Colleges Introduce the Seneca7 – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Colleges Introduce the Seneca7

As the spring slowly arrives in Geneva, students and staff at the Centennial Center for Leadership work to create a new event to celebrate Geneva and Seneca Lake.  The Seneca7 relay race invites runners from across the region – and the country – to enjoy the lake through this athletic event on Saturday, April 30.

Centennial Center Leader in Residence Jeff Henderson, who organizes the Musselman Triathlon each summer, and fellow Centennial Center Leader in Residence and instructor in the Philosophy Department Jackie Augustine have been working with HWS students to create the event, helping students to develop leadership skills through hands on experience in the real world. Students on the committee are responsible for each aspect of the race, including organizing the course, coordinating medical and volunteer efforts, technology and funding. For more information, visit the race’s website at

Henderson was recently interviewed about the race in the Finger Lakes Times. The full article from the Finger Lakes Times follows.

The Finger Lakes Times

New race around the lake set for late April

Heather Swanson • February 22, 2011

Runners will descend on the city in April for a relay race around Seneca Lake.

The race, named the Seneca7, will be held April 30, starting at 7 a.m., when teams of seven will begin a 77.77 mile journey around the lake.

The event is being organized by Hobart and William Smith students and staff.

“The idea is to bring runners here from across the country to showcase the Finger Lakes, and especially Seneca Lake,” said Jeff Henderson, HWS leader-in-residence and self-employed race director.

Henderson is organizing the event with Jackie Augustine, HWS leader-in-residence and philosophy professor.

The race will begin and end in Geneva.

“This race is very beginner-friendly,” said Henderson, noting that each runner will run nine to 13 miles, split into three segments.

There are already 18 teams registered, from all over the state. Organizers hope to draw 100 teams.

Henderson thinks the goal is realistic, given the number who have already registered and the fair number more he has heard are interested.

Donna Loeb, Cornell Experiment Station grants administrator, has signed up with a team, most of them from Geneva.

“I decided to take part because I’m a runner, and I have a lot of friends that are runners,” Loeb said.

Although Loeb said many of her teammates run throughout the winter, they will have to start increasing their distances to prepare.

“We’re not going to be fast by any means,” Loeb said, noting some of her teammates do not run very much.

Although they may not be the first team to cross the finish line, Loeb said she’s excited and her team is looking forward to the event.

Her running mates are Amy Hibbard of Geneva, Susan Sheffer of Geneva, Elizabeth Hutchison of Geneva, Mike Karlsen of Romulus, Abby Dunphy of Waterloo and Jay Jones of Caledonia.

HWS students are preparing a number of aspects of the race. William Smith senior Deirdre Wholly serves as the course director.

“I’ve enjoyed Seneca Lake for four years, and this is my way to give back, to help other people appreciate the beauty and think about the impact they can have on keeping it clean and accessible,” Wholly said in a press release from the Colleges.

Ryan Kincaid, a William Smith senior, decided to develop a festival to accompany the race. She is working with junior Lucia Berliner on the “LakeFest” project.

“I grew up in Geneva, and I am enjoying collaborating with my peers and two wonderful community members, Jeff Henderson and Jackie Augustine, for this event,” Kincaid said in an e-mail.

LakeFest will be held the afternoon of the race, and will offer entertainment for community members, family and friends of racers, and the racers themselves when they finish, Henderson said.

“We like to get as many segments of the community involved as possible,” he said.

In addition to music and food, the group will undertake a beach cleanup, a children’s parade and other events related to good stewardship of the lake, HWS said.

Two students from the computer science department, Max Beckett and Marcela Melara, are developing a program to update an online map with real-time tracking of each team’s pace and progress, according the Colleges.

“You can watch it live at the race site and still keep tabs on each team’s whereabouts with your iPhone,” Beckett and Melara said in the press release.

The software will also allow people who cannot attend the race to watch it unfold, Henderson said.

Sarah Gall, a William Smith senior, is co-fundraising coordinator for the race.

“I’m learning more about the Geneva community now that I’m trying to reach out for their support. So far, everyone we’ve asked for support has been very enthusiastic,” Gall said in an e-mail. 

“Hopefully Seneca7 will continue to unify the Colleges and the community for years to come,” she added.