The Record-Review – The official newspaper of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York

 

Runners remember Caballo Blanco at Leatherman’s Loop

By DON HEPPNER
TRUDY WOOD PHOTO

Crossing cold waters during the 26th running of the Leatherman’s Loop at the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation Sunday morning.

 

Over 1,100 runners waited for the start of the 26th running of the Leatherman’s Loop at the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation Sunday morning.

A sentimental moment came just before the start of the race when Micah True, a celebrity runner dubbed Caballo Blanco — White Horse — by the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico, was remembered. He died at age 58 on March 31 doing what he loved to do, running long distances. This year would have been his fourth appearance at the Leatherman’s Loop.

A statement by Caballo Blanca was recorded two years ago and played before the start of this year’s race. “Americans have forgotten how to run, and a lot of us are working on remembering and realizing our genetic memories of long-distance running, because we all used to be very good runners. All of us. Some of us — many of us — have forgotten how. Most of the people here still remember, and that is really nice. We are trying to encourage more people to remember. What it is like to remember and what it is like to run and what it is like to run free. So we might as well get started on this thing.”  

The race began when former Met pitching great Craig Swan hit the catcher’s mitt, and a white horse symbolizing Caballo Blanco led the runners away from the starting line.

The race took runners over a six-mile course that included a 45-degree hill, mud flats and streams.

The unusually warm and rainless spring made conditions a little easier to navigate than in previous years. The streams were lower on the 10K course, and the mud flats — all but dried up — allowed the runners a much quicker pace.  

JACK GOLDBERG PHOTO

Men’s second-place finisher, and first place in the male over 40 category, Tommy Nohilly, 45, Goldens Bridge.

 
“The speedsters were out in force yesterday,” race organizer Tony Godino said on Monday. “The course was dry for the most part, and it was fast.”

The first four runners broke the previous record set only last year by Tommy Nohilly.

First-place finisher was Matthew Byrne, 36, from Scranton, Pa., with a time of  36:10. Second place went to Mr. Nohilly, 45, from Goldens Bridge, who finished with a time of 37:13. Third place went to Roberto Mandje, 30, from Boulder, Colo., who ran the race in 37:43. Matthew Rosetti, 36, from New York City, ran the race in 37:54 and Andrew Capizzi, 23, from Paramus, N.J., placed fifth with a time of  40:09.

Ann MacDonald, 36, of Mount Kisco, was the first woman to cross the finish line. She ran the race in 47:38. “This was a repeat win for her,” Mr. Godino said. “It was good to see her win again.”

Mr. Nohilly, a perennial first-place finisher, placed second, but he ran the race about one minute faster than he’d ever run it before.

Mr. Byrne is a first-time participant. He is on the United States Mountain Racing Team. “That is a very elite group of trail runners,” Mr. Godino said. “He’s about as good as it gets.”

Mr. Byrne made a plea to participate in the race, since he was a well-credentialed runner. “He said that he finished third in the Mount Washington Hill Climb, which is brutal, and he is a 2:20 marathoner,” Mr. Godino said. “The first thing I said was, ‘Let him in.’ Anyone with credentials as strong as his is going to get into the race no matter what.”

Mr. Mandje, a professional runner, attended Fox Lane High School and is a previous race winner. He is headed for Canada to try out for the London Olympics, representing Equatorial Guinea. Mr. Mandje was gifted a plane ticket that enabled him to get to the race. He was Rob Caracciolo when he was at Fox Lane High School. He ran the race three times before and won it 2002.

‘I wanted Roberto to take it easy, because I didn’t want him to injure himself before the qualifying races for the Olympics,” Mr. Godino said.

There were elite runners who might have broken the course record, but chose to run at a more leisurely pace, accompanying family members.

“Gerry Sullivan would have been among the leaders, since he runs at Rosetti’s pace,” Mr. Godino said. “He probably would have been the fifth person under the course record, but he chose to run with his 8-year-old son. It was beautiful.”

Eamonn Sullivan and his dad ran the race in 1:03:29

Mr. Godino said that he trains with 70-year old Nick Ohnel, who was the first 70-year-old to run the loop. He ran the race in 1:10.

Mr. Godino ran the race with Danny Martin, the race’s spiritual leader, and Anton Deiters, a runner in his seventies from Ridgefield, Conn. It was something of a miracle that he returned this year, as Mr. Deiters was pronounced dead six months ago.

“His heart stopped,” Mr. Godino said. “The man runs 10 or 12 marathons a year, but his heart stopped. They revived him right away, so he had no permanent damage. Last Monday he ran the Boston Marathon in 80 degree heat.”

Mr. Deiters finished the Loop in 1:20:08. For complete results, visit leathermansloop.org.



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APRIL 27, 2012