April 27th, 2014, Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, Cross River, NY, 28th Leatherman’s Loop
As the sun rose over the meadow, the sky brightened over a crisp dewy scene shrouded in rising fog and mist. As we approached the fallen tree, the teepee resolved itself out of the bank of mist. Low clouds hid the sun initially but it managed to peek out periodically during the morning.
By 7am things were bustling in the parking lot. Volunteers arrived, water was positioned, oranges, bananas, and bagels were delivered, tents were set up. And the first early rising runners began to appear. First one car, then three, then dozens. Pretty soon cars lined Reservation Road and the line snaked out to Route 35. Runners came in from nearly 300 towns and cities from 20 different states and places as far away as Gainesville (FL), San Francisco, and Montreal (by way of the Grand Canyon). Bedford had the most local representation with 149 runners registered followed closely by Lewisboro at 148. Katonah, New York City, and Ridgefield rounded out the top 5 runner addresses.
After runners checked in and picked up their bibs, many made their next stop at the “Help Feed The Leatherman” tent — a food drive for the Community Center of Northern Westchester’s food pantry. The drive was organized this year by David and Sam Ceisler who have made it a Loop tradition for 6 years. We will update you all with the total weight of food donations collected when we hear back from them later this week. Last year runners donated over 1,100 pounds of food and the van was packed full this year. Thank you to all the runners who pitched in.
As runners gathered at the start line, Mike Paletta welcomed runners and cautioned everyone about the trail hazards and wished all good luck. He handed off the microphone to Rob Cummings who introduced the John Jay Girls Varsity Cross Country Team. This past Fall, the team won the NY State Federation Championship (the best NY XC teams from public, private, and parochial schools) and were ranked 16th in the nation.
“El Copadre” Tony Godino followed by introducing All American 10 year old Eamonn Sullivan who placed 16th out of over 300 of the best qualifying 9 & 10 year olds in the United States at the Cross Country Junior Olympics in San Antonio, TX this past November. Eamonn is a fast runner who is only going to get faster!
Danny Martin asked runners to think about beauty and remember longtime park employee Nick Spano who passed away unexpectedly this past winter. Nick was a skilled carpenter and many of the boardwalks and bridges we cross during the Loop are his work. Everyone who ran today benefitted from Nick’s expertise and dedication to the park. Danny followed with a recitation of our traditional Navajo/Irish blessing of beauty. Runners were then sent on their way with a duck call start.
The course was primed and ready after Saturday’s heavy rains and this winter’s exceptional snow season. Runners encountered “first mud” on the first turn going into the woods. One runner even lost her shoes in the mud and she ended up running the rest of the course barefoot. The river water levels were about average compared with past years but the levels at the second crossing were too high for safe passage so it was eliminated from this year. We put the course back closer to its original form with the restoration of “The Pit” sand hill climb at around the 2 mile mark. The only way the mud level could get higher than it was would be to have it raining on top of runners as they slogged through.
There were many colorful characters out there today. There was a runner dressed as a Franciscan monk, a runner dressed as Pocahontas, plus one in a chicken head. Our favorite clown was back in action after an injury forced him to miss the Loop last year. He wasn’t easy to miss, especially since his bib said “Clown” on it.
We want to thank the John Jay High School “Treblemakers” acapella group. They came bright and early and were on the trail at Kimberly Bridge to give runners a boost with their energizing melodies. The bagpiper was at the top of “The Pit” to help pull runners up this newly reintroduced course feature.
Full results are available here and below are some highlights:
Tommy Nohilly of Goldens Bridge, NY won his ninth Loop with a time of 40:55. Eion Nohilly (Tom’s son) came in 2nd at 41:57. Ken Rideout of Katonah came in 3rd at 42:47. Mark Hall of Valhalla, NY came 4th at 42:55. Devin Dixon of Stamford, CT was 5th at 43:08.
Laura Kline of New Paltz, NY won her first Leatherman’s Loop with a time of 46:06. 2012 winner Ann MacDonald of Mt. Kisco was 2nd (48:45) and Natalie Staszak of New Fairfield, CT came in 3rd (50:38). 7 time winner Kerry Arsenault of Guilford, CT came in 4th (52:27). Stephanie Lasner of New York, NY finished 5th at 53:27.
The oldest finisher was John Young at 80. The youngest finishers were 7 year olds Nadia Kaye, Lola Herzik, and Sydney Bieber. Sawyer Cummings, and Owen O’Donnell were the youngest boys for the 2014 Loop at 9 years old.
Special mentions for Eamonn Sullivan (10 years old) who bested his run last year by nearly 12 minutes, finishing in 48:37 in his third Loop and winning the 14 & under category. Cade Alami and Timothy Cronin came 2nd and 3rd in 14 & under boys. John Jay runners Brooke Nohilly, Kathryn Nohilly, and Pippa Nuttall swept the 14 & under category while Gemma Nuttall won the 15-19 age group. Paige Beyer and Sarah Hardie came in 2nd and 3rd in the 15-19 age group.
Loop veteran Joe Stanley ran his 28th consecutive Loop — an unbroken streak from 1987 through yesterday. A combination of good training, good sense, and good luck! Shirley Iselin ran her 19th Loop, the most for any woman and an unbroken streak since 1996!
Several Loop veterans who were injured last year made it back to the 28th Loop. Rick Hubbell was in a car accident 3 days before the Loop in 2013 — he is recovered and running again and we were happy to see him for his 27th Loop and ready to start another 26 Loop streak. George “Cannonball” Buchanan was back from injury and Bob Goldblatt was able to make it to his 25th Loop after missing last year’s event. Kerry Arsenault was back on the trails as well, turning in another stellar performance in her 15th Loop.
We have lots of photos shared by our photographers and others on and around the course. Thank you to everyone who shared their photo memories of the day!
Photographers Michelle Blum, Tom Casper, Ciorsdan Conran, Ryan Reinke, Chris Reinke, Erika Leighton, Carol Gordon, David Gordon, John Cummings, and YOUR NAME HERE (if you send us your photos!) were out on Loop day. We have many different vantage points — the start, the mud flats, the pit, the first crossing, splashdown, the bottom of the pine forest, and others. Photo album link here.
If you have photos you would like to send us, the easiest way to get them directly to us is via this website link (http://smu.gs/Qunmgu) where you can simply drag and drop the pictures. We have unlimited storage space at our photo site. Or you can send us links via Facebook or if you have your own albums on Flickr, Picassa, or another photo site send us the link. We appreciate all of the photos and love looking through them!
If you have any feedback, please send us a note at [email protected]. The only way we know to fix things is when we hear about things that went wrong. Don’t feel shy about feedback — that is how we make the event better. Any feedback you can give is a gift to the runners next time.
Thank you all for coming out to run and to those who came to support your friends and family! We look forward to seeing many of you again at an upcoming race!
Tony, Judy, Mike, Rob and the Leatherman Harriers
To continue your trail running into the spring and through the fall we recommend these wonderful races:
- Rock The Ridge – May 3rd – Relay or One Person 50 Miler – Mohonk Preserve (New Paltz, NY)
- Where the Wild Things Run 5k Trail Race (5/4) 5th year – Woodcock Nature Center, Ridgefield CT
- A Mild Sprain (5/18) 3rd year – Yonkers, NY Great trail race a few weeks after the Loop
- The Running Goddess (6/1) 5k trail race at Lasdon Park in Somers, NY – 2nd year + adding kids race!
- Rockwood Ramble – June 7th – 10k trail run – Rockefeller Park (Sleepy Hollow, NY)
- Pain to Paine Trail Half Marathon (9/21) New Rochelle, NY. 7th year!
- Sarah Bishop Bushwhack 10k trail run (9/28) put on by our Sunday Run group, North Salem, NY – 2nd year!
- Run The Farm 5 mile trail run (10/26), Muscoot Farm, Katonah, NY – Kids races too! 6th year!
For a broad curated list of trail races from Virginia to New England, check this list from Essex Running member Chris Jaworski here: http://www.essexrunning.org/trails/
- Last but not least – join us on our SundayRuns.org club website — we do group trail runs throughout the year Sunday mornings at 8am, Locations are available on the site calendar.
Link to see photos from 2014 (still uploading, many more to come!).