Nearly 1,200 runners gathered at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation early sunday morning for a run “over the river and through the woods” as more than one runner was overheard to say.
An unseasonably hot spring dropped back to normal temperatures in time for the 26th running of the Leatherman’s Loop on Earth Day 2012. This, however, did not make up for the similarly unseasonal lack of rain or snow in the two months leading up to the event, making this year’s Loop the driest ever run.
Ken Littlefield, Mitch Stein, Bill Bradsell, and Mike Markhoff — volunteers who did the pre-Loop course check at 6am sunday — noted that with the lack of mud, this was a year for a new course record. They were right as the first four runners over the finish broke the previous record set only last year.
Race director Mike Paletta welcomed the runners and gave some last minute safety instructions. He introduced an audio clip (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2o15Ibc0Bvo, around the 1:30 mark) from Micah True (aka Caballo Blanco), a long distance runner and friend of the Loop who died less than a month ago. Micah was due to run with us on the day. In tribute to him a white horse — “Smudge” — ridden by local loop runner Joan Dooley led runners out at the start of the race.
Race Spiritual Director Danny Martin spoke of beauty all around us and recited the Navajo/Irish Leatherman’s chant. A familiar ritual to returning runners, this longstanding Loop tradition was started over a decade ago and stays with you during the run and afterwards.
Race founder Tony Godino instructed the runners about the peculiar start this year: This year’s official starter was pitcher Craig Swan from the New York Mets. Swan led the National League in ERA (2.43) for the 1978 season and was known for his 95 mile an hour fastball. Tony explained the start — “as soon as the ball hits catcher Ken Littlefield’s mitt, the race is on.” Tony called the pitch, “Swan sets, he checks the runners, here we go!” With a *Crack* and a whistle, the runners were off!
A fast start took the thundering and smiling crowd over the meadow, past the teepee, and into the woods by the river onto the 6.2 mile trek.
Loop newcomer and 3-time US Mountain Running team member Matthew Byrne of Scranton, PA took the top spot in the 26th Leatherman’s Loop with a time of 36:10. Ann Macdonald of Mt. Kisco won her second consecutive Loop, finishing in 47:38.
Seven time Loop winner Tommy Nohilly of Goldens Bridge NY took second overall with a personal best time of 37:13 and won the M40 division. Roberto Mandje of Boulder, CO, who last competed (and won) in the Loop in 2002 set a new personal record of 37:43, coming in 3rd overall and winning the M30 division. Matthew Rosetti of NYC was the fourth runner over the finish line with a time of 37:54 also breaking the previous course record.
Deanna Culbreath of NYC won the F30 division with a time of 48:30, coming in second overall. Seven time Loop champ Kerry Arsenault finished in 48:40 giving her first place in the F40 division.
Joe Stanley and Rick Hubbell returned for an astounding 26th straight Leatherman’s Loop finish. These two gentlemen have run in every single Leatherman’s Loop since they began in 1987. We had several others who are up there with 24 Loops: Bob Goldblatt; 23 Loops: James Reilly; 22 Loops: Nick Ohnell and Doug Goldblatt; 20 Loops: Jonathan Federman and John Partilla. For Partilla it was his 20th consecutive Loop, behind only Stanley and Hubbell. Many more of our die-hard “Muddiest Runners” were out in force on Sunday!
Ray Viscome, a runner from Silver Lake, NY, ran the course in 1:00:32. He had run it once before (1999) and did it this year with help from running support buddies Rich Izzo and Thomas Bookless. His amazing time is even more amazing since he runs with an artificial leg and has to be carried across the stream crossings after taking his prosthetic “Flex Run” leg off since the joint can’t get wet. See photo below of Ray with Rich and Thomas.
Many local runners shined as well. Craig Intinarelli of Katonah finished 7th overall. Justin Tufariello of Ridgefield was close behind at #8. Benjamin Barton, a Fox Lane student, finished 12th overall and first in the 19 & under category. Adrienne Kenny of South Salem finished 6th overall in the women’s division and #2 in the W30 division. Paige Beyer of Bedford was #14 overall and 2nd in the women’s 19 & under division.
Full results for 2012 (including all breakouts for male and female age divisions) can be found here: http://leathermansloop.org/2012/04/2012-results/
Thank you everyone for making this day such a wonderful experience. The fantastic team of volunteers including those at registration, parking wranglers, course marshalls, sweeps, photographers, food preparers, donation coordinators, course setters, course checkers, and the clean-up crew.
Thirty-one new runners were inducted into the “Muddiest Runners” list of runners who have run seven or more Leatherman’s Loops over the years. Congratulations to the new additions and especially local & Sunday runners Steve Eidam, Carol Gamez, and Kelley Roche (her seventh consecutive Loop!).
The volunteer food drive “Help Feed The Leatherman” collected 1,144 pounds of food donations for the Community Center of Northern Westchester food pantry. A big THANK YOU to runners for all of the contributions. This total is nearly three times last year’s collection. Thanks to David Ceisler for spearheading this worthy cause for the 4th straight year.
We would also like to thank Greg Fries along with the members of the Lewisboro Volunteer Ambulance Corps (www.lewisborovac.org) who have rendered aid for decades at the Loop and throughout Lewisboro. You hope you never need to visit them involuntarily, but you sure are glad they are there!
Last, but certainly not least, we would like to thank Jeff Main who is in charge of the park, John Baker, Director of Conservation for Westchester County, and the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation park staff. We couldn’t do what we do without their support and ready assistance.
See you on the trails!
We deployed 5 volunteer photographers out on the course on Sunday morning. We have also received many photos from runners. We are working on organizing them and have gotten some online.
If you have photos – send them to us @ firstname.lastname@example.org or even better – directly to our photo page at SmugMug.com via email@example.com with subject “26loops” as the password to email photos.
Photos so far are grouped as follows (some are still coming — plus yours!):
If you have photos to share, click this link (http://www.smugmug.com/photos/guest/Wwz2wC/26loops) and upload directly to the 2012 photos section of the Loop website.
During the loop (some video too!)
- All Loop – Brian Lynch
- First Water Crossing Photos – David Gordon
- First Water Crossing Video Clips – David Gordon
- Meadow Start – Tom Casper
- Kimberly Bridge – Carol Gordon
- Sullivan’s Surprise – Tom Casper
- Coming out of Pine Forest Photos – David Gordon
- Coming out of Pine Forest Video Clips – David Gordon
- Loop start and Splashdown! – Ciorsdan Conran
- Pre-loop plus Splashdown! – Michelle Blum
- Finish line (partial) – Carol Gordon
- Awards and Thanks (partial) – Rob Cummings
- Did anyone get the start of the awards – I missed the top finisher awards.. Send them in please!
Other Albums Online (not affiliated with the loop, but they posted their pics — thanks!)
- Matt Dewkett Photography (some great shots at the start and of the top finishers coming through Splashdown)
Our volunteers are skilled amateur and pro photographers who have donated their time and ability to the Loop. We are lucky to be able to provide these shots for free for your download and personal use!
Post your comments to this page or to our Facebook page.
If you have your own race report we can link to it here. Let us know the link.
- Danny Martin’s Earth Day blog entry