The Lonely Loop

[We got this note from Rob Lynch, multiple time Loop runner, Sunday evening after the Loop. We have published it here with his permission.]

Hello LeatherFolks,

My 5th Leatherman’s Loop was undone by a long commute from a kids softball tournament which left me stuck 45 min away in CT when the gun went off. Don’t get me wrong, I love that my kids are active but at the same time I was unsettled all morning. For me, The Loop is probably the most enjoyable race of the year – I had a dozen friends running and I trained all winter just to tackle Bimbler’s Bash and The Loop. After missing Bimblers, missing the Loop was really gnawing at me. Finally I said, what the heck. I drove up to the Reservation – you know, just to jog around a bit and maybe soak up some after glow.

The scene 4 hours after the gun: the starting banner was down, the markers gone, the bagels eaten and the parking lot empty. A lone volunteer had just finished gathering all the yellow tape. If not for a row of portable bathrooms that could have drained the bladders of a small stadium you might not have suspected any festivities today.

Rob in the Mud Flats in 2014 surrounded by a few more runners than this year.

Rob in the Mud Flats in 2014 surrounded by a few more runners than this year.

I wandered to the starting line. And all that was left was an oddly out of place folding ladder. There I was — I looked down and toed the line. I’m sure it was my intention all along. In my head I said some mildly inspirational words; I think I lifted them from the Run the Farm intro (though I don’t know all the words from the “Run the Farm” refrain or the veggie song).

And I took off.

Solo.

It was a mad dash across the meadow that left me breathless by the parking lot… Who was I racing? The ghosts of Loops past I guess. I kept it up and wound my way into the woods and along the river. It took a bit of courage to jump into the river the first time – that’s truly the moment when you really commit and go all in on the Loop. The mud flats were spectacular and the sand hills tougher than ever but that’s what you get when you are #1001 out of #1000 runners. I turned 6.2 mile race into a 6.5 mile run with 3 wrong turns but that’s not so bad considering I ran without markers.

Thinking about it now, my Loop 2015, the Lonely Loop, may not have been as much fun as the others but gave me plenty of time to soak in a great trail and clear my thoughts. I’ll be back, both for both the Leatherman in years to come and for another Lonely Loop or two when the trail calls.

— Rob Lynch

Post script: the trail looks great and other than the water station there’s not a gel or a water bottle or lost shoe littering the woods.