April 26th, 2015 • Ward Pound Ridge Reservation • Cross River, NY • 29th Leatherman’s Loop
At 5:57am the sun came up strong on a crisp 33 degree frost-glazed meadow, gradually lighting up the volunteers preparing for the arrival of 1,200 runners.
By 7:30am the temperature had jumped 10+ degrees and the lower paved parking lot was full. Cars were beginning to fill up the meadow. As more volunteers arrived, water was positioned, oranges, bananas, coffee, and bagels were delivered. Pretty soon cars lined Reservation Road and the line snaked out to the entrance. Thanks to the parking gurus we were able to get cars off of the main roads and parked more quickly than prior years.
Runners came in from nearly 250 towns and cities from 20 different states and places as far away as Atlanta, Burlington VT, Wisconsin, Maine, Virginia, and Seattle. We had one runner registered from Tokyo, but they were a no-show unfortunately.
The Town of Bedford (including villages of Katonah and Bedford Hills) had the most local representation with 175 runners registered followed by Lewisboro (including villages of South Salem, Waccabuc, Goldens Bridge, and Cross River) at 135 runners. New York City, Brooklyn, and Pound Ridge rounded out the top 5 runner addresses.
After runners checked in and picked up their bibs, many made their next stop at the “Help Feed The Leatherman” tent — a food drive for the Community Center of Northern Westchester’s (CCNW) food pantry. The drive is in its 7th year and is organized by David Ceisler. Next year we are discussing adding a CCNW clothing drive to the CCNW food drive. We will update you all with the total weight of food donations collected when we hear back from CCNW in the coming week. Last year runners donated over 900 pounds of food. David’s car was overflowing with your generous food donations as he left the parking lot this year. Thank you to all the runners who pitched in.
As runners gathered at the start line, Mike Paletta welcomed the crowd and cautioned everyone about the trail hazards and wished all good luck. He handed off the microphone to “El Copadre” Tony Godino who thanked runners for coming and making the day special. He introduced Rob Cummings who handles registration and the “back office” stuff for the Loop. Rob will direct the upcoming Fire Tower 10k at the Rez this coming November 15th. Mark your calendar for this new race which promises to be a challenging and hilly run!
Our Loop spiritual guide, Danny Martin was unable to attend since he was in New Mexico leading a retreat and could not get back in time. We were able to have Danny read his Navajo/Irish blessing of beauty via the magic of digital audio.
Special guest starter “The Old Leather Man” (aka Dr. Russ Schneider of Gurnee, Illinois) was in town to celebrate the birth of his grandchild and the timing worked perfectly for him to say a few words and start the runners.
The course was primed and ready after this winter’s solid 3 months of snow cover and some early week showers soaking the ground well. The river water levels were above average compared with past years. The temperature of the water was frigid since a significant chunk of it was ice a mere 2 weeks ago. And the mud flats — let’s just say next to the dictionary definition of “Mud” they have a photo of the mud flats in 2015!
Splashdown crossing was flowing well and had a capacity crowd cheering runners on for their final 200 meters until the finish. Water, bagels and fruit awaited the finishers in perfect post-race temperatures.
For the second year in a row, the John Jay High School acapella group”The Treblemakers” came to fill the air with their musical talents. They came bright and early and were on the trail at Kimberly Bridge to give runners a boost with their energizing melodies. Reports came in about a four piece mariachi band at the base of “The Pit.” I think we stumbled upon their rehearsal! 😉 Our bagpiper John Henken was at the top of “The Wall” to help pull runners up the steep slope.
Full results are available here and below are some highlights:
Luis Francisco of Mahopac, NY won the 29th Loop with a time of 40:08. David McCarey of Circleville, NY came in 2nd at 40:34. Nine-time loop winner Tommy Nohilly of Goldens Bridge, NY came in 3rd at 41:37. Oliver Wood of Seattle, WA came 4th at 41:50. Michael DiBlasi was 5th at 42:20.
Laura Kline of New Paltz, NY won her second Leatherman’s Loop with a time of 47:42. 2012 Loop winner Ann MacDonald of Mt. Kisco was 2nd (49:31) and Pippa Nuttall of Katonah, NY came in 3rd (51:17). Connie Seigh of Pleasant Valley, NY came in 4th at 52:07. Laura Wang of New York, NY was close behind at 52:24. Seven time Loop winner Kerry Arsenault of Guilford, CT came in 6th and first in her age group (52:30).
The oldest finisher was John Young at 81 who ran with his daughter-in-law Kelli and granddaughter Haley. The youngest finisher was 8 year old Nadia Kaye who was running her second Loop and finished 4th in the 14 & under girls age group (1:09:05). Nine year olds Jacob Weitzman, Byron Wilson, and Noah Taylor each completed their first Loops.
Loop veteran Joe Stanley ran his 29th consecutive Loop — an unbroken streak from 1987 through last sunday. A combination of good training, good sense, and good luck! Shirley Iselin ran her 20th Loop, the most for any woman and an unbroken streak since 1996! Other notable milestones: James Reilly ran his 26th Loop. Nick Ohnell ran his 25th Loop. John Partilla ran his 23rd Loop. Tim Debany and John Krazneiwicz ran their 22nd Loops. Paul Muessig hit #20. For a complete list of the “Muddiest Runners” check this page.
The Trail Mix Series Update: Twenty three runners were completing the 2014-2015 Trail Mix Trail Series by running the Leatherman’s Loop 2015. Karen Haitoff held the women’s overall title and Keith Realander was atop the men’s standings. Both came through with Trail Mix Series win for the day. Congratulations to Karen and Keith!
The Trail Mix series started in September 2014 with Where the Pavement Ends 4.25 mile trail race. Next up was the Sarah Bishop Bushwhack 10k trail race. The third race in the series was Run The Farm 5 mile trail race in October 2014.
The series is expanding in 2015 to SIX races from the original four. The Leatherman’s Loop 2015 is the official start for the 2015 Trail Mix series. If you ran you are automatically entered. If you did not run the 2015 Loop, you only have to complete 4 of the 6 races so you are still able to compete. See below or this link for details.
We have lots of photos shared by our “Official Loop Photographers” and others on and around the course. Thank you to everyone who shared their photo memories of the day! You can become an official Loop photographer by taking lots of photos of the Loop and sending them in. If you have more than 100 photos from the Loop, we’ll make you your own album at the link below!
A detailed description of photos — by photographer and location — can be found here. Or you can click directly on our 2015 album site: http://leathermansloop.smugmug.com/2015
Photographers Tom Casper, Ally Moreo, Faith Willett, Dawn Moore, Emily Fagan, Ciorsdan Conran, Tyler Reinke, Chris Reinke, Carol Gordon, David Gordon, John Cummings, Deborah Burman, Carol Gamez, Mario Turriago, Randie Shane, and YOUR NAME HERE (if you send us your photos!) were out on Loop day. We have many different vantage points — the start, the mud flats, the pit, the first crossing, splashdown, the bottom of the pine forest, and others. Photo album link here.
As a bonus, we have video taken in the mud flats by ninth grader Elliott Lear. Also many of you may have spotted or heard the drone from LCTV & Cablevision hovering over the start, the mud flats, and Splashdown. We hope to share that video footage with everyone soon! Right now we have a link to the Course Check drone testing done April 12th at the park. Thanks to Tom Anckner, LCTV, and Cablevision.
Late addition: Optimum Community Channel did a story on The Old Leather Man recently and featured the Loop prominently in the 8 minute piece. Check it out here if you have a few minutes, it will be time well spent!
Also check out the Loop 2015 “House of Leatherman” time lapse video sequence.
If you have photos you would like to send us, the easiest way to get them directly to us is via this website link (http://smu.gs/1x9kTam) where you can simply drag and drop the pictures. We have unlimited storage space at our photo site. Or you can send us links via Facebook or if you have your own albums on Flickr, Picassa, or another photo site send us the link. We appreciate all of the photos and love looking through them!
If you have any feedback, please send us a note at email@example.com. The only way we know to fix things is when we hear about things that went wrong. Don’t feel shy about feedback — that is how we make the event better. Any feedback you can give is a gift to the runners next time.
Thanks to Westchester County Parks and Ward Pound Ridge Reservation for hosting us for the 29th year. A very special thank you on behalf of all of the runners to the Lewisboro Volunteer Ambulance Corps for standing by in case medical help was needed during the event. We truly appreciate the dedication of the volunteers who give their time to come tend to runners each year.
Thank you all for coming out to run and to those who came to support your friends and family! We look forward to seeing many of you again at an upcoming race!
Tony, Judy, Mike, Rob and the Leatherman Harriers
The Loop is the first in the 2015 series of trail races called The Trail Mix.
Every runner in the 2015 Leatherman’s Loop is entered into the 2015 Trail Mix Series automatically.
Check these upcoming Trail Mix races (and some other favorite races of ours):
- A Mild Sprain 4.25M Trail Race (5/17) – Trail Mix Race #2
- Where the Pavement Ends 4.25M Trail Race (9/20) – Trail Mix Race #3
- Sarah Bishop Bushwhack 10k Trail Race (9/27) – Trail Mix Race #4
- Run The Farm 5M Trail Race (10/25 tentative date) – Trail Mix Race #5
- The Fire Tower 10k Trail Race (11/15 tentative date) – Trail Mix Race #6 – NEW race at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation
Some more great local trail (and one road) races:
- Rock The Ridge – May 3rd – Relay or One Person 50 Miler – Mohonk Preserve (New Paltz, NY)
- The Running Goddess (5/17) 5k trail race at Lasdon Park in Somers, NY
- Where the Wild Things Run 5k Trail Race (5/4) Woodcock Nature Center, Ridgefield CT
- Rockwood Ramble 10k Trail Race (6/6) Rockefeller State Park Preserve, Sleepy Hollow, NY
- Church Tavern Biathlon 7mi bike/4mi road race (9/7) South Salem, NY
- Mt Kisco 5k road race (9/20) Mt. Kisco, NY
- Paine to Pain Half Marathon Trail Race (10/4) New Rochelle, NY
- After the Leaves Have Fallen Half Marathon Trail Race (11/8 estimate) Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Gardiner, NY
- For a broad curated list of trail races from Virginia to New England, check this list from Essex Running member Chris Jaworski here: http://www.essexrunning.org/trails/
- Last but not least – join us on our SundayRuns.org club website — we do group trail runs throughout the year Sunday mornings at 8am, Locations are available on the site calendar.
Link to see photos from 2015 (still uploading, many more to come!).