• April 24th, 2022 • Ward Pound Ridge Reservation • Cross River, NY •
Thank you Loop runners for coming out and making this past Sunday a great event and a great day! It was a long three years between the Loop events and we are so happy to be back on the trails with you all.
A hardy group of cobweb crew members from our Sunday Runners group left at around 5:00am for a pre-run of the trails and course to check the markings and make sure there were no (unplanned) surprises to greet runners. Longtime Loop checker Mike Markhoff left a bit after 6am (when it was actually light out!) to do his first of two loops on the day to survey the markings to ensure that runners could follow the course.
Runners returned from a wide area
Runners came in from 294 towns and cities from 19 different states plus the Czech Republic, Australia, Canada, and England. Runners registered from states as far away as Texas, Colorado, Georgia, Vermont, Illinois, Washington, California, Florida, Michigan and Tennessee.
The Town of Bedford (including villages of Katonah and Bedford Hills) had the most local representation with nearly 200 runners registered. They were followed by Lewisboro (including villages of South Salem, Waccabuc, Goldens Bridge, and Cross River) at 126 runners. Manhattan and Brooklyn were 3rd and 4th with over 170 runners between the two boros. Pound Ridge was 5th for runner registrations at 76. In addition to local towns in NY and CT which were well represented, northern New Jersey has always sent a contingent of runners from towns like Ridgewood (9 runners), Bloomfield (9), Montclair (8), Madison (6), Wyckoff (5), Jersey City (4), and Hoboken (4).
Race Technical Director Rob Cummings welcomed runners to the race at the starting line. He warned runners of the potential dangers on course such as hidden underwater hazards and the extensive mud. Rob then passed the microphone on to Danny Martin, the Loop’s spiritual advisor.
Danny who has been the Loop’s spiritual advisor for over 20 years, welcomed everyone back. “The Loop is a metaphor for life… and the heart of both is coming together.” Danny congratulated Tony, our Loop leader for 36 years.
He led the Navajo/Irish blessing that he has made famous in the Loop. Beauty all around us.
Tony Godino announced before the 2022 Loop that he would be stepping down as race director after this race. To celebrate the 34th Loop and the 36th anniversary of the first Loop in 1987, plenty of notable Loop founders and contributors came out for the day.
Of course Judy Godino was there as she has been for every Loop since its inception. Dave and Liz Cope, two of the original race directors, came to help and see the runners off. Ken Littlefield, one of the Loop’s founders, flew out from California to join the event. Mike Paletta, race director from 2008-2012 was pitching in as he has done tirelessly since his first Loop in 1996. Tony called out to Joe Stanley, who, after running and winning Loop #1 in 1987 has never missed one.
Tony thanked Jeff Main, the superintendent of Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. Jeff and his crew have been invaluable for setup, race day, parking, and post race activities. The Loop day would not be possible without their help.
Tony also welcomed John Fixx, who’s father Jim Fixx wrote “The Complete Book of Running” in 1977 that kicked off the popularity of running and fitness in the United States. John was celebrating 50 years of running and coming out for the Loop for the first time. Also joining in for the first time, Peter Ciaccia, past President of the New York Road Runners and race director for the New York Marathon for 18 years.
We had many returning Loop winners including 9-time winner Tommy Nohilly, seven time winner Kerry Arsenault, two time winner Jacqueline Kehoe (who won again this year!), two time winner Gerry Sullivan (and dad of 2022 winner Eamonn Sullivan), first loop (1987) winner Joe Stanley who has never missed a Loop, second Loop (1988) winner Mark MacIntyre, and two time winner Lucas Meyer.
In addition to these runners, there were another 1,150 who toed the line — or close to the line — on Sunday. Thank you all for coming out and experiencing the beauty of the park, the trails, and your fellow runners.
Runners started out on the Meadow towards the turn and the entrance to the Fox Hill trail (see photo at top of this post). The very wet spring had saturated much of the earth and more recent rains have not had a chance to be absorbed by the ground. This combination produces a phenomenon scientists call “Mud” and it is very familiar to Loop runners.
The first water crossing was at an average level, knee deep with several large rocks hidden near the exit. Kimberly Bridge had Carol photographing runners as they exited the to the picnic grounds. Runners then headed towards “The Pit.” At the bottom of The Pit, a Mariachi Band performed to boost the runners at the 1/3 point of the race and help with the climb.
The water stop is just under the halfway point on the course. Just after that refreshing water is the famous Mud Flats. Experienced mud runners always take the straight-on straight-through route in the mud. The best strategy is the center. Even though it feels like it’s the deepest, at least it’s the flattest! No one has ever emerged from the mud flats without getting muddy (even in the deep of winter there are still pockets of mud). Embrace the suck! Michelle photographed the runners as they squished by her. There was even a hidden Trail Camera taking photos and videos deeper into the mudflats.
As the mudflats end, the Cope-Godino bridge comes up next (built by Dave Cope and Tony Godino over 30 years ago — still standing!) The runners pass through Arsenault’s Alley and then up The Wall. This part of the trail is a 100 vertical foot 45 degree climb up an old sand quarry. At the top, bagpiper John Henken plays Scotland the Brave, Amazing Grace, and other songs which help pull up runners with the tones of the pipes.
After The Wall comes the Deer Hollow (DH) trail. The trails along this section are wide and rolling. Then they switch to a steady one-mile net uphill trail. This DH uphill is not real steep — and it does have some flatter sections — but it is a long climb between miles four and five. After runners pass the highest point on the Loop course they have the treat of the beautiful Pine Forest which is noted as a favorite part of the Loop by many people.
The switchback at the bottom of the Pine forest trail featured guitarist Chris Cassone who earned his trail name “Loop Shredder” on Sunday. After the boost from the power chords, runners continued on river trail to Gary’s corner and the kestrel meadow. The cheers of spectators at Splashdown can be heard by runners as they approach. This year Bill Bradsell was seated in the Lifeguard chair directing runners across the water. Tom and Stuart were photographing runners as they crossed and exited Splashdown.
The final 200 meters over the meadow some of the toughest in the Loop, especially with newly water-cooled leg muscles. But the finish area has bagels, bananas, oranges, coffee, hot chocolate, and cold water just waiting to refuel tired runners.
Full results are available here – below are some highlights:
Jacqueline Kehoe of New York, NY (originally from Katonah) won her third Leatherman’s Loop with a time of 49:02. Lindsey Felling of Larchmont, NY came in second at 50:47. Julie Piddington of South Salem, NY came in third at 50:56. Fourth and fifth to finish were Maya Roberts of New York City (52:34) and Mary Vaughn of Brooklyn, NY (54:38).
Eamonn Sullivan of Cold Spring, NY came in first overall with a time of 38:32. Eamonn had come in third his past two Loop efforts in 2018 and 2019. James Boeding of West Hartford, CT (39:21) came second overall, moving up several minutes and several places from his finish in 2019.
Third place was Eric Blake of West Hartford, CT with a time of 41:09. Rounding out the top 5 were Patrick Dooley of Stamford, CT (41:51) and two-time past winner Luke Meyer of Silver Spring, MD with a time of 41:55.
The oldest finisher of this year’s Loop was Nick Ohnell of Greenwich, CT at age 80 — he won a well-deserved pie for his age group. The youngest finishers were 8-year-olds Tyler Mann of Mt. Kisco and Cloe Slocum of Waccabuc, NY.
Loop veteran Joe Stanley completed his thirty-fourth consecutive Loop — an unbroken streak from the first Loop in 1987 through 2022. Shirley Iselin ran her twenty-fifth Loop, the most for any woman — and also an unbroken streak since 1996.
Other notable milestones: Nick Ohnell and John Partilla ran their 29th Loops. Tim Debany and John Krazneiwicz each ran their 27th Loops. Geoff Steadman and Dan Wiley each ran #24. Jim Kapp reached #22. Eddie “The Plummer” Donlon, Michael Markhoff, and Kelsey Nix each hit #21 this year. Joe Kapp and Erick Wilson earned their 20+ Loops Club hat on Sunday by completing their 20th Loops.
For a complete list of the “Muddiest Runners” check this page. Page will be updated with new inductees from 2022 within a week or so.
The Trail Mix Series
The Leatherman’s Loop 2022 is the official kickoff of the 2022 Trail Mix series.
Next up in the Trail Mix is “A Mild Sprain” 4.5 mile trail race at Sprain Ridge Park in Yonkers, NY.
All runners who completed this Leatherman’s Loop have been automatically entered into the current Trail Mix series. Runners who finish 4 of the 6 races to complete the series are eligible for automatic Loop Lottery selection if they enter the 2023 Lottery. See link for more details and links to other races in the series.
The race could not happen without many dozens of volunteers on race day, plus pre-race and post-race. Our volunteer team is always ready to help and when someone has an unexpected change of plans — there is always another person willing to step in.
Thank you to each and every one who comes out to help! We have a page dedicated to recognizing our Volunteers here (updates coming for 2022!).
We have lots of photos shared by our “Official Loop Photographers” and others on and around the course. Thank you to everyone who shared their photo memories of the day! You can become an official Loop photographer by taking photos of the Loop and sending them in to us. If you have more than 100 photos from the Loop, we’ll make you your own album at the link below and send you a coveted “Official Loop Photographer” long-sleeved t-shirt! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A description of photos — by photographer and location — can be found here. Or you can click directly on our 2022 album site: http://leathermansloop.smugmug.com/2022.
We have many different vantage points — the start, the mud flats, the pit, the first crossing, splashdown, 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 (https://leathermansloop.smugmug.com/upload/TzjNq8/2022) where you can simply drag and drop the pictures. We have unlimited storage space at our photo site for photos or short videos. Or you can send us links via Facebook or if you have your own albums on Instagram, Flickr, Picassa, or another photo site send us the link or tag #leathermansloop and @leathermansloop. We appreciate all of the photos and love looking through them!
If you have any feedback, please send us a note at email@example.com. 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. Your feedback is a gift you give to the runners next time around.
Lewisboro Volunteer Ambulance Corps
Once again we are indebted to the leadership and members of the Lewisboro Volunteer Ambulance Corps for standing by when medical help is needed during the event. We truly appreciate the dedication of the volunteers who give their time to come tend to runners each year and evacuate any immobile injured runners.
Thanks again to Westchester County Parks and Ward Pound Ridge Reservation for hosting us for the 34th running of the Leatherman’s Loop.
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, Rob, Ciorsdan, Mike, Bill, and the Leatherman Harriers