Clear blue skies and crisp fall temperatures greeted nearly one hundred runners from across the state Sept. 25 as they traveled to Keuka Lake State Park to take part in the Keuka Lake Relay Rally. Teams of runners split up the roughly 47-mile trek around the lake, stopping at five checkpoints along the way located at local wineries, breweries, and public parks.
Unlike traditional races, the Keuka Lake Relay Rally had no set route, and no set team number, meaning runners could set their own path as they made their way around the lake with team members taking as many or as few of the miles along the way.
“Having no set route allowed the teams more freedom to chart their own course,” race director Taryn Windheim explained. “Do you take the shortcut up a steep hill or add a few miles to avoid the climb? This twist on a allowed the teams to create their own course and really experience the beauty of the Finger Lakes.”
Runners came as far as New York City and Pennsylvania to participate in the event. Many teams set their own theme and dressed in costume. Local teams “Everything Happens for a Riesling” and “Run Now… Wine Later” traveled the course together in an RV decorated with a large banner.
Teams headed out from Keuka Lake State Park at 9 a.m., tackling the long and steep climb out of Branchport headed for their first checkpoint at Steuben Brewing Company.
Checkpoints along the way were manned by Arc of Yates staff and individuals supported by the agency. Students in the DRIVE program at Keuka College decorated their checkpoint and held up signs to cheer on the runners as they cleared the final checkpoint before heading back to the State Park.
Webster and Ontario based team “Off Duty Parents” crossed the finish line first at 3:16 p.m., finishing the race in 6 hours and 16 minutes. Team “Dis-Integrated Circuit” comprised of Hobart faculty and staff finished just one minute behind. By 4:30 p.m. all of the teams had returned to the park and were treated to a post-race picnic.
Several local runners also took part in the 5k Kid’s Fun Run races that were part of this year’s event. Wendy Seely of Wellsville finished first overall on the challenging hilly course, and David Warden of Rochester finished first overall in the male division. Brothers Aiden and Jackson Green tied for first place in the Kid’s Fun Run, a quarter mile run on the walking paths around the playground and along the beach.
The second year event raised over $26,000 for the Arc of Yates.