Preparing for the Leatherman’s Loop

“As for the course, the outer limits are well within the capabilities of almost anyone curiously self-motivated – whether or not you’re just a weekend warrior or a dyed-in-the-wool mountain maniac. It’s got a mind all its own, with a foot-boggling array of barriers strategically placed so as to impede forward progress of the swift and sure-footed kind.”

-Description in original registration form for the Leatherman’s Loop trail run, April 1987

2007-shirt-just-leathermans-loop-circle-black-white-29-in-center-300The 29th Leatherman’s Loop trail run is set for April 26, 2015 at 9am. If you are running it for the first time or the 29th time — or anywhere in between — there are lots of things you can do to prepare.

The best advice is to Run! Get out and get those legs moving!

Next most important advice — Run on trails. If you are used to roads, you should try some trails before running the Loop. It can be a surprise if you and your ankles don’t have at least a passing familiarity with roots, rocks, and mud. Fortunately we have a regular sunday running group that meets at 8am every sunday for a run on the local trails of the Rez and other nearby parks.

There are other trail run groups or resources out there if you are not close to the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Cross River, NY: Westchester Trails (lower westchester), New York Trail and Ultra Running Meetup (NYC), Essex Running (Northern NJ), Bimbler’s Sound (CT shore), Northport Running (Long Island). {Please let us know any trail groups we missed}

What kind of shoes do you need? Regular running shoes are fine. Many trail runners like to wear trail sneakers which have better gripping bottoms for the slippery parts of the trail. Others like low-profile shoes such as the five fingers type shoes. The low profile shoes take some getting used to and you should probably avoid running a race in them until your feet are familiar with them.

What should you wear for the Loop? April weather is unpredictable. At the start of the Loop it has ranged from 40 degrees with wind and rain to 70 degrees and humid. We have also had our share of crisp 50 degree perfect sunny days and everything in between. Closer to the date we will know with more certainty what the weather will be.

For general advice, we always run the Loop in a single layer. Shorts vs pants are your choice. Shorts dry more easily post-water crossing but pants can protect your shins from getting dinged by trail hazards. Shirt can be long or short sleeved depending on weather and your comfort level.

One thing not to wear is sweatpants or any sort of thick leggings. It may seem cold at the start but it won’t ever be as cold at the start as running most of the Loop in soaking wet sweatpants from the first river crossing.

Pre-race announcements will take about 15 minutes and we advise runners to have a top layer on during these announcements. Runners can take off the top layer and toss it to the side before or just after the start. We will have those items brought up to the teepee for you to collect at the end of the Loop. Write your name in your clothing or put your name in a card in a pocket of any top layers that you plan to take off at the start. It will help to reunite you if you forget and leave it behind.

We strongly advise having a change of clothes and socks on hand in the car for after the trail run. Don’t plan on wearing your Loop shoes for the rest of the day as they will be soaked and muddy. Sweatshirt or windbreaker is a must for post-race. Hot beverages are a plus too.

The finish area will have fruit and bagels as well as water and coffee. Many runners stick around for the awards ceremony which usually starts around 11:00-11:15am at the registration area.

More information is in our Frequently Asked Questions page. We also have directions, maps, loop history, runner history, and results.

If you are looking for more trail races in the Westchester-Fairfield area, we have expanded our Trail Mix Trail Series to 6 races in 2015. The Loop is the first in the 2015 series and we are looking forward to kicking off the second Trail Mix series this year.

If you have any questions, please get in touch and we will do our best to answer! Trail run it! See you on the trails…

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