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. The gallery is open from 9am-4pm every day.
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 8x4 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.