April 21st, 2013, Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, Cross River, NY, 27th Leatherman’s Loop
Runners awoke to a bright sunny but chilly morning as dawn temperatures hit the freezing mark before sunlight brought some warmth to the day. And oh what a day! Since before sunrise, race organizers were busy capping the months of preparation that goes into staging this event to get ready for the 1,200+ runners and their spectators expected for the Loop.
Cars lined Reservation Road from 7am through just before 9am as runners streamed in from over 260 towns and cities from 24 different states as far away as California plus one Canadian province. Bedford had the most local representation with 129 runners registered followed closely by Lewisboro at 125. New York City, Katonah, and Pound Ridge rounded out the top 5 runner addresses.
As 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 food pantry. The drive is in it’s 5th year and was spearheaded this year by 16 year old Katonah resident Sam Ceisler and helped by 16 year old Emily Casper of South Salem. We will update you all with the total weight of food donations collected when we hear back from them later this week. Last year runners donated over 1,000 pounds of food!
(Note: Audio Clips of the dedication, blessing, and song can be found at the bottom of this article.)
As runners gathered at the start line, Race Director Mike Paletta cautioned runners about the trail hazards and handed off the microphone to “El Compadre” Tony Godino. Tony outlined the start and said a few words of welcome and condolences for the victims at the Boston Marathon. Danny Martin spoke about beauty and tragedy and dedicated the race to all who have been involved in the pain and the beauty that surfaced out of Boston. Danny led the runners in the traditional Leatherman’s Loop Blessing then handed off to Theo Harris who started the runners out with a stirring acappela rendition of “Amazing Grace.” Runners joined in and sang the final verse with him. Tony rang the cowbell and runners were off!
The course was muddy after the recent rains and runners encountered “first mud” on the first turn going into the woods. The river water levels were a bit below average compared with past years but the mud level was in peak shape with the mud flats extra squishy and claiming several shoes and causing quite a few tumbles judging from the dried mud on shirts and arms and faces at the finish line.
Many runners wore Boston shirts and hats as a tribute. There was a runner dressed as a Franciscan monk, a runner dressed as Pocahontas, one in a Santa Claus top and hat, and a runner sporting an orange wig. Our favorite clown was injured this year but vowed to be back next year.
Full results are available here and below are some highlights:
Tommy Nohilly of Goldens Bridge, NY won his eighth Loop with a time of 38:36. Past Loop winner Gerry Sullivan of Bronxville, NY came in 2nd at 39:56. John Jay High School sophomore Liam Hackett came in 3rd at 40:52. Gus Ellison of Rowayton, CT came 4th at 42:18. Matt Kershner, a senior at John Jay, was 5th at 42:30.
Laura Coogan of Brooklyn, NY won her first Leatherman’s Loop with a time of 46:29. Last year’s winner Ann MacDonald of Mt. Kisco was 2nd (47:42) and Deanna Culbreath of New York, NY came in 3rd (48:05). Cathrine Levine of Pound Ridge was 4th at 49:16 and Lindsey Felling of Larchmont, NY rounded out the top 5, finishing at 50:06.
The oldest finisher was Ian Beck at 77. The youngest finisher was Margaret Puccio at 7 (second youngest finisher ever in the Loop and youngest female finisher ever!). Oliver Stafford, Sawyer Cummings, and George Brand ( all 8 years old) were the youngest boys finishing.
Special mentions for Kennedy Kreutzer (8 years old) who finished in a blistering 1:01:29 coming in 42nd out 387 women finishers good enough for 6th in her age group which included women up to age 18! Eamonn Sullivan (9 years old) finished in 1:00:27 in his second Loop. Congrats to both — they bear watching in future Loops!
Loop veteran Joe Stanley ran his 27th consecutive Loop — an unbroken streak from 1987 through yesterday. Amazing! Shirley Iselin ran her 18th Loop, the most for any woman and an unbroken streak since 1996!
Several Loop veterans were injured or absent and were sorely missed. Rick Hubbell could not make it. George “Cannonball” Buchanan had to bow out earlier this week and Bob and Doug Goldblatt were unable to make it due to family committments. Kerry Arsenault is recovering from an ankle injury but was there to cheer on her team including husband Jerry “Mr Bimble” Turk. Everyone is already looking forward to next year!
Some local high school notes: John Jay Cross Country had a strong presence at the top of the Loop leaderboard with 3 members represented in the top 5: JJXC Boys Head Coach Tommy Nohilly (1st) as well as top runners Liam Hackett (3rd) and Matt Kershner (5th at 42:30). Rival Fox Lane Cross Country was represented at the top as well with Andrew Rosati and David Martinez back to back at #15 and #16.
We are getting lots of photos sent in by photographers of all stripes. Michelle Blum and Josh Chapman have posted some on our photo site already, check http://leathermansloop.smugmug.com/2013 and click on their albums and the other albums as we upload more photos. Many different vantage points. We have shots to post from our photographers at the mud flats, the wall, the first crossing, and splashdown. Stay tuned!
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://www.smugmug.com/photos/guest/3V5qJk/27loops) where you can simply drag and drop the pictures. 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!
Thank you all for coming out to run and support your friends and family! We look forward to seeing many of you again at an upcoming race!
To continue your trail running into the spring and early summer we recommend these wonderful races:
- Rock The Ridge – May 4th – Relay or One Person 50 Miler – Mohonk Preserve (New Paltz, NY)
- A Mild Sprain May 19th – 4.25M trail run – Sprain Ridge Park (Yonkers, NY)
- The Running Goddess – June 2nd – A women’s multi-terrain charity 5K race/walk at the exquisite Lasdon Park (Somers, NY)
- Rockwood Ramble – June 8th – 10k trail run – Rockefeller Park (Sleepy Hollow, NY)
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 – next sunday’s run is April 28th at Mountain Lakes Park where we will check out a new course and get some good karma going for a new trail race!
Some Audio clips from the Loop day below:
Tony’s welcome before the start:
In case you couldn’t hear Danny Martin’s blessing at the start of the Loop this year, the audio is below:
Official 2013 Loop starter Theo Harris singing “Amazing Grace” just before the start.