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[May 2, 2018] Seneca7 2018: from 30 to 80 in 72 hours
We are writing you from summertime on the Seneca, which is about 40 degrees north of (by temperature not latitude) this year's race!

You did it! You braved the elements and made it by foot, bike, or van all away around the lake! Congratulations! We were happy to host you and our volunteers were glad to guide you. Together with you we made the day fun*!
(*you can substitute the adjective of your choice here)

Results are now posted here, along with the seven minute replay of the race, for your viewing pleasure. And remember that you can submit your Seneca7 race report for inclusion on the website, just email us a link and we'll get it posted here.

Pictures from this year's race are forthcoming and will posted on the website shortly. The team pictures that were taken by our dedicated and enthusiastic volunteer, Tim Jennings, are already available on our facebook page. Tim offered to do this out of the kindness of his heart, and though we think he managed to capture every finisher, please don't be too hard on him if your picture is missing or not to your liking.

Speaking of finishers, to commemorate the conditions of this year's race (our first ever truly winter edition--it's been cold before but never rain and snow!), we are offering a limited edition finisher shirt on the website, with all proceeds going to Safe Harbors of the Finger Lakes. You can preview and order these at the Seneca7 Personal Fulfillment Center.

We are also so thankful to our sponsors, whose time and talents go into making your experience the best it can be (and have nothing to do with designing logos or shirts!).

And speaking of shirts, although we had our Course Guide image on the website for almost a month, it seems that once it was shared out through the interwebs, it became fodder for political commentary. Here's the deal--the Seneca7, since day one, has been about calling attention to this lake, issues of the environment, and the community we call home. In year one we gave all finishers customiz water bottles with information on how each person could support efforts to protect Seneca Lake from a gas and LPG storage facility. On the outside of the bottle was printed an adaptation of our favorite Dr. Seuss story, "The Lorax." We shared with you our firm commitment to making this event more than just a friendly outing or merely a sporting event, but rather about an environmentally friendly, healthy way to build community and foster stewardship. The race has always had, and continues to have, that point of view. In years since, we have used the Course Guide to focus on the mega-landfills threatening our landscape and watershed, funding cuts to critical programs that serve residents in the area, and have urged you to engage your elected officials - of all political stripes - to key into the needs of this area and not leave us behind.

Since last year's race, the proposed budget for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has been slashed by the current administration twice, and it has taken bipartisan support in the House and Senate to restore it, massive cuts to education and social programs were proposed and it took bipartisan support to restore those. Our race has collected goods and funds for the Canandaigua VA Hospital, only to see this administration cut services and funding to it. The race shirt depicts the ways in which the elements of this race reflect our values, but also the way in which those values are under siege. To make a statement that it is again time to take action to ensure these values do not end up tattered and torn, is not new, inconsistent or at odds with who we are and what this race is about. So apart from the chatter about partisanship (and apart from issues of porn stars, mocking the disabled, bragging about sexual assault, taunting prisoners of war, and insulting other countries) we think we can all agree that annual attempts to gut the protections and programs that so benefit this region's freshwater lakes go firmly against what this race stands for, and has always stood for.

Going back to year one and that poem on the finisher bottle, "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get's not."

[April 23, 2018] Race Week is upon us!
Please remember that this Wednesday, April 25th is the deadline for having all waivers signed (which means that any substitutions must be made by Wednesday, as well). The permit that NYS issues to us to hold the race requires that every runner has signed the waiver. If your team does not have the signatures of all seven members, you cannot race--no exceptions! If your team captain hasn't sent you the link to sign (which is located on the team page they have been using to manage your roster, indicate shirt sizes, etc.) please contact them *today* to get this done!

Your team is also required to have a copy of the official 2018 Course Guide in your vehicle (or with your bikes) during the race. You can find a PDF version of it on the website (but remember that you need to download it ahead of time because there isn't reliable internet access in on every leg of the course), you might find one in your goody bag (if your captain pre-ordered one), and you will find a limited number for sale at packet pickup.

We look forward to seeing at least one member of your team at the Smith Opera House on Saturday between 1-4pm for packet pickup (there is *no* race day pickup). Remember the mandatory briefing (for at least one team member) begins promptly at 4pm. Packet pickup is a fun time, and there is a trail mix bar for you to indulge in. We also have a table for exchanging shirts (if you'd like a different size or your captain forgot to specify a shirt for you) and a drop off point for any goodies you might be bringing to support Mothers and Others (details about this group's work is on our facebook page). Geneva is a great place and there are plenty of places for you to check out in between the time when you pick up your packet and the briefing begins, so avoid the rush and don't wait until 3pm or later to come by (check out this time lapse from last year to see how lonely we are in the lobby as we wait for people to come in, and then the chaos and long waits when everyone decides that 3:30pm is the *best* time to try and get their stuff.)

On Sunday, you will use your personalized tracking webpage to log your progress around the course (the link can be found on your team webpage now and bookmarked in your web browser). As you enter the time at the end of each leg (the actual time, not the calculated duration of the leg--the tracker does that for you!) you, friends at home, us, and the entire world will have live, interactive coverage of the race. The link is active now, so please designate a technologically-savvy member of your team to practice using it. (Your practice session will be deleted before race morning.) Participating in race tracking is required to receive a finisher medal and is also the system that allows us to communicate with you during the race in case any detours or weather events require quick communication.

We know you have to go. A lot. Everywhere and always. So not only have we increased the number of port-a-loos, but we are continuing with the Port-a-loo Priority System (PPS). At some exchanges you'll find a designated port-o-loo for the next runner, and/or for cycling teams. Please respect the posted signs and your fellow runners, because we all have to go... it's just a question of how soon. (And remember, over the course of 77.7 miles, there are public restrooms that you can seek out while waiting for your runner.)

Because you need to be fully self-supported for the day, we want to give you a hand. At packet pickup your team will be given two "Special Needs Bags," compliments of Red Jacket Orchards. On race morning bring those bags, stuffed with whatever items you might want midway through the race, to the Geneva Bicycle Center. The GBC van will meet you in Clute Park (exchange 10) so you can pick them up (and drop off anything you want transported back to the finish). You'll also find a Red Jacket refresh station there - just for you!

On race day (and even now) check in with us on Facebook and Twitter to get updates and fun facts about the race. There's also information there about Mothers & Others and other charity partners and our sponsors (like Beef & Brew, which in addition to making your finish line chili is offering a race morning breakfast buffet beginning at 4am!). You will also find a link to vote in the "Best Team Name" contest via the Finger Lakes Times website. Check out which seven teams were chosen as finalists to win a case of Finger Lakes wines, and cast a vote for your favorite!

[April 5, 2018] second-to-last-absolutely-final-one-more-time reminder email
In between your intervals and speed work, please attempt to complete the tasks outlined on the Seneca7 website. (What's that? Unfamiliar with the Seneca7 website? Well that's where the start waves are currently posted, so maybe you should check it out.) By April 25th at 9am you must:

  1. Finalize your team roster and runner order (using your team link - no need to email us to tell us the shirt size fields are locked... we know... we locked them on March 1st when that deadline came and went (if you didn't know that, please refer to the previous 10 emails you must have ignored)).
  2. Ensure that all seven team members have signed the online waiver. No signature = no runner; no runner = team less than seven; team less than seven = no participation. Therefore, by the distributive law of running relays: no waiver signature = no participation. No exceptions.
  3. Enter your emergency contact information on your team page. This should not be a member of your team!
  4. Discuss with your teammates who your race day contact will be. This is a person on your team (who reliably checks their phone). When the race tracker is ready for you to begin practicing with, you will enter that information there. It is not available for practice yet, but it will be soon.
  5. Designate a person on your team to be the "Compliance Director." We don't need to know who this is, and it's not even a real title, but each team needs someone who is responsible for knowing the rules and making sure you don't run afoul of them. We bet that every team has that one person who really pays attention to every detail (and we also bet that person likes titles, so 'compliance director' it is). It doesn't come with any other recognition or accolades, just the quiet satisfaction of keeping a close eye on things.
  6. Figure out how your team will carry the Course Guide with you and make sure it is referred to for instructions on every leg of the course. The course guide is not available on the website yet, but it will be soon - a little advance planning never hurt anyone. There are spots on the course with no cell coverage, so planning to access it online during the race is not an option. The course guide is also a very large file with not very large print, so putting it on your phone is not an option. Some teams ordered a printed version during registration - we are tucking it gently into your goody bag, so you are good to go. The rest of you should consider using a tablet or sending the file to a color laser printer at work when the boss isn't looking (we are in no way endorsing that option and will deny it if your boss contacts us).
  7. Assess the tech-savviness of your teammates to figure out whom shall take charge of the race tracker. This link (which, like the Course Guide, is not live yet but will be soon) is something you can bookmark on your phone and you will use it to input your times after each leg is completed on race day. You'll be able to practice a bit with it beforehand, which is why it's good to figure out now who you want messing with it (we mean, exercising skillful command of it).
  8. Remind your teammates that at least one person is required to attend packet pickup and the pre-race briefing on Saturday, April 28th at the Smith Opera House in downtown Geneva. Packet pickup is from 1-4pm and the pre-race briefing begins promptly at 4pm. Believe us, you do not want to wait until 3pm or later to try and pick up your goody bag. Plus, the closer to 1pm you arrive, the more selection you get at the trail mix bar (every team gets to make a bag of trail mix to take with them).

Finally, to address some questions we have been getting lately (although I think we just did address them in the eight items above): No, the race tracker is not available for practice yet - we will announce that on social media and the website when it is ready. No, the Course Guide is not available for download yet - we will announce that on social media and the website when it is ready. Yes, start waves are ready, that was announced on social media and posted on the website.

Please stay tuned to Seneca7 social media and the website for the course guide and race tracker when they become available. They will be soon, and it will be worth the wait.

[February 20, 2018] Don't miss the deadline!
If the #ShibSibs want to get onto the podium, 77.73 just isn't going to cut it. Likewise, we want to make sure you get all 77.77 miles in on April 29th and that begins now.

The deadline is quickly approaching for you to indicate your team name and estimated pace. Telling us how fast your feet will travel helps us get you into the right start wave, and wouldn't you like us to know your actual shirt sizes so we don't just twizzle around and throw random shirts into your goody bag?

We could tell you what the deadline is for submitting this, but that would just be enabling you to continue ignoring the website. So you'll only get a tiny bit of coddling as we direct you to the page containing this information.

And don't forget that you can still order your post-race barbeque tickets (along with extra shirts and other fancy stuff) here.

You've been warned. If you miss the deadline you are authorizing us to make up a team name for you. While that's fun for us, it might not be so well-received by your teammates. Avoid the discomfort in the van and just follow the directions!

[February 4, 2018] Have you ever had deja vu?
We are excited to welcome back our amazingly dedicated 8-year event sponsors: Red Jacket Orchards, Geneva Bicycle Center and Once Again Nut Butter. This year's pre-race briefing is at the beautiful and historic Smith Opera House (where we just returned from watching "Groundhog Day" on the biggest movie screen in the Finger Lakes (hence the subject line and the "Pennsylvania Polka" ringing in my ears)) and is sponsored by the law offices of Michaels & Smolak. Hammer Nutrition will be supplying goodies in the goody bags again, and if you are looking for running gear, a training group, or a shoulder to cry on--the Rochester Running Company is the Seneca7's official running store. More information about the sponsors can be found on the website and our facebook page.

So the race isn't until April and we figure that you're either into the portion of your training plan where you're running doubles or you're just now remembering that you entered this race as you read this email over your oatmeal (after all, February is National Hot Breakfast Month - I kid you not, look it up). After eight years of organizing this event, we know that you're either in one group or the other, there's really no in between!

But right now your team should be talking to each other about three things: What size shirt everyone needs, what your team name is (you might not want a race bib that reads "TBD"), and what your estimated pace is. No one likes showing up at packet pickup only to discover that their captain didn't request any shirts. And it's also not great to learn a few legs into the run that you have to be gently and lovingly held by a volunteer for a while because you were way off in predicting your speed and therefore got placed into the wrong start wave. Deadlines for submitting this information can be found here.

(We could just tell you what the deadline is, but then you wouldn't go look at the website, and really there's a lot of good information that you should be reading there, so this is a way of encouraging you to check it out).

The t-shirts for this year's race are made in the USA, printed with environmentally sound inks and are available in either a men's or women's cut that runs true to size. The women's cut is somewhat fitted at the arm and waist. Barring a pop-up dressing room for you to actually try it on, we can't really offer much more guidance than that.

In true Seneca7 tradition, our post-race meal of chili (beef and veggie options using locally-sourced ingredients and free range beef), fresh cornbread, and homemade cookies is available to all runners as part of the registration fee. But this year we have invited a local caterer to the finish line to meet the needs of those of you who have requested additional food options as you visit with friends and family after you finish. Redman's barbecue will be there with pulled pork and fried chicken dinners (frying the chicken right there as you order). Many of you purchased tickets for the barbeque during registration, but others - perhaps caught up in the rush of the morning - might have missed it.

Fear not! If you would still like a barbeque ticket, an extra tshirt, a printed course guide, or one of our anniversary collectible hoodies from year 7, you can follow this link to get those add-ons and they'll be tucked gently into your goody bag:

As we now return you to your winter slumber, please know that we are busily working to create an experience you will be glad to have participated in. And while it may be the day after Groundhog Day for you, our 6am wake up was "I Got You, Babe." Should we be - alarmed?

[October 10, 2017] The Final Countdown!
We would have written this email in a clever play on that song's lyrics, but has anyone ever paid attention to any of the lyrics apart from that chorus? Not us!

Here we are in mid-October, sharpening our pencils for Seneca7 registration which will be all-paper entries this year. No, no it won't be. That would be a nightmare and we'd surely get carpal tunnel (which would prevent us from accurately directing you up and over the *snowplow* on the course)!

There is a lot of information contained here. It describes the where/when/how of registration for the event. If you are interested in pre-registering, in biking, in being in Geneva for the race on April 29, 2018 at all, please read this email thoroughly and completely. It's long, but it's important.

Please pay close attention to the true account of this year's registration process--it has changed.

This race is founded on four principles: (a) appreciation of the natural beauty of Seneca Lake and the cities and towns on her shores; (b) commitment to the agencies and organizations that enhance the health and well-being of the residents of the Finger Lakes; (c) ecological stewardship of the water, air, and land that we love; and (d) providing a safe, fun (and apparently urological*) adventure.

Each of the past three years, the race registration has been a source of angst, stress, and near-mental-breakdown for many who want desperately to get in, but whose repeated clicking of the submit button has not resulted in successful entry to the rapidly sold-out race.

Truly there is no completely democratic and fair way to register 1,000 teams for 300 slots. The "luck of the click," if you will, has been the most level playing field we could provide. But this year we have been overwhelmed by emails from teams begging to the point of self-embarrassment to get into this race. We've been offered bribes large and small, yet we have stared down temptation and said "no" to every one of those offers (shenanigans get you nowhere with Jackie (who is an Ethics Professor)).

When Do I Sign Up?
We started thinking, "if people want into this race *that badly*, maybe there's a way to parlay that desire into something great for the community." So, in the spirit of community giving, we present The Seven Days of Seneca7 Sign-Ups:

Beginning October 25th and continuing for 5 days, we will offer 20 guaranteed pre-entry spots at a premium rate, with all proceeds donated to charity. How much you pay is (almost) entirely in your hands. We will begin by offering the spots at $1700 each on October 25th. If there are any remaining at the end of the day, we will offer them according to the following schedule until all 20 are gone:

October 25th: $1,700 each
October 26th: $1,600 each
October 27th: $1,500 each
October 28th: $1,400 each
October 29th: $1,300 each

It is possible that all 20 will be claimed on the 25th, but we'll update you via email, facebook, and twitter while you calculate your chances about how long you want to wait and how much the reduction of stress and improvement to community is worth to you.

On October 30th, pre-registration for bike teams will open. Just like last year, these teams are *required* to bike on race day and must sign (electronically) a contract that makes clear that you are foregoing the use of any motorized team vehicle and will abide by all of the posted rules pertaining to cycling safety on the course. No teams who register on October 30th will be allowed to switch to non-biking teams, so weed out your fair-weather friends, because you have to bike even if it's snowing. Unlike previous years, we will not accept bike team registrations after October 30th. There is a simple reason for this: bike team behavior on the course has proven to be a safety issue and jeopardizes the entire event. Bike teams who decide to cycle at the last minute have been even more likely to disregard critical safety instructions. So, the cycling option is only for teams seriously committed to safe bike operation and will commit to such as part of the bike team contract.

On October 31st, all teams who aren't biking and didn't participate in the charity pre-registration process that are interested in participating in the 2018 Seneca7 will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis through a revamped online registration program.

Also new this year, if the race sells out before you make your deposit, the system will automatically add you to the wait list in the order of your attempted entry. This means you do not have to send a separate email requesting to be added.

How Do I Sign Up?

Charity PreRegistration
You will make a deposit of $100 via credit card at sign up. You will then have until December 1st to mail a check for the remainder. This gives you time to fundraise/have a yard sale/post a sketchy ad on Craigslist to collect the balance. You will receive an acknowledgement letter from our charity partners for your donation (total cost - the $527.77 entry fee).

All Other Registrations (Bike Pre-Registration and Open Registration)
All that will be required for successful entry is contact information and a valid credit card. Teams will make a $100 non-refundable deposit for their spot and will then have one week to complete the registration process at their leisure. Once the deposit charge is confirmed, you are *in*! Also new this year, the balance of your registration will be paid by check (something that people have requested for a long time) thereby foregoing additional credit card processing fees or charges that raise eyebrows with your bank's fraud department. If your payment of the balance is not postmarked by November 7, 2017, your spot will be released to another team.


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