty being weighed against mileage. For the most part, complaints had to do with the signage. Not that there were none, rather that the signs (whether on paper or painted on tarmac) were tiny and at times misleading. At several points along the way, runners were found to be off the course by myself and other support vehicles.


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Aside from the signage issues, this was indeed an auspicious start to what we all hope will be a long tradition here in the Finger Lakes. My team finished in 11:39:57. As the theme from Chariots of Fire in my head, I snapped photos of them crossing the finish line.

With the race over, it was time for some warm, delicious chili at the finish line. Some beef for carnivores like myself, veggie for the larger number of fit hippies. A bonfire was being stoked, but we’d be leaving, opting instead for a relaxing night at the cottage.

Important thoughts occurred to me that night. I could feel myself more in touch with my creativity and a desire to better myself. Could I ever be a fit hippie? Doubtful. I could get close to it, though. After this weekend, anything is possible.

See Also:
2011 Seneca7 Photo Gallery
Holly Corbett
Patty Hodapp
The Lost Girls
Seneca7
Cobtree Vacation Resorts


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One Response to “Driving The Inaugural Seneca7”

  1. Cobtree Vacation Rental Resort
    06/02/11 at 8:35 pm #

    The Cobtree Vacation Rental Resort is proud to sponsor the Lost girls world team for this annual event and will provide Free accommodation for one property for up to 8 people sharing and additional properties offered with a 10% discount.

    This is a good charitable cause we we are honored to support.

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