28th Leatherman’s Loop in 2 Weeks!

Leatherman’s Loop News, Volume 28, Issue 1: 28th Leatherman’s Loop in 2 Weeks!Leatherman's Loop - Keep Calm and Run Thru the Mud

To: All Who are Registered for the 2014 Leatherman’s Loop:

The snow is melted… the water is cold but flowing… buds are popping… peepers are peeping… That means spring is here once again… Time for the 28th running of the Leatherman’s Loop Trail Race on April 27, 2014!

Race organizers Tony & Judy Godino, Mike Paletta, and Rob Cummings and the dedicated Leatherman’s Loop volunteers have been working hard to set up this year’s event. All we need is YOU!

Car ride into the RezBelow are some important instructions regarding the Loop.  Registration is packed full. We will need your help to ensure that loop day goes smoothly.

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 8:20.  Car pool if you can. Traffic will back up considerably at the park entrance as race time approaches.  Please be patient. The regular $10 parking fee is already incorporated as part of the loop entry fee so entry will go more quickly. 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! Plan ahead — Car Pool if you can!. For a helpful overview of the race location (parking, start, bib pickup), check the logistics page on the website here.

Aerial photo of Leatherman's Loop parking, bib pickup, start, and finish areas with key areas marked.

3.) BRING A FULL CHANGE OF CLOTHING! You will get wet and you will get muddy. Where and how you change is up to you. Towels are a must. A clean, dry set of shoes to change into is a requirement. There has never been a runner who emerged dry and clean from the woods after completing a Loop. Plan accordingly!

4.) LISTEN ATTENTIVELY TO PRE-LOOP ANNOUNCEMENTS! We only get to see most of you all once a year and need a few minutes before the start. Race Director Tony Godino will have important information about the course and safety.  You will be instructed about the hazards related to the stream crossings and current water and course 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.

5.) LISTEN FOR THE START! Following the instructions, Danny Martin will give a brief poem/blessing to set the tone. Then we will start the runners.

6.) IF YOU SEE MUD, RUN THROUGH IT! Especially at the entrance to the woods immediately after the start. There’s no avoiding the mud — so simply embrace it, get dirty, and get going.

Mud Flats are Muddy

Mud Flats are Muddy

7.) STAY ON COURSE IF YOU CAN’T CONTINUE! There will be a number of “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 over 4,300 acres so don’t leave the course unless you know exactly where you are going.

8.) ALL DOGS MUST BE LEASHED! If the dogs are running in the Loop they MUST START NEAR THE BACK with their humans! If you are running with your dog, please hold back at the start and to be certain that your dog or its leash does not interfere with or impede any of the other runners. The county park law requires dogs be leashed at all times while in the park for the safety of your dogs, other park patrons, and other dogs visiting.

9.) LEAVE HEADPHONES IN THE CAR! This is a new requirement and we ask because it is a safety hazard if you can’t hear other runners — especially during the big start — but also throughout the Loop!

10.) 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 you know 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.

Sam and David Ceisler deliver food donations to the Community Center after the Loop in 2013. Note the Crystal Rock water boxes used to gather the donations!

Sam and David Ceisler deliver food donations to the Community Center after the Loop in 2013. Note the Crystal Rock water boxes used to gather the donations!

11.) BRING FOOD DONATIONS! Don’t forget donations for the Help 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 and Sam Ceisler for continuing this 6th year of the food drive. We will send more information about this community effort in a separate email.

12.) RESULTS: Printed lists of finishers with time and place will be available soon after the finish at the bib pickup area and by later in the afternoon on the Loop website. Check it out at http://www.leathermansloop.org/results.

13.) 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, trail wardens, box lifters, water servers, food preparers, coffee brewers, parking coordinators, photographers, videographers, course sweeps, and the clean-up crew—not to mention the Pound Ridge and Lewisboro Police officers and the fantastic and dedicated members of the Lewisboro Volunteer Ambulance Corps!

14.) 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.

This event is truly a group effort and tribute to the spirit of the community. 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,

  • Tony, Judy, Mike, Rob and the rest of the Leatherman Harriers

PS: Some useful links…

• Map and Directions to the Reservation
• runners overview of the Leatherman’s Loop trail
• Follow the Loop on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/leathermansloop
• Searchable list of registered runners
• 27 Years of Results
• Run on the trails on Sundays all year round!

• Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Some upcoming trail races we encourage you to check out:

(Note: this went out as an email to all registered runners for the 2014 Loop. If you did not receive it via email and you are registered, you may want to check your spam folder and set up leathermansloop@gmail.com on your address book/white list.) Note: Registration is CLOSED for the 2014 Leatherman’s Loop. 

The Leatherman’s Loop Exhibit: 28 Years of Mud, Sweat and Cheers

leatherman photo exhibit banner

On April 12, 2014, “The Leatherman’s Loop: 28 Years of Mud, Sweat and Cheers”, a photography and art exhibit offering a retrospective look at the Leatherman Harriers’ annual cross-country foot races at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, will open with a reception at the Reservation’s WPA Gallery.

The opening reception is from 1 – 4 p.m on April 12th. The exhibit will run through May 4.

In addition, the documentary “25 Years of the Leatherman’s Loop” will be screened starting at 3pm on April 12th at the Trailside Museum.

Founded by four dedicated trail runners in 1987 and held every spring since then, the Leatherman’s Loop is a 10 kilometer run whose demanding course takes runners through the Reservation’s forests, streams, meadows and swamps. It has been held in weather ranging from rainy and miserably cold to unseasonably-warm and humid. This exhibit showcases the photos race photographers and runners have submitted over the years. Selected artwork commissioned for the t-shirts and reproductions or samples of all 27 past years of t-shirt art will be on display. In addition, an 8×4 foot map of the course will be on exhibit outside the gallery.

From modest beginnings the Leatherman’s Loop grew to become the largest trail run east of the Mississippi River. Fewer than 100 runners participated in the first Loop, in 1987.  1,225 runners finished in 2013. This year’s Loop, scheduled for April 27, will be the 28th run. Those interested in learning more about the race should visit leathermansloop.org.

The race is named after the Leatherman, a mysterious 19th century wanderer whose compelling life story inspired the run’s organizers. Clad in a heavy suit made of hand-stitched boot leather, the Leatherman traveled a 365 mile route by foot through southeastern New York State and western Connecticut over a period exceeding 30 years, subsisting on charity from local residents but also maintaining gardens and food stores at his many caves. (See Leatherman Photo here). He spent many nights in a cave at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. His travel route seldom varied over the last 6 years of his life, and his predictable appearances in the region’s towns and villages made him a local legend by the time of his death in 1889. To this day, his identity remains shrouded in mystery.

There is no charge to view the exhibit.  The WPA Gallery is open 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. every day.

(adapted from the Westchester County Parks Dept press release.)

Loop Carpool for 2014!

If you are registered for the Loop (April 27th, 2014), look to get into or create a loop carpool!

Carpooling to the Loop is a time honored tradition and helps everyone out in many ways:

  • Less gas burned = save money.
  • Fewer cars on the road = eases bottlenecks coming into the park.
  • Fewer cars in the parking lot = easier and quicker parking on race day.
  • Less money spent on parking = more money to donate to charity.
Did you know the $10 per car park entry fee has been included with the race registration fee since 2008? To ease entry, a park employee keeps a count of cars and the Loop organizers write the park a check afterwards based on the number of cars entering.

If you are signed up solo and don’t know of anyone to carpool with, leave a comment below or on Facebook. The last few years we got a few people together just through comments on this website and facebook. Plus you can make a new friend or two in the bargain! Just make sure you bring a plastic bag, a change of clothes & shoes, and towel so you don’t mess up your new friend’s car.

If you are coming from NYC on the train (Metro-North Harlem line – Katonah Station is best option) you can either take a cab from the station or leave a comment on facebook or  below looking for a ride or cab share. [Katonah Taxi 914-232-5772]

6th Annual “Help Feed The Leatherman” Food Drive



Don’t forget — Bring your food donations to the Loop on April 27th! Put it in your race bag or car now when you are thinking about it!

The volunteer food drive “Help Feed The Leatherman” collected over 1,100 pounds of food donations for the Community Center of Northern Westchester food pantry at the Loop in 2013. This brings the five year total of food donations by runners to over 3,600 pounds with the totals exceeding 1,000 pounds each of the last two years.

This year – the 6th year of the drive – David Ceisler of Katonah and his son Sam Ceisler, a senior at John Jay High School continue to spearhead the organization and dropoff. The donation minivan will be set up near the showmobile on the morning of the Loop. Please remember to bring some food donations! List of needed items is below.

Why a food drive? The 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. We are asking our runners to “put the plate of food out” for the Leatherman.

Sam and David Ceisler deliver food donations to the Community Center after the Loop in 2013. Note the Crystal Rock water boxes used to gather the donations!

Sam and David Ceisler deliver food donations to the Community Center after the Loop in 2013. Note the Crystal Rock water boxes used to gather the donations!

People come the center every day 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

  • Canned fruit and vegetables
  • Dried and canned beans 
  • Hot and cold cereal 
  • Tuna and canned meat 
  • Cans of soup, beef stew and chili 
  • Pasta, rice and spaghetti sauce
  • Peanut butter and jelly
  • Fruit juice 
  • Baby food and diapers 
  • Dry or shelf-stable milk

This is not a requirement. Please help if you can. Thanks to David for conceiving this idea and thanks to Sam for gathering and getting the donations to the Community Center after the Loop.

To help you remember the donations: Put the cans or other items in your running shoes the night before (or on the drivers seat of your car!).

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

A Collection of Leatherman’s Loop Articles from Around the Web

The Leatherman's Loop start in 2013 featuring Sawyer Cummings, youngest runner in that year.If you have run or otherwise participated in the Leatherman’s Loop in the past (or you are preparing to do it in the future) and you have written and posted an article, let us know and we will link to it from here.

You probably already know you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or sign up for occasional email updates. We only send mass emails 5-6 times a year to announce race related information such as registration opening or recaps.

To get you started, here are a few articles we’ve found or folks have directed us to:

Plus some links to articles we have posted or linked to in the past.

Let us know your new or old links!


The Leatherman Song by Jeff Main

The Leatherman Song

At the Leatherman’s Loop in 2012 Jeff Main, the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation park superintendent, wrote “The Leatherman Song” in a burst of creativity and inspiration during the Loop event and performed it for the first time at the post-Loop gathering of volunteers that afternoon.

Jeff’s lead guitar was backed by John Lawrence and the Leathermen band who performed with fiddle, stand up bass, and rhythm guitars — and cheered by an enthusiastic crowd of Loop volunteers.

Here is a video recording of the premiere of this now classic piece (may take a bit of time to load up): 

 The Leatherman Song, Performed 4/22/2012 at Campground #5 at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Pound Ridge, NY.

Lyrics and Music ©2012 by Jeff Main (link to video on our SmugMug site)

Please let us know what you think! Thanks Jeff for this wonderful gift of song.

How to Prepare for The Leatherman’s Loop Trail Run

“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

28th leatherman's loop 10k trail run

The 28th Leatherman’s Loop trail run is set for April 27, 2014 at 9am. If you are running it for the first time or the 28th 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). {Let us know any trail groups we missed}

What kind of shoes do you need? Regular running shoes are fine. Some Loop 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 80 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. 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 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 have any questions, please get in touch and we will do our best to answer! Trail run it! See you on the trails…

2014 Loop Lottery Selection Finished

We have finished with the Loop Lottery 2014 selections.

A searchable list of runners selected in the 2014 loop lottery is here:

2014 loop lottery complete

If you are on the list, congratulations! If your name is not on the list, we are very sorry but your name was not selected in the 2014 Loop Lottery.

For those who did not get a spot, we are extending a guaranteed entry for the 2015 Loop — as long as you enter the Loop Lottery 2015.

If you do not receive an email please check your spam folder since it may be in there. Gmail has been particularly aggressive recently about tagging emails as spam that are not spam. You can also check the searchable list at the above link to see your name or friends names.

Please Contact us if you have any questions about the loop lottery.

Check out sundayruns.org if you are interested in running with a group on trails on Sunday mornings. It is great training for the Loop and we even run the Loop course a few times prior to the big day. See details at Sunday Runs site.

See you on the trails!