Your Loop organizers will open the lottery on January 7th. And close it on January 10th. Anyone who wants to participate in the 34th Loop on April 24th will only be able to do so by entering the lottery. There are important and necessary covid related restrictions this year which will make it possible to have a safe gathering that is permitted by the County of Westchester.
You need to know that you must be fully vaccinated in order to participate. This also applies for your race organizers and volunteers. Face covering will be optional in the field but required at the show mobile and the food tent. These restrictions may tighten or loosen as we get closer to the date.
The Loop has always been an inclusive event that unites us in the comfort of our shared humanity. The thought of splitting off and turning away any part of our Loop family troubles me. But covid has not gone away and these restrictions are necessary in order for the Loop to happen again after a three year gap.
2021 was quite a year for Eamonn. In the spring, he qualified to compete in the steeplechase at the NSAF High School National Championships at the cathedral of track and field, the legendary Hayward Field. In the fall, he continued his running career by joining the Fighting Tigers of SUNY Cobleskill. He led his team to victory in five invitationals, taking the individual win in all of them. Eamonn spearheaded the conference championship team victory, by winning the NAC Cross Country title. His stellar record garnered him the North Atlantic Conference Runner and Rookie of the Year honors. As the year came to a close, Eamonn rattled off school records in the Indoor 3K and 5K. Not a bad start for a freshman. Look for him at the start of his favorite race of all, the Leatherman’s Loop in April.
In 2021 Veronica completed the 54 mile Manitou’s Revenge trail race in a time of 14 Hrs. and 11 minutes. She was the first female and the 11th overall ultra runner to cross the finish line. What is most amazing about her Herculean performance is that the course has 15,000 ft. of elevation gain and includes the Escarpment Trail and the Devil’s Path. She ran all of it without a pacer while traversing some of the most technically difficult trails in the Catskill Mountains. Veronica is only thirty two and did not start running trails until after the birth of her son Vladimir.
The Loop organizers and volunteers collectively tip our hats to these two amazing runners.
I have asked Rob to provide a link to some classic Loop photos (see ↓ below) that are inspirational and also a link to a short race video which we have shared before but is worth another look. My hope is that our Loop family will all be together soon.
It is with a strong sense of joy that your event organizers announce that the 34th Leatherman’s Loop will take place on Sunday, April 24th, 2022. That means it’s been three full years between #33 and #34. Let’s celebrate..!
As always, entry is only possible through the Loop Lottery. Be assured that most everyone will get in. The lottery will open on January 7th and close at midnight on January 10th… Lottery Drawing will take place Friday, January 14th. A newsletter with a reminder will be sent out in December.
The Leatherman’s Loop has survived in spite of many challenges. Over the years the course has been devastated by a couple of microbursts, the Sandy storm, a small tornado, late Spring floods, Beaver activity and a rare plant called Rattlebox. In every case the organizers were able to work with the County of Westchester and park management to find solutions. But we hit the covid wall last year. No amount of course rerouting could get around it. Not much has changed in a year and there will not be another Loop until we can gather in the field with no pandemic restrictions.
Keep me in your heart (for a while) was the last song that Warren Zevon recorded. I am asking you to keep Rob and Danny and Judy and myself and all of the Loop volunteers in your hearts for a while. We will certainly keep you in ours. In the last newsletter I mentioned the delicate thread which has stitched the loops together over the years. We are still holding on to our end. I hope that you have yours.
Between the pandemic and politics, most of our worlds have been shaken. In a way it feels wrong of me to be lamenting about the need to postpone a running race. And maybe it is. But gatherings where heartfelt connections with others take place are needed more than ever at this time.
Take a look at the video below and the photo of Diego kneeling in the mudflats. Sample the nourishing spirit that comes through the images. Allow yourself to feel “the power of the Loop” and to be moved. We all need that and we will have it back.
We are blessed to have Danny on board as our Spiritual Advisor. His wisdom and advice and his plan for what is needed during these difficult times are in the next part of this note. Take some time to sample his compassion and his love for the Loop.
I think we all know that the Loop is much more than a Race. For many of us it’s a fun gathering, a time for connecting with nature. For some of us it’s even a spiritual experience. Most of all, it’s a reminder of how related we all are. That’s probably why we miss the Loop so much, especially in these pandemic times that have disrupted our relationships when we need them more than ever.
Some of us are trying to address this loss with mini-Loop experiences: smaller groups and partial Loops. I’d like to share something that builds on this spirit. It’s a project that a colleague and I have created called A New American WE that proposes a national conversation that will use our differences to actually help us collaborate. Differences, we believe, are not the problem, in spite of what we hear; rather it is our inability to work with them.
I want to draw your attention particularly to a PDF doc. on the Home page called ‘A Declaration of Interdependence:’ https://anewamericanwe.com/I would suggest that the Loop is a reflection of this Declaration. For when we come together at the Loop we become the Founding Fathers and Mothers of a new American WE as we proclaim our awareness (the expanded self-evident truth) that we are all created equal AND we are all interdependent. That’s also what we mean when we say in our Loop Blessing:
I see beauty all around me: In beauty may we walk. In beauty may we see. In beauty may we all be.
Of course, we are not blind to the challenges of turning this awareness into reality for we realize that many of us are hurting, anxious, angry and confused. We have lost trust in each other. We know that we can only heal and address these challenges by coming together with good intention and authenticity. The Loop brings us together like this, so, in a way, we are already part of A New American WE.
I was moved by the words of the young poet laureate, Amanda Gorman at the Inauguration. These are some of the things she said: without unity there is no peace or progress or nation; enough of us can come together for all of us; true American patriotism is called love; if we come together, we can identify the common objects of our love; we will write a new American story; we turn our gaze not to what stands between us but what stands before us; if we merge mercy with might we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous world. Doesn’t that sound like what happens at the Loop?
In short, you can experience the power of the Loop in these Covid times by participating in the New American WE project in all kinds of simple ways: by simply keeping the spirit of the Loop in your heart, for example; by taking a walk in the Rez; by reaching out to someone who needs a little support in some way in these difficult times; by trying to listen without judgment to someone who things differently to you.
There is a Native American (Hopi) statement about leadership in these times that says: We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. But we become this WE only when we meet each other in an authentic way – at heart level – the way we do at Loop. If we do this in simple deliberate and consistent ways we will be able to end the present sad chapter in our common story and begin a new chapter in our American WE.
We are sad to announce the 2021 Loop has been postponed. The spirit of the Loop invites closeness and a large communal gathering; both of these would be ill-advised this spring.
We are postponing the Loop for 2021 in the hopes that — if there are absolutely no restrictions on gatherings — we can possibly hold it in the Fall 2021 on a date TBD. We don’t know what the pandemic situation will look like in 9 months, but there’s always hope – and it would be a unique Loop.
If no Loop happens in 2021, we are confident by the time April 2022 comes around the world will be a very different place. Never back to normal after the upheavals and losses of 2020 and 2021, but safer to gather in large groups again.
In the next week or so, you will hear from us again with a message of hope from the Leatherman’s Loop Spiritual Advisor Danny Martin. He will share his thoughts about the Loop and our place in the world and describe a practical way we can play our part in rebuilding our country.
PS: individuals in the Leatherman Harriers family still remain active and running on the trails in a safe and socially distant way. If you would like to join a great group on the trails, visit SundayRuns.org for information on our Sunday group runs. Sign up to get emails every Friday outlining the Sunday plan.
June 2020 Update: refund window has closed. Thank you for your support and the charities we collectively supported thank you as well. The next Loop will start from a clean slate – no carryovers of registrations.