Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

This is an old version of the FAQ list.

See the up to date FAQ here: http://leathermansloop.org/frequently-asked-questions

Some frequent questions we get about the Leatherman’s Loop:

Q: What is the Leatherman’s Loop?
A: It is a unique 10K trail run held in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Cross River/Pound Ridge/South Salem, NY.  Check this video, this article from the Lewisboro Ledger, this article from the first Loop in 1987, plus a bunch of other news articles on this site.  Many people have described it but you must experience it for yourself to know what the Loop is. Get an annotated pdf map here showing the course or you can download the latest (Sept 2010) edition of the WPRR trail map showing the newest trails such as the Rock Trail.

Q: Who Started the Loop?
A: Check this first edition of the Founder’s Newsletter to read some background and history of the Loop.  It is a great story and even better when Tony or one of the other founders tells it in person.  The current group guiding the Loop is here and is helped by an experienced volunteer group of 40-50 people each year to help pull off this fantastic event (and the new “Run the Farm” race in October!). 

Q: How do I get in touch with you?
A: If you want to get in touch or get on our email notification list click here.

Q: What should I wear to the loop?
A: Your Sunday best of course!  It is up to you and depends on the weather…  One item we would NOT recommend wearing is sweatpants.  You will most likely regret wearing them right after the first water crossing.  They will cease to serve their function of keeping your legs warm once they are soaked and slapping against your thighs and calves with every step.  Lighter stretch or warmup pants are OK as long as they dry quickly.  Shorts are even better!  There are only a few sections of the loop with long grasses so lower leg coverings (gaiters) may be an option.  You can wear a warm up shirt/jacket to the starting line and drop it as you pass the finish line in the meadow—it will be waiting for you when you finish.

And don’t forget—Bring a change of clothes (including clean socks and shoes)!

Q: How do I get to the park?
A: Driving directions and map are here.  If you search for Michigan Road and Reservation Road in Cross River NY that will get you within frisbee distance from the starting area.  Parking is just a bit up Reservation Road from there.  Follow the line of cars and watch for parking directions from the parking wranglers.

Q: How early should I arrive?
A: The Loop starts at 9AM.  We recommend arriving by 8:30 if you have done this before.  Get here earlier than that if you are new to the Loop.  Remember, there are 1,000 other people (give or take a few) arriving around the same time.  You will need time to park, get yourself ready, pick up your bib (and shirt if ordered), put your shirt back in your car, check the course map, meet up with friends, and gather across the meadow to the starting line.  There are port-o-sans in the picnic area adjacent to the Meadow parking lot.

Q: Is there overnight camping at the reservation?
A: Yes but you need to make a booking ahead of time through the park (the night before the loop is very popular!).  Check their website here:
http://parks.westchestergov.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1890&Itemid=3768 for contact information.

Q: What should I do to keep my sneakers on my feet?
A: Tie your laces tight.  Try a shoelace surgeon’s knot, similar to a shoelace knot but much more secure with one extra loop that combines the tightness of a double knot with the untying ease of a regular shoelace knot.  Tuck in the lace ends and loops between the tongue and laces of your shoes after you have tied them.  Some people use duct tape around their shoes but I find that reduces traction on the ground.  Your mileage may vary.

Q: Do I need special shoes for the Loop?  Will my sneakers get ruined by the course and mud?
A: No and No.  Regular running shoes are fine for the Loop.  Trail sneakers are a nice plus and will help with traction but we have no boulders and only a few rock faces to navigate.  Most of the (above water) trail is single track dirt/mud or slightly wider.  We have kept our (muddy) shoes from each loop and after a trip through the washer and dryer they are as good as new.  Some folks have retired their sneakers after a run on the Loop.  The course is honored to have met those sneakers and helped them run their last race.

Q: Last year I got blisters on my toes from wet socks chafing.  How can I avoid this?
A: Put vaseline on your toes and in between them and also rub some on the balls of your feet prior to putting your socks on.  Don’t use too much vaseline, just enough to make the water bead.  You can also check out thinner quick drying socks – but don’t change from your regular socks close to a race.

Q: Will you still hold the Loop if it is raining/sleeting/hailing/snowing/etc?
A: Yes!  No Loop has ever been postponed for any reason and we hope it will never happen!

Q: Is there a kids loop?
A: The first and only Leatherman Kids (1 mile) Loop was held in 2006 prior to the Leatherman’s Loop that day.  It drew a decent crowd, despite the torrential downpour during the day.  There are no plans to hold another kids loop event due to course and logistical limits.  In October 2010 we held the first “Run The Farm” 5 mile trail race and “Kids Run The Farm” 1 mile trail race and it was very popular!  The event was at Muscoot Farm off Route 100 in Katonah/Somers, NY. We hope to repeat it in October 2011.  Check the Run The Farm website for more information.

Q: Who is Doug Gorman?
A: Check this story posted in 2009.

Q: Can we bring dogs on the course (or to the park to watch)?
A: Yes, but you MUST 1.) start at the back of the pack and 2.) keep them leashed and close to you, especially at the beginning of the Loop where the crowds can be tight.  You know your dog best, so make sure they can deal with large numbers of people (and other dogs).  We have several dogs with 5+ years of running the loop and it is always fun to see them dragging their humans through the course.  No dogs are allowed in picnic areas at the park!  Park rules.

Q: Why do I have to keep my dog on a leash? (note – if you have to ask this, please leave your dog at home!)
A: (from Trailside Museum FAQ) It is a county ordinance. And it was passed for good reason: even the best-trained dog may react instinctively when it encounters wildlife, thereby putting either itself or another animal in danger. Additionally, families as well as school groups hike the trails and some people are afraid of dogs.

Q: Are iPods allowed during the run?
A: We don’t have an outright ban but we highly discourage runners from wearing iPods or other music players for a number of reasons.  The course is very crowded, especially at the beginning.  You will not be able to hear anyone coming up behind you and yelling “on your left” or “on your right.”  With the single track trails, the twists & turns, and the funneling of runners, this can be a safety issue.  Also, your iPod will most likely be destroyed by the various water and mud hazards on the course.  Lastly, you miss a vital part of the Leatherman’s Loop experience: the sounds of the race, the gleeful whoops of runners who have encountered the next obstacle, and the musical surprises on the trail waiting for the runners to pass by.  If you use music as a motivational spur for your solo workouts, consider the 1,000+ other people around you sufficient motivation and energy for your time on the trail during the Loop!

Q: When does registration open?
A: Usually early in the year.  In 2012 race entry will be by lottery only. 

Q: Why are you doing race entry by lottery?
A: The demand has grown so much over the last 5 years that we can’t accommodate all who want to run. In the past 2 years, our open registration has been fraught with problems for runners not being able to access the online registration or encountering problems due to the enormous volume of interest. In 2011 we did a partial lottery and it worked out very well. A lottery will address the online problems since it will be open for 7-10 days before we do the lottery selection and runners can register for the lottery at their leisure during that time.

Q: What does the registration cost?
A: Race registration is $30. (Since 2008 we have included the $8 parking fee the county charges for park entrance.) T-shirt purchase is $18 and is optional.  The only way to ensure you have a t-shirt waiting when you pick up your bib is to pre-order it while registering.  We will have a limited number of additional t-shirts screened and for sale on the day of the Loop but these are first come first serve and all sizes may not be available.

Q: Why is a t-shirt not included with race registration?
A: Leatherman’s Loop is—and always has been—completely runner supported.  By doing it this way the Loop is not dependent on sponsors and is totally driven by the runners.  The Loop t-shirts are one of a kind each year and designed by an artist. They have no ads on them at all.  We will have a limited quantity of shirts available for purchase at the Loop if you would like to wait to decide to purchase the shirt.  If there is any money left over from the Loop we donate it to many different worthy causes.

Q: Why is the Loop registration limited? Why don’t you allow XXXX number of runners?
A: The course can get very crowded at the beginning, causing a backlog at the entrance to the woods trail.  The Loop has gotten very popular over its 25 years and there simply isn’t room for all of the runners that want to experience the Loop in any given year. In addition to the course limits, parking room is also a factor.  We have been able to increase the numbers of runners due to the frequent use of carpools by our runners.  We encourage you to carpool as it minimizes our footprint at the park and reflects favorably on the Loop.  The Loop has grown bit by bit each year and the care we all take while using the park ensures we can keep coming back.

Q: I never heard from you guys about registration and I signed up for updates or ran a previous Loop, what happened?
A: We don’t know. You should have heard from us if we have your email address. We email everyone in our email list with a note carrying the date and details of registration opening.  We have email addresses for runners who have run the Loop from around 2005 onwards (unless you removed yourself from the list or the email bounced due to a job change, etc.).  Why wouldn’t this email reach you?  Email addresses change, our emails to you get tagged as spam, sunspots interfere with the electrical grid, your kid deletes your emails, etc.  We don’t really know what happens to emails once they leave our account.  That’s one reason we created this website and more recently a Facebook page.  We have not set up a Leatherman Twitter, Friendster, MySpace, or LinkedIn account.  Don’t hold your breath! 

SUGGESTION: put December 26th into your computer’s calendar as a recurring “Leatherman’s Loop Reminder Day.”  Check back on the website then to see what’s up with the Loop registration.

Q: What!! I missed out on registration?  How did this happen?
A: See above.  Make sure you are on the Loop email list.

Q: Is there a waiting list?
A: There are over 400 people who didn’t get it via the 2011 lottery so those people have dibs on any spots that may open up (which are very rare).  Bottom line is you already have 400 people in front of you and only a handful of spots opened up last year.  You can add your name to our notification list for next year and for the October “Run The Farm” race we also put on.  Click on the contact us link on the home page and submit your name and email via the form.

Q: If I missed out on the 2011 Lottery, will that improve my chances for 2012 entry?
A: We haven’t given that too much thought yet but we will let you know.  (We do have the list of those not chosen for 2011.)  There is a great article about the “lottery math” for the Western States 100 mile ultra run here.  We’re not quite in their league (100 trail miles?!) but this article outlines some of the unexpected consequences of adding complexity to a race lottery selection process.  When people introduce terms like “Hypergeometric distribution” we tend to want to keep it simple.

Q: Can I just show up on the day of the Loop and register?
A: No.  Same day, walk-in, last minute registrations are not allowed and have not been since 2007.  We typically have hundreds of people on the waiting list.  Unless you are a confirmed runner who has received a confirmation email, please don’t come expecting to run in the race.  You can check your registration status here: https://www.raceit.com/Register/registrantSearch.aspx?event=2764.  It is simply not fair to the others who are registered and those who were shut out and ahead of you.

Q: Can I run using someone else’s bib?
A: NO!  Runners CANNOT USE ANOTHER RUNNERS BIB!  Anyone we see doing this will have their names changed to TURKEY in the results and be banned from future Loops.  People who do this play havoc with the results and are also cheating the rest of the running field by not supporting the race.  In a recent Loop, a 20 year old male ran using a 50 year old female’s bib number.  The results for the “woman” put her (really him) as the top finisher in the F50-59 category.  This pushed the real first place finisher in that division to second.  Another example is the 18 year old who ran and won 3rd place in the F40 category, pushing out the rightful 3rd place winner from winning their pie. This is not good sportsmanship. We only discovered these problems after the awards were made.  If you can’t register for the Loop, please consider volunteering (see below), coming to run during a course check in the weeks leading up to the loop, cheering your friends/family on, or registering and running in another local trail race.  Plus there’s always next year! 

Q: I missed out on registration, can I volunteer?
A: YES! Absolutely!  Please get in touch via email (leathermansloop@gmail.com).  Our experienced crew could always use new faces.  If you have any unique talents (photography, food prep, good handwriting, crowd control, etc.) let us know.  We’ll get in touch regarding race day assignments.

Q: Why don’t you just have a second Loop or second heat?
A: The park management has historically been cool to the idea of a second race.  We tried having a second heat a few years back and had a runner revolt when seemingly everyone who was slotted for the second heat wanted to trade spots to get into the first heat.  We ended up scrapping the second heat idea and everyone started at the same time.  A second heat 15-30 minutes later also does nothing to help with the parking limitations.  A second race the later same day was also deemed not workable since that would require a second shift of volunteers and many other logistical issues which don’t happen with a single event.

Q: Are there other trail races in the area?
A: Run The Farm is a new trail race put on by the Leatherman Harriers in October 2010.  We are looking to repeat next year if there is interest.  Also please check this posting for some upcoming local trail races.  Thanks to Chris Jaworski for his work on keeping the list current.  He could use your help if you know of a trail run that is not included.  His contact information is at the link above.

Q: Can I cancel my registration or carry over my registration to next year? 
A: No.  Registrations are non-refundable and non-transferable.

Q: I can’t attend this year. Can I carry over my registration to next year?
A: No, we do not carry over registrations from year to year. 

Q: Can I transfer my registration to another person?
A: No.  Registration is non refundable and non transferable. See above. 

Q: Is Ward Pound Ridge Reservation a Native American reservation? (from Trailside Museum FAQ)
A: No. It is a reserved area for plants and animals. However, there has been a Native American presence in the park in the past as evidenced by the Bear Rock petroglyph and remains of a hunting camp/expedition.

Q: What is the Navajo/Irish Blessing that is given at the start of each Loop?
A: The Chant/Blessing is given by Danny Martin.  It goes:

    Beauty before me when I run.
Beauty behind me when I run.
Beauty below me when I run.
Beauty above me when I run.
Beauty beside me when I run.
Beauty within me when I run.

    I see Beauty all around.
    In beauty may I walk.
    In beauty may I see.
    In beauty may we all be.