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Inspired by good fortune and a deep body of blue, the Seneca 7 is a 77.7 mile relay race that encircles Seneca Lake in New York State’s Finger Lakes region. Seneca Lake occupies 66.87 square miles, is 37.9 miles long, 1.864 miles wide and 617 feet deep. All you and your team has to do is run around it. Teams consist of seven runners, all of whom must run three legs totaling approximately eleven miles each. Sounds simple, right!
It’s Sunday April 27th and the stage is set. 214 teams are ready to compete with the first wave of runners lined up at the start line by 0700. Each additional wave would begin 30 minutes apart until the final wave at 0930. The wave times and number of runners per wave were dependent on the estimated pace your team entered up registering for this event. Our team known as “Liar Liar Feet on Fire” inspired by incidents during the 2013 Seneca 7 was in the final wave (0930) with an estimated team pace of 7 minutes per mile. Since I was the team captain and I registered us I estimated the pace based on a nagging injury I’ve had.
Lighting the fire:
Our first runner was Jeff Faherty who set the stage with a stellar performance of a 22:31 3.8 mile rolling first leg. Chris Strub rocked leg #2 of his 2.7 mile run of mostly flat terrain with a time of 17:09 handing the baton off to James Wilson. James crushed leg #3, a long uphill battle of 4.9 miles gaining a total of 200 feet in elevation in 34:04. Ryan Heinlein picked up where James left off at leg #4 hammering out his 3.2 miles complete with a monster hill which gained 120 feet of elevation in a 1/2 mile. Ryan’s performance of 17:01:16 was inspirational. Next up, Scott Robinson who has been battling a chest cold and congestion for several days now. Scott’s an animal, even though he was under the weather, Scott kept our fires burning with his leg #5 showing of 3.8 miles which climbed steadily to a total of 222 feet in elevation in 30:10. Ricky Bennett was on deck for leg #6 and he has been saddled with a 4.6 mile incremental downhill complete with some uphills delivering a 30:41 show stopper. Lastly yours truly, handling leg #7 of 4.1 miles ascending to a total of 215 feet in elevation. Throw in my nagging injury and I killed it at a 6:50 pace for a total of 28:04 and the day would continue on like this for us. The roadkills began piling up (215 total)! When we started at 0930 there were only 8 runners. Fast forward 77.7 miles and 8:52:02 later “Liar Liar Feet on Fire” would cross the finish line in 6th place overall, averaging out at a 6:50 per mile pace around Seneca Lake.
Conclusion: Throw together seven guys from all walks of life gelling together to run hard and compete as a team. Toss in clouds, cold and wind typical weather of April in Central New York and you have a rewarding finish. For me the Seneca 7 is my favorite race I have run, hands down. What I love about this race is its spirit, camaraderie and passion. Cannot wait to see what next year has in store for us. Great job guys!
Jeff Faherty approaching exchange point 1.
Image © Joe Geronimo