If you have any items of Loop history you would like to share, please contact us at [email protected]. We are always thankful for new photos, videos, and other artifacts of the Loop (shirts, shoes, stories, scars, etc.) you can share.
The Leatherman’s Loop was founded by four trail running friends in 1987.
Tony Godino, Dave Cope, Ken Littlefield, and Pete Thompson had run and explored every inch of trail at the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation (aka “The Rez“) — and had even created a few trails of their own. Some of these trails are now part of the official trail system at the park.
Road Running was popular but trail running was still an esoteric pursuit that comparably few runners participated in. What the trail runners lacked for in numbers, they made up in creativity and the desire to seek unique challenges.
The Loop was envisioned as a fun, relaxed, challenging, yet “survivable” cross country/steeplechase event.
The Loop founders wanted to incorporate their favorite trail features they had come to love in their many runs at the Rez. Some runners believe the seeds of the current “Mud Races” and obstacle course runs were planted in 1987. We’re not so sure about that but it is nice to contemplate… The Loop is not really an obstacle course in the same sense as those newer event races. It does have its share of challenges and features, but all are natural: the rivers, the mud, roots and rocks, sand hills, downed trees, stone walls, and slippery slopes are just some of what runners encounter. Not to mention the challenge of a 1,200+ runner field sprinting across a quarter-mile meadow to start the race!
The first Loop attracted just under 100 runners and has grown to over 1,300 finishers in 2017. The course has evolved as runner numbers increased and weather events inevitably altered the trail. The soul of the course still harkens back to the first running in 1987 — simplicity and passion.
In 2001, Mitch Stein — another trail running friend of the original four founders — put together the first Loop website to showcase the photos and memories the runners had gathered and sent in. That initial website version existed from 2001-2008 when it was replaced by the current website. All of the original content (photos, scans, comments, etc.) has been converted to the new format and is available in the republished archives.
Dave, Ken, and Mitch — and their beautiful and supportive wives! — are still heavily involved with the Loop event and you will see them at registration, pre-running the course, and at the finish line cheering runners and taking finishing tags to tally the results.
In 2007 after the 21st Loop, Tony asked Mike Paletta to take over as Race Director. Rob Cummings was also recruited to be Technical Director (registration, website, sound, etc.). Both Mike and Rob have over 15 Loops each under their belt and love the race, the people, and the park. As of 2013 — after a few years as race Copadre (aka Godfather) — Tony resumed the Race Director post with Mike assisting in a huge way with pre-race support, logistics, and hosting the post race celebrations. Rob remains as Technical Director and is very involved behind the scenes and out on the trails.
In early 2010 Rob Cummings started a Sunday Morning Trail Running group (aka the Leatherman Harriers Sunday Runners) to meet and have a group run on the trails every Sunday. The Sunday Runner group has been organized since 2012 by Lee Willett. It has grown into a fantastic and varied group of trail runners who run the local trails (and farther afield) all year long. Some of the hardiest of the Harriers pre-run the Loop and other Trail Mix races on the mornings of the races to make sure the course is set and ready for runners. In the Fall of 2010 Tony, Judy, and Rob started Run The Farm which led in 2014 to the creation of the Trail Mix Series, joining together local trail races to be scored together — and enable the most committed trail runners each year to obtain automatic lottery selection into the Loop.
If you are looking for Loop and related photos, check here.
For news, articles, results, and race archives, check the Archives menu (listed by month and year) on the side of this window under the heading “Archives.”
More information is organized below into sections with links. If you have photos of the Loop, please send them to us at [email protected] We love looking at new (or old) stuff and will post it to our photos site if it is OK with you!
In 2010 Tony Godino put together some race history and it has evolved into an annual-ish “Founder’s Newsletter.” Read them below. They are not long and they give further background on the Loop and the people and races that surround it.
- Founder’s Newsletter – Volume 1 – 2010 – Humble Beginnings
- Founder’s Newsletter – Volume 2 – 2011 – the 25th Loop
- Founder’s Newsletter – Volume 3 – 2012 – Reflections on the 26th Loop
- Founder’s Newsletter – Volume 4 – 2013 – A Trail Racing Plan
- Founder’s Newsletter – Volume 5 – 2014 – Trail Mix – New Westchester/Fairfield Trail Series
- Founder’s Newsletter – Volume 6 – 2016 – Video: Danny Martin’s First Words at the Loop
- Founder’s Newsletter – Volume 7 – 2016 – Seeing the Loop Through Tony’s Eyes
- Founder’s Newsletter – Volume 8 – 2017 – Mixed bag of Loop stuff from Tony
- Founder’s Newsletter – Volume 9 – 2018 – If it ain’t broke don’t fix it (for now)
- Founder’s Newsletter – Volume 10 – 2020 – To Loop Runners
- Founder’s Newsletter – Volume 11 – 2021 – The Status of the Loop in Covid Times
The Leatherman’s Loop – 25 Years is a documentary that Christy and Dean Leggiero directed, filmed and produced which celebrates 25 years of the Loop. View the movie trailer here http://www.youtube.com/user/level92films. Their Facebook page also includes several sneak peeks.
The film debuted in April 2012 and a second free screening was held on September 30, 2012. The film has also been entered into several film festivals where it will be screened. The film has been aired on cable TV shows and in private screenings.
2017 Loop Trailer
30 Years of Leatherman’s Loop T-shirts
Our t-shirts are created by an artist each year and carry no sponsor logos or ads. Seven different artists have created Loop t-shirts. By far the most have been created by Tim Parshall, a longtime runner and artist from Connecticut. Check out the designs in the gallery below and read up on some background material about the t-shirts at the link below that.
- Tapestry – Donated in 2012 by Bob Goldblatt. It was displayed for the first time in 2012 and includes the first 25 t-shirt designs on it.
- Newest designs for 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 can be seen on runners in photos from those years.
- We update the Loop Fashion Photo Gallery each year to show the latest shirt designs.
Thanks to the work of Mel Cowgill — longtime runner and volunteer — who transcribed 14 years of results from posterboard format into the computer, we have complete records to go through to figure out who has the longest streaks, who has run the Loop more than, say, 5, 10, or 15 or more times, and many other facts only relevant and interesting to a small subset of the human population but nonetheless important ;). If you have read this far, you are one of the elite!
We have put together this “Muddiest Runners” section with some highlights.
- Runners who have participated in the most loops, plus longest streaks (active and inactive) running the Loop.
- An experimental page with every runner who has run more than 5 Loops along with their best place and time during all their years of running the Loop.
- All Runners who have run the Leatherman’s Loop, listed alphabetically with links to the results for the years they ran. Plus if you hover the cursor over the year in this webpage, the runner’s time and place come up for that year.
Archives – Reposted Newsletters, Emails, and Notes from 2001-2008:
The Original 1987 Race Registration Form
Transcribed from the image above…
“Leatherman Harriers … What’s That?
Well, local lore documents one particular wanderer – modern life and times create many imitators. A “Leather-man or -woman” is known to “eat nails” for breakfast, is notoriously self-propelled, and frequents fresh-aired spaces. He or she enjoys, flaunts even, the five to ten pound “spare tire” (lovingly referred to as “the good life”) draped around his or her middle. Above all, a Leather-man is curiously motivated and cares not what the neighbors whisper about “strange habits.”
… In honor of the latent Leather-man in all of us, we’ve concocted this intense, scenic, “quickie” excursion into the unknown urban wilderness known as Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, a 4,700 acre county paradise featuring ski touring, orienteering, pick-nickers, and CROSS COUNTRY RUNNING as our gracious host this day (Applause, Please!)
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.
Ample reward could be found solely in the effort to finish. Or, you might enjoy wearing the commemorative t-shirt. But you’re sure to delight in the post-race-brunch, for these spoils will be worth the price of pain.
The top three finishers in the following age categories, both men and women – 18-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60+ will become the proud recipients of specially designed awards suitable for display.”
-1987 Race Registration Form description of the Loop.
Dates of the Leatherman’s Loop from 1987 – 2018 (all Loops have been held on Sundays)
4/26/1987 ( #1) 4/24/1988 ( #2) 4/23/1989 ( #3) 4/22/1990 ( #4) 4/21/1991 ( #5) 4/26/1992 ( #6) 4/25/1993 ( #7) 4/24/1994 ( #8) 4/30/1995* ( #9) 4/28/1996* (#10) 4/27/1997 (#11) 4/26/1998 (#12) 4/25/1999 (#13) 4/23/2000 (#14) 4/22/2001 (#15) 4/28/2002 (#16) 4/27/2003 (#17) 4/25/2004 (#18) 4/24/2005 (#19) 4/23/2006 (#20) 4/22/2007 (#21) 4/27/2008 (#22) 4/26/2009 (#23) 4/25/2010 (#24) 5/1/2011* (#25) 4/22/2012 (#26) 4/21/2013 (#27) 4/27/2014 (#28) 4/26/2015 (#29) 4/24/2016 (#30) 4/23/2017 (#31) 4/22/2018 (#32) 4/28/2019* (#33)
Estimates of dates 2020-2026 should we be so lucky:
4/26/2020 (#34) 4/25/2021 (#35) 4/24/2022 (#36) 4/23/2023 (#37) 4/21/2024 (#38) 4/27/2025 (#39) 4/26/2026 (#40)
*indicates a break from the “Sunday after Boston Marathon” traditional schedule.