Some quick links to frequent questions we get about the Leatherman’s Loop (Latest Loop news):
Race entry fee is $37 and includes county parking fee of $10. Race T-shirts are optional and cost is +$20 (why?). Both costs include credit card fee. Registration is by Loop Lottery. You will be charged immediately upon selection if you are selected in the lottery.
Q: When is the Leatherman’s Loop?
A: In 2015 it will most likely be Sunday April 26, 2015. Race starts at 9am — but due to
potential guaranteed traffic bottlenecks and tight parking we advise runners to arrive at least 45 minutes before 9am (see “How early should I arrive?” question below for more details).
With only a few exceptions in the past 27 years, the Loop has been the Sunday following the Boston Marathon.
Q: What is the Leatherman’s Loop?
A: It is a unique 10K trail run held in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation starting in Cross River and heading through Pound Ridge and 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. Lots of photos can be found here.
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, check a brief video about the Loop, or you can download the WPRR trail map showing the newest trails such as the Rock Trail and the Dancing Rock short loop.
Q: Who Started the Loop?
A: The Leatherman’s Loop was started by four trail running friends back in 1987. 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 our “Run the Farm” race in October!).
Q: How do I get in touch with you or sign up for updates?
A: Either: click here (to sign up for our email list) or here (to contact us via a web form where you can enter a question). We also have a facebook page, a twitter feed, and you can follow us on tumblr. One or more of those should do it, especially since email is very unreliable.
For the email list sign up you will get a confirmation immediately from our email company that you must click on to actually confirm you own that email address. This is an automated way of preventing random people from signing others up for a mailing list they don’t want to hear from.
For the “contact us” form, we usually get the message within a day or so (and sometimes sooner). It may take a bit to get back to you — or you might get a response the same day — but we should respond. If we don’t please send another message — we won’t mind!
Q: I sent you an email and never heard back. What’s up?
A: Sorry about that! We get a lot of emails (especially around lottery week and race day) and sometimes one or two slip through the cracks. Try re-sending your note. We usually respond within 48 hours and frequently sooner. If it takes us any longer, re-send and remember — honey catches more flies than vinegar!
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 a map location within frisbee distance from the starting area (well, maybe a well thrown frisbee). Parking is just a bit up Reservation Road from there. On race day, 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 8:20 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. If you have extra time, check out the level of the Cross River at the final water crossing near the start line.
There are port-o-sans in the picnic area adjacent to the Meadow parking lot (maps). There are also restrooms at the park entrance by the entry gate. Could be a timesaver — plus they are not port-o-sans!
Q: Is there overnight camping at the reservation?
A: Yes. You should make a booking well ahead of time through the park (the night before the loop is very popular! No surprise). Check their website here: http://parks.westchestergov.com/ward-pound-ridge-reservation/ward-pound-ridge-fees for contact information. If you do camp out overnight you might think about bringing a bike to get down to the Meadow parking lot in the morning rather than driving your car due to the crowds.
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. It is now in its third year. 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 READ BELOW BEFORE COMING WITH YOUR DOG.
If you run with your dog 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 are tight. You know your dog best, so make sure they can deal with large numbers of people (and many 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. Please only bring dogs that are well behaved in LARGE crowds and OK with other dogs.
No dogs are allowed in picnic areas at the park! Park rules.
Q: Why do I have to keep my dog on a leash?
A: Once you see the crowds and spectators you will understand. Off leash dogs would cause a safety hazard and are absolutely not allowed.
Also, from the Trailside Museum FAQ: It is a county ordinance at county parks that all dogs be leashed. 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 headphones allowed during the run?
A: No headphones – this is new for 2014 and driven by safety reasons and runner feedback.
First reason: being a good trail running citizen! 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.” When you get to the single track trails, the twists & turns, and the funneling of runners, this can be a safety issue.
Second: Your music player will very likely be destroyed by the various water and mud hazards on the course. A slip and fall at the wrong time will get your electronics an appointment with the rice baggie… (which doesn’t work so well with mud)
Third, 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 this: you are not solo on this run… The 1,000+ other people around you should provide sufficient motivation and energy for your time on the trail during the Loop!
Q: When does registration open?
A: Usually early in the year (January). In 2012 and going forward, race entry will be by lottery only.
Q: Why are you doing race entry by lottery?
A: See the Loop Lottery FAQ for lots of detail on why. The demand has grown so much over the last 7 years that we can’t accommodate all who want to run. In the last 3 years of open registration it was fraught with problems — runners were not able to access the online registration and encountered problems due to the enormous volume of interest. In 2011 we did a partial lottery and it worked out very well. The next year we went to a full lottery which addresses the online problems since it will be open for 4 days before we do the lottery selection. Runners can register (or have friends register them) for the lottery at their leisure during that time.
Q: Why is the Loop registration limited? Why don’t you allow XXXX number of runners?
A: The course gets very crowded at the beginning, causing a backlog at the entrance to the woods trail and in the first pine forest before the first water crossing. The Loop has gotten very popular over the 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 (Thank You!). 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. The care we all take while using the park ensures we can keep coming back.
Q: Can you cut down on the number of runners in the Loop?
A: If the Dutch can hold back the Atlantic I suppose we could reduce the number of runners in the Loop below what we currently let in, but why? As we see it, we have two options: The first is to receive criticism from a couple of runners about (real) course crowding. The second is receive criticism from hundreds more runners because they got shut out. We have chosen to let the Loop grow a tiny bit each year. We do in fact turn away hundreds of runners during the Loop Lottery and we feel badly that we have to hold some folks back. Thankfully we have been able to offer a guaranteed spot the next year to those runners turned away in the previous lottery.
On some levels the actual running is just one piece of what the Loop is about. There are many smaller and less crowded trail races and our hope is that enthusiastic trail runners who may be turned off by the size of the crowd at the Loop would consider supporting some of the other wonderful trail races out there.
The past few years we have let in roughly the same number of entrants, with only a slight increase (less than 20-25) each year. We have a rough idea of the number of no-shows and we factor that in to our plans for the Loop and how many runners we expect. But until we count the number of finishers, we have no idea (other than an upper limit) of how many registered runners we had on the course. On warmer sunny Loop days we expect to have more registered runners show up vs. colder rainier Loop days when we expect fewer registered runners. The Loop being what it is — and attracting the type of runner it attracts — we have found that rainy days actually resulted in a lower no-show rate (i.e. more registered runners showed up) than when the weather was nicer. We’re sure there’s a sociology or psychology paper in there somewhere. We have just gone back to guessing (educated guesses though) how many finishers we will have.
Q: I didn’t get an email about my selection in the Loop Lottery, was I picked?
A: We will have a searchable list of lottery selections available after the selections have been made. Check the Loop Lottery FAQ.
A: Race registration is currently $40.
When you register, a portion of the race fee will go towards the $10 per car County Parks parking fee.
Before 2008, park employees would collect the parking fee from every car entering the Rez for the race. If you think the drive into the Rez on the morning of the Loop is crowded now, imagine the wait when each car had to roll down their window and pay the parking fee. Slow going is an understatement!
Starting in 2008 the park and the Harriers came up with a plan to speed up the entry into the park. The race organizers now pay a parking fee based on the total number of cars entering on the morning of the Loop. The park employee simply counts the cars as they go by and we write them a check. SO MUCH BETTER!
It is for this reason that we ask all of you to do your part and CARPOOL with at least 1 other runner. That way we can maximize the charitable donation the Leatherman Harriers make after the Loop is completed — and also save you $$ on gas! Plus the Loop is a lot more fun when shared.
The T-shirt purchase is $20 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. Check the designs from the past 28 years to get an idea of what they can look like.
Q: What are the awards and categories?
We have awards for top 3 male and top 3 female finishers overall.
Also top 3 for age categories: 14 & under, 15-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70-79, and 80+ if needed for both male and female runners.
Prizes are pies, tarts, and pastries. Occasionally we will have special awards of a half-dozen fresh donuts in a bag. If you are not at the post race awards to collect your prize we can’t send them to you as the pies & tarts are perishable. They will be given to the nearest small child who looks hungry.
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 and funded 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 which is what we’d have to do to make them ‘free’ with registration like many other races.
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: Can I purchase a shirt without registering or in the “non-Loop” season?
We only sell the yearly Loop shirts with registration and on the day of the Loop.
As a test, we have set up an experimental Loop Store at a site that does “on demand” t-shirt and other item printing. Check this page: http://leathermansloop.org/frequently-asked-questions/loop-apparel/
At this link you can find a variety of shirts, hats, sweats, shorts, bags, towels, etc. that you can choose from including tech shirts. Let us know what you think if you order an item through there. We have purchased a few and they are good quality materials. Note these are not the yearly race shirt designs.
Q: Why is there a credit card fee on top of the registration cost?
A: It is now included in the cost of registration. We changed this in 2013 and going forward.
A: We don’t know. You should have heard from us if we have your email address (you can sign up again if you are not sure – the system automatically eliminates duplicate email addresses).
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 our email reach you? Email addresses change, you typed in your email address incorrectly, sunspots interfere with the electrical grid, your kid deletes your emails, our emails to you get tagged as spam (Note: if you tag our emails as spam then your email gets removed and we can’t add your email back to our list!), etc. We don’t really know what happens to emails once they leave our account. (Open secret — no one really knows what happens to regular old emails once they are sent!) Add email@example.com to your address book to help ensure you receive our emails and they are not tagged as spam.
Email unreliability is one reason we created this website that you are reading right now. In 2010 we created a Facebook page. In 2011 we also set up a Leatherman Twitter account if that is more your speed. In 2014 we set up a Tumblr site. (This Leatherman is more social than the 19th century kind.) All of these pages show updates from the website and Facebook page so use the one you are most comfortable with.
Note the Leatherman will NOT be getting a LinkedIn, Friendster, MySpace, or other social media account — although he keeps getting invited to join LinkedIn to join the “19th Century Wanderers” discussion and networking group. This should go without saying, but PLEASE stop sending LinkedIn invites. The Leatherman does not have a “Professional Network.” Only a social one…
A GOOD 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? I missed the lottery? How did this happen?
A: See question above for at least 4 ways of getting reminded of the Loop Lottery in early January. Make sure you are on the Loop email list.
Q: Is there a waiting list?
A: Sorry! Each of the past seven years there were hundreds of people who didn’t get it via the signup or lottery so those people are effectively the waiting list and have dibs on any spots that might open up. The bottom line is we only had a handful of spots open up after the lottery the last few years — and usually these are too late to get anyone in. In addition we let in more people than our goal for the race field size since we know there will be runners who can’t make it for one reason or another come race day.
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 sign up link on the home page and submit your name and email via the form.
And check out this great list of other trail races in the tri-state area. Support your local trail races so they will continue!
Q: If I was not picked in the 2014 Lottery, will that improve my chances for 2015 entry?
A: We plan to reset each year with a clean slate. However, we will make one-time accommodations for runners who registered for the lottery in 2014 but did not get picked and did not get to run (we have the list, all you need to do is sign up for the lottery). So if you register for the 2015 Loop Lottery — and did not get picked in 2014 — we will make your entry for 2015 automatic — BUT you HAVE TO sign up for the 2015 Loop Lottery.
We may or may not continue this special accommodation after 2015 — it depends on the number of registrations we receive for the 2015 Lottery and how many we have to turn away.
Also, missing the lottery in 2014 only gets you guaranteed lottery selection in 2015. The offer for 2015 expires after the 2015 Lottery and will not be extended.
Contact us if you have had any registration problems entering the Loop Lottery BEFORE the lottery drawing.
Q: Can I just show up on the day of the Loop and register?
Same day, walk-in, last minute registrations are not allowed and have not been since 2007. We typically have hundreds of people waiting to get in who missed the lottery. It is simply not fair to the others who are registered and those who were shut out and ahead of you.
Unless you are a confirmed runner who has received a confirmation email and is listed on the confirmation page, please don’t come expecting to run in the race.
You can check our registration page here for the link to make sure you are on the registered runner list: http://leathermansloop.org/registration/ If you are not on the list linked to at this page — you are not registered! Please verify before coming to run on Loop morning. Get in touch with us if you think you are registered for the Loop but your name is not on the list.
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.
As an example: 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. It may not seem like a big deal to you when you do it, but it is a big deal to us and the people who are wrongfully passed over. Just don’t do it please.
Also, when you sign up to run the Loop, you sign a waiver. When you give someone else your number, they haven’t signed a waiver. Our insurance company doesn’t like that. If something happens to them, they’re not covered.
If you can’t register for the Loop or miss out in the lottery, 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or the contact us form. The earlier the better since we finalize volunteer assignments in early April. Our experienced crew welcomes and could always use new faces. If you have any unique talents (photography, food prep, medical/emt, good handwriting, crowd control, small aircraft operation, access to weather balloons and lots of helium, or have access to or own one of these, etc.) or preferences let us know you are interested in helping out and that will help us place you in a good spot. We’ll get in touch right away to confirm and then again closer to race date 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. Not saying it won’t happen, but no new races are planned for the near future at the Rez. We do frequently have group runs there on sundays if you are interested.
We did try having a second heat a few years back. We 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 later the 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 trail race started by the Leatherman Harriers in October 2010. The fifth annual Run The Farm and Kids Run The Farm trail races will be run in October and we are looking forward to another big success. The Sarah Bishop Bushwhack was run for the first time in September 2013 and was a great success! It will be returning again in September 2014.
Also please check this link 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.
A: No. Registrations are non-refundable and non-transferable. We don’t do deferrals. See this article for some reasons why (excerpt below).
In essence, we hope you understand our simple approach meets our desire to do four simultaneous things: • Put on a top quality event; • Keep the registration fees modest; • Maximize the efforts of our volunteers toward race-related duties; and • Raise money to improve the trails and park.
Our all-volunteer organization does not have time for a rush of transfers and deferrals in the month or so before the loop. People still ask, and the answer is no. If you are reading this, thanks for not asking and we are sorry we can’t accommodate you.
Q: I can’t attend this year. What is your cancellation policy? Can I defer my registration to next year?
A: No, we do not offer deferrals of registrations from year to year. See above.
Q: Can I transfer my registration to another person?
A: No. Registration is non refundable and non transferable. See above.
Q: How is the race timing done?
A: We have historically used bibs and tear tags along with a computer timing system. Runners are timed when they cross the finish line and their tear tags are collected at the end of the finish chute. See this detailed explanation if you have more questions.
In the future we will be moving to a chip timing system to alleviate the bottlenecks in the chutes.
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.