Group Run #6: Report

imageOn the penultimate Sunday before the Loop, we had eight intrepid runners (Ciorsdan, Lee, Aarti, Virginia, Brian, Chrissy, Patty, and Rob) on this perfect day for a run in the woods.  Loop founder Tony Godino came to send us off which was an unexpected treat!  The trails were the driest seen all season.  There was still plenty of mud on the trails, but it was a bit easier to avoid than in prior weeks. 

We headed out along the Deer Hollow trail that goes alongside the Waccabuc River and then joined up with the Loop course at about the 4 mile mark.  Since we had done just under a mile to get there, it felt very different than it will in less than 2 weeks.  The long gradual Deer Hollow Hill goes on for just under a mile into the Pine Forest section of the course and then downhill to the switchback at the river.  The Brown trail becomes the course at this point, following the river on the north side. It leads out towards the Splashdown (second water crossing) and the Meadow finish.  The water level has lowered considerably back to normal seasonal levels but we opted for the bridge near the park offices.  As it turned out, Sunday morning was the only time the Loop organizers could get together with the Park management to go over last minute details and logistics.  Rob peeled off to attend that meeting while the rest of the group headed into the woods via the Fox Hollow trail, Brown Trail (riverside) and then up the Brown Trail Hill (steep!) back towards the Town Park. 

Next week is the last group run Sunday before the Loop and we’d like to try our hand at the entire 6.2 mile Loop course in a ‘wet run’ (i.e. we will be doing the water crossings, rain or shine).  Meet at the Meadow Parking Lot at Pound Ridge Reservation at 8am Sunday April 18th and we will run the whole Loop course if folks are up for it (there are alternate routes if anyone wants a shorter run).  It won’t be a race, just a group run to check the terrain and conditions.  Hope some folks can join us!  The past six weekends have been fantastic and very motivating.  I hope those folks who joined in enjoyed the experience.

Two Weeks To Go…

[note: this email was accidentally sent to some folks who are NOT registered.  Our apologies—there are no additional spots available this year. See bottom of this post for link to a list of registered runners.]

Leatherman’s Loop News, Volume 24, Issue 5: Two Weeks Until Loop

To: All Who are Registered for the 2010 Leatherman’s Loop:
Spring is here… The trails are soggy… the peepers are out… leaves are budding… the woods beckon… It must be time for the Leatherman’s Loop!

Welcome to the 24th running of the Leatherman’s Loop Trail Race on April 25th, 2010! 

imageRace director Mike Paletta and the reliable Leatherman’s Loop volunteers have been working since last year to set up this year’s event.  Tony Godino says we are nearly ready to go for this year’s Loop.  All we need is YOU!

Below are some important instructions regarding this year’s race.  Registration is at the highest level ever so we will need to work together to ensure that loop day goes smoothly.  The park staff and our volunteers will all be working to kick this event off and leave great memories for each of you.

Here are some tips that you can incorporate into your plan for the morning and the day:

1) ARRIVE EARLY!  Please plan to arrive at the park before 8:30.  Car pool if you can.  Check our new CAR POOL forum to offer or request a ride.  Traffic can back up considerably at the park entrance as race time approaches.  Please be patient.  The regular $8 parking fee is now

part of the loop entry fee

so entry should go more quickly. We changed this in 2008 and all reports were that it made for a much more efficient entry for everyone.  It is always wise to arrive earlier than you think you need to in order to make sure you are all set by race start time (9am).  This is especially true if it is your first time running the Loop.

2) DRIVE SLOWLY and CAREFULLY in the Park! Watch the volunteers who are directing the parking. PARK TIGHT! Did we say car pool? Remember, April is Earth Month!  John Jay High School and Middle School are just 3 minutes from the entrance to the Rez (up 121 north) and should have plenty of spots open Sunday morning.  There is also the Katonah Train Station lot (which is free on weekends) just off 684 Exit 6 (Route 35) on Woodsbridge Road.  Plan ahead—consolidate 2 cars into one if you can.

image3) BRING A FULL CHANGE OF CLOTHING! After 23 years we have never seen a runner emerge dry and clean from the woods.  You will get wet and you will get muddy. Where and how you change is up to you.  Towels are a must. 

image4) LISTEN ATTENTIVELY TO PRE-LOOP ANNOUNCEMENTS! We only get to see you guys once a year and need a few minutes before the start. Race Director Mike Paletta will have important information about the course and safety.  Danny Martin will give a brief poem/blessing to set the tone. We will have a special guest in addition to Caballo Blanco who is our official Loop starter this year.  Also, you will be instructed about the hazards related to the stream crossings and current water conditions. Hidden boulders and slippery ledges lurk under the surface of the water. Slow down and DON’T DIVE into the water under any circumstances.  As a courtesy to those further away from the speakers we ask that you remain quiet for the sake of your fellow racers who may have never heard the instructions.

5) LISTEN FOR THE START!  In the past we’ve used a starter’s pistol, a major league pitcher, and an air horn…  You never know what sound will launch the runners—so keep those ears bent and listening. 

6) IF YOU SEE MUD, RUN THROUGH IT! Especially at the entrance to the woods immediately after the start.  If you stop—or simply hesitate—the people behind you may crash into you… trust us.  There’s no avoiding the mud so simply embrace it, get dirty, and get going.

7) WATCH FOR THE LEATHERMAN! Remember that this event celebrates the life of the Leatherman. Learn his story and by all means make some noise if he is out and about on Sunday.

8) STAY ON COURSE IF YOU CAN’T CONTINUE! There will be four “sweeps” running the course following the slower runners. If for any reason you can’t continue, wait for them to get to you to assess your needs. The park is nearly 5,000 acres so don’t leave the course unless you know exactly where you are going.

image9) THERE IS NO SAME DAY REGISTRATION!  We simply do not have room for any more registrations.  Please understand the position we are put in when we have to refuse someone entry.  If someone is interested in next year’s loop, there is a form at the website to submit name and email address.  If you are signed up for this year’s Loop you are already on this email list.

10) BRING FOOD DONATIONS! Don’t forget donations for the second Feed the Leatherman Food Drive.  Bring your non-perishable donations to the Loop and we will have a drop off point near the registration trailer.  Your generosity will benefit the Community Center of Northern Westchester.  Thanks to David Ceisler for spearheading the drive for a second year.

11) LEARN ABOUT THE LEATHERMAN! Author Dan DeLuca will be on hand during the Loop.  He will have copies of his new book on The Old Leather Man available for purchase and signing.  A portion of the proceeds of the book sales will go to fund a project that aims to reinter the Old Leatherman in a proper gravesite and a corrected headstone. 

image12) LEARN ABOUT THE TRAILS IN WESTCHESTER and beyond: Jane and Walt Daniels, authors of Walkable Westchester, will have information and copies of their local trail masterpiece available for purchase.  They also have information about the New York New Jersey Trail Conference and becoming a member of that organization.  The trail conference website is chock full of trail information in the NY and NJ area.

13) RESULTS: Printed lists of finishers with time and place will be available soon after the finish at the bib pickup area and shortly after that on the Loop website.  Check it out at

14) THANK A VOLUNTEER!  A tremendous amount of volunteer effort goes into making the Loop a special event each year.  T-shirt designers, registration volunteers, pie buyers, course setters, bib stickers, box lifters, water servers, food preparers, coffee brewers, parking coordinators, and the clean-up crew—not to mention the Pound Ridge and Lewisboro Police and the fantastic and dedicated members of the Lewisboro Volunteer Ambulance Corps

Due to the largest ever running field expected for the 24th Loop, we must ask some runners to voluntarily hold back a few minutes at the start of the Loop.  There is a potential for a larger than normal bottleneck at the entrance to the woods approximately 300 yards from the starting line and in the early trails.  If you conserve energy at the start you will have more left in the tank for the second half of the Loop when the trails are wider, the crowd is thinner, and passing is sweet!  This is a one time expansion of the running field and we will drop back to the normal runner cap for next year.

This event is truly a group effort and tribute to the spirit of the community. Your notes of support and encouragement feed the goodwill and energize the volunteers who organize and pull off this one of a kind event.  We are grateful that we have such a wonderful group of Loop enthusiasts and are thankful that we have the thousands of acres of parkland at the Rez to enjoy

Remember, leave only (muddy) footprints, take only pictures…

Expect more news as the event nears…. See you in 2 weeks! 

Good luck and have fun,
Mike, Kate, Tony, and Rob

PS: Map and Directions to the Reservation
A runners overview of the Leatherman’s Loop trail
Searchable list of registered runners


Group Run This Sunday April 11th

Two more Sundays until the Loop…

The weather should be cool and mild this Sunday… Hope you can join us! 

See prior group run notes (March 7, March 14, March 21, March 28, April 4) on website for more information.  Check this post for information about where we are meeting:

Help Feed The Leatherman - Food Donations

Last year Loop runners donated over 700 pounds of food in our first ever “Help Feed the Leatherman” food drive.  We are bringing the drive back for a second year!

imageThe Old Leatherman came to the same places on such a regular schedule that people “could set their clocks by his arrival.” In each community he passed, the Leatherman had identified a home or two where he knew friendly people would provide food whenever he appeared. Some residents would set plates of food out for him when he was expected, and the Leatherman would come by and clean the plate. This year for the loop we are asking our runners to “put the plate of food out” for the Leatherman.

We will be collecting food for the Community Center Of Northern Westchester. The food pantry at The Center needs our help as more and more people everyday show up at their door in need of help. The Center’s mission is to improve the well-being of our neighbors. That is what many people years ago did for the Leatherman.

The Center is in need of Dried black and pinto beans, Cold cereal, Tuna, Canned beef stew, Spaghetti sauce, Fruit juice, Baby food, Diapers and other non-perishables. We will have a designated location set up near bib pick-up to collect food donations on the day of the Loop. This is not a requirement. Help if you can.

The Leatherman depended on the charity and kindness of strangers. Let us extend the wonderful goodness and spirit of our loop, as we gather food for our neighbors.

Group Run #5: Report

image A fine Sunday morning greeted 5 runners (Ciorsdan, Lee, Debbie, Rose, and Rob) at the Lewisboro Town Park.  55 degrees, slightly overcast. 

Course was the ‘Western Figure 8’ Loop.  Started up the big hill out of the parking lot then left on the Deer Hollow trail from the Town Park blue trail.  Past the JT Farm fields along the Waccabuc River and made the first right onto the Loop course trail known as Deer Hollow Hill.  The course was still a bit wet but the edges were passable without too much mud.  From there went up the gradual slope and over the ridge taking the second white trail connector on the left.  This takes you through the Pine Forest section of the Loop course.  Went down the hill towards the rushing Cross River and took the switchback on the Brown trail towards Splashdown and the course homestretch.  No river crossing today—the water is still draining from Monday and Tuesday’s deluge.  (Maybe next week!) 

By this time the group was running 5 different courses at different paces.  Three of us met up between the Meadow start and the Meadow Oak at about the halfway mark.  The group of three headed back up the Brown trail to the Town Park.  Two alternate routes back were 1.) retracing the Deer Hollow/JT Farm trail back to the Town Park trails and 2.) exiting through a spur trail onto Mark Mead Road and then getting back to the Town Park along Route 35! 

Hope to see a big crowd next week.  Two more training Sundays before April 25th!

Leatherman Article in Hudson Valley Magazine

imageThe April issue of Hudson Valley Magazine recently did a story on the Old Leather Man.  Towards the end is a bit about the Leatherman’s Loop.

He may be all but forgotten by most people, but [in] April more than 1,000 intrepid runners celebrate the memory of the Leatherman by taking part in the Leatherman Loop trail race in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Westchester County. This month marks the 24th running of this six-mile trek, which was founded by Bedford resident Tony Godino and four friends back in 1986, when trail running was “a budding sport,” he says.

Check the article out here:

Group Run This Sunday April 4th

3 more Sundays to train… We are heading out for a run on Easter morning, Sunday, 4/4/10 at 8AM.  We will do a shorter run and shoot to be back to the cars in less than an hour. 

The weather should be spectacular for the weekend.  Definitely shorts weather… Hope you can join us! 

See prior group run notes (March 7, March 14, March 21, March 28) on website for more information.  Check this post for information about where we are meeting:

Group Run #4: Report

imageSunday, March 28th, 2010: Seven Loop runners (Holli, Lee, Debbie, Ciorsdan, Aarti, Rob, and Dr. Stu) met at the Town Park upper lot for a run into the Reservation.  It was overcast and mid-30’s temperature.  Just before heading out we spotted some snow flurries. Quite different from last week’s 60 degree run!  Possibly the last snow until next winter.

Hills was the course agreed on—a zig-zag over the northern ridge of the Rez.  We ran down into the Deer Hollow trail then picked up the Brown trail towards Splashdown.  Just before the meadow stretch towards the second water crossing we turned and stuck to the Brown trail.  Not being as brave as Jim “Iceman” Jinkins, we opted out of the water crossings on this day!  (Plus we were all wearing long pants, not shorts!)  We stretched out into 3 groups, each taking a different path over the hills.  Group 1 and 2 met going opposite ways at one point and Looped back together all the way to the wall. Everyone made it back onto Deer Hollow to head back to the cars.  Total runs were between 5.2 and 5.5 miles taking a bit over an hour.  The trail conditions were good with moisture abating somewhat.  Sticking to the high ground kept things drier but rockier.  Trail conditions change daily, especially in April. 

Next Sunday is Easter but we plan to be out there getting a run in.  It looks to be a warm weekend with temps up to the 70s on Saturday.  We’ll pick a shorter course to be done in under an hour.  Same time (8AM).  Hope you can join us!