(republished from old website)
by J.B. COZENS The Lewisboro Ledger, April, 2001, Cross River, New York
Over the years, the Leatherman’s Loop trail race has built a reputation as a supreme natural challenge. Many a runner have been laid low by its stream crossings, ankle deep mud and steep, rocky trails.
But in Sunday’s 15th running of the 10K race in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Cross River, Mother Nature had a new trick up her sleeve for one young competitor, who was run over by a deer along a stretch of woodlands trail in the county park.
Fortunately, Griffin Farro, 11, of Stamford, Conn., was not seriously injured, although he was unable to finish the race and later was taken to the hospital to be checked out.
“I expected maybe a few squirrels getting in my way. Not a deer,” said Griffin, who had made it 1.5 mile into his first-ever big race when the collision occurred.
The deer, described by another runner as medium sized, suddenly bolted into the path while a group of runners were maneuvering along a narrow, crowded stretch of trail. It broadsided him from the left, throwing the 70-pound youth into the air.
“I probably must have gone three feet off the ground,” said Griffin, who suffered minor injuries, mostly to his ribs, from the impact with the rocky ground. “It didn’t really hurt until I hit the ground. I felt terrible. My whole body ached.”
Several runners stopped to assist the boy, who was able to walk back to the starting point.
One of those runners said the deer appeared to come out of nowhere.
“It bolted across and the kid kind of did a half flip and landed on his back,” said Matt Sheehan of Carmel, who was running behind Griffin at the time. After the collision, the deer stood still for about five seconds, looking at Griffin on the ground.
“The deer turned around and looked at him, as if to see if he was OK,” said Mr. Sheehan. “Then it just took off.”
Race organizer Tony Godino, who thought he’d seen it all over the race’s 15-year history, could only express amazement at what will surely rank high in the lore of the Leatherman’s Loop.
“It’s by far the freakiest thing that’s happened,” said Mr. Godino.
Adding to the bizarre nature of the incident is that Griffin Farro goes by the nickname of ‘Buck’. He was given his nickname “because he runs through the woods like a deer,” said his mother, Kate.
“He has been running through the woods since the age of three. He’s been training for this race all his life,” she said, adding that her son had learned about the Leatherman’s race from friend who had run it.
More determined than ever, Griffin intends to be back next year for another crack at the Leatherman’s Loop. For now, all he has to show for his efforts is a memory of a lifetime.
“I’ve got quite a story to tell my friends,” he noted.