GENEVA — The Seneca7 is not just a race. For most runners, it’s a day-long adventure with friends and family to jump-start the spring.
The 10th annual relay around Seneca Lake will not happen this year, a victim of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 77.7-mile event featuring seven-person teams — each competitor runs three legs of varying lengths — had been scheduled for April 26.
Jackie Augustine, who co-directs the race with Jeff Henderson, said Gov. Cuomo’s first executive order stipulating a reduction in gatherings provided hope that, with proper social distancing, the event could be held.
“We sent a message out to our athletes saying how this was going to affect the race,” Augustine said. “We had a whole bunch of modification plans to be able to deal with of variety of eventualities.”
Cuomo’s latest order, issued Friday, left Augustine and Henderson little choice but to cancel.
“We still want to do next year’s race,” said Augustine, noting the field of athletes had grown each year since the Seneca7’s inception. “We were bummed about this year because it was our 10-year anniversary and had all these amazing things planned.”
While team captains sign a waiver that includes a no-refund policy, there has been anger in some circles about it.
Henderson sought to clarify matters in an email to competitors.
“Our race waiver says, ‘In cases of inclement weather, natural disaster, acts of God, acts of war, or other unforeseen extraordinary circumstances, Event Organizers reserve the right to cancel the event and/or modify the race course for safety concerns’ “ Henderson wrote. “ ‘Under such circumstances, there will be no refunds or transfer of entries to future events. Each athlete must accept any such risk of their entry fee paid.’ “
Henderson said two-thirds of the $500-plus each team pays to enter has been spent. That money goes into the development and planning associated with the race, a process that begins almost the day after the previous year’s event concludes.
After contacting other race directors, Augustine and Henderson settled on three options:
- A partial refund.
- A guaranteed entry into the 2021 race with a credit toward it.
- Donating the entry fee to the charities involved with the race.
Each team will receive their bibs and 10th anniversary T-shirts made for this year’s race.
Visit seneca7.com for more information.