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home > races/results > usa: connecticut > the hartford marathon and related events—ideal for every runner

The Hartford Marathon and Related Events—Ideal for Every Runner
Run and experience Hartford! This is the 21st annual Hartford Marathon with half marathon, marathon relay, 5K and Kids’ K, Saturday, October 11, 2014. It is a terrific event with many unique features and amenities. It has the best post race food anywhere; it includes a great expo, pasta dinner, a post race beer garden, entertainment, spectator friendly—and scenic—courses, and is one of the greenest marathons in America. The setting is incredible fall foliage and beautiful Bushnell Park in the shadow of the Connecticut State Capitol.

The Hartford Marathon and Related Events—Ideal for Every Runner

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Hartford Marathon Event Website

By Skip Cleaver
Posted Friday, 22 August, 2014

The Hartford Marathon and associated events are brought to you by the Hartford Marathon Foundation, and they have raised the standard for race management with amazing attention to detail. They provide a world class experience for all runners. Yes, Hartford will be the place to be on October 11 for the 21st running.

HMF puts a level of quality and innovation into each and every event that is second to none and the 21st Hartford Marathon will be no different. HMF, organized in 1994, has worked tirelessly to make this event bigger, better, greener and more inviting.

Participants are also guests enjoying top-flight organization at one of the Northeast’s most beautiful, engaging, and rewarding destinations. Everything is top notch: Terrific awards, unbelievable volunteers, sponsorship from a host of terrific companies and organizations, a spectacularly fast course, spectator friendly loops, emphasis on green initiatives, charities and giving, a delicious post-race party celebration, wonderful food, and excellent live music.

Many Options—What is Your Distance?
The marathon is the keystone, but there will also be a marathon relay (5 person teams), a half marathon, 5K, and Kids’ K (distance by age group), with all kids getting recognition and a chance to finish at the striking finish line. There will be a distance, a challenge, and a celebration for everyone. The marathon relay includes legs of approximately 5.5, 5.6, 3.1, 6.3, and 5.7 miles. All courses are color coded for easy navigation and all courses are 100% traffic free.

Although the marathon starts and finishes within the breathtaking grandeur of the Capital City of Hartford, there is also a rural section where many fields and farms dot the landscape along with colonial homes. South Windsor appears much the same as it has for several centuries and is very scenic. Run on road and paved bike path, the final miles including Founders Bridge over the majestic Connecticut River, help pull runners to the triumphant finish at the Memorial Arch.

The setting, Bushnell Park, the “front lawn” of the Capitol, will be crowned by magnificent, vibrant foliage, for which New England is famous. The course through Hartford, East Hartford and historic South Windsor is usually spectacular with bright and colorful foliage enhanced by the river, Bushnell Park and the Capitol.

People come from all over the world to see New England in autumn. Hartford is a driving, dynamic, modern city; but Greater Hartford is also home to quaint, historic, colonial and Victorian villages and neighborhoods. You will enjoy this distinctive destination marathon. Connecticut provides so many interesting sites and experiences that runners like to spend a few days in the Nutmeg State, and Hartford is in the middle of it all.

The Hartford Marathon is an excellent first-timer because of the flat course, excellent support, cheer zones, spectator friendly route, diverse and impressive scenery, including the Connecticut, New England’s largest river. It is also popular with 50-staters and experienced marathon runners looking for a first class experience. The course is alive with natural beauty in peak foliage season, along with history and wonderful architecture. Several miles of the marathon are run along Riverfront Park. The course includes parts of East Hartford and historic South Windsor.

The Half Marathon and marathon split just beyond one mile, with the marathon running loops and crossing east of the river while the half marathon heads south and west to explore West Hartford, including neighborhoods familiar to Mark Twain. Highlights include St. Joseph’s College and Elizabeth Park.

Amenities, Amenities and Fun!
Some of the unique offerings and innovative amenities include a gear/bag check, pace groups for both the marathon (3:05 to 6:00 hours) and half marathon (1:30 to 2:45), seeded runner options, B-tag Chronotrack timing, athlete tracking via Twitter, Facebook, and SMS text, mid course scans and splits, a truly informative and fun Health & Fitness Expo, a real Italian pasta dinner at the impressive Hartford Club; green initiatives and green planning that is a model for all athletic events, extensive charity affiliations; their packet mail-out system which provides bib number, etc. shipped to you; spectator support and help, the popular “Candy Stand” at mile 22 (however many sweets you want or crave), and among the most beautiful, flower-lined finish areas anywhere framed by the signature Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch, only two blocks from the start.

There are many more examples of inventive add-ons you will immediately notice when visiting the comprehensive Race Website:

The Health & Fitness Expo, Packet Pick Up, and Pasta Dinner
The Health & Fitness Expo will be held Thursday and Friday, October 9 and 10, from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the XL Center (formerly the Hartford Civic Center), Trumbull Street and One Civic Center Plaza, Hartford, CT 06103. Race packet pickup is available during those hours, and also extended on Friday night to 9:00 p.m. NOTE: There will be NO packet pickup or registration on race day, except for the Kids’ K. They have developed a new option where you can have your packet and shirt shipped to you, but you must register for this option ($15 for shipping and handling—beats an extra trip into Hartford), and you must register for it prior to September 1, 2014.

The XL Center is in the heart of Hartford, only two blocks from the start and finish. The genuine Italian Pasta Feast will be Friday evening, 6:00 p.m. at the Hartford Club, only a few blocks from the XL Center at 46 Prospect Street, Hartford 06103.

There will be seminars and clinics at the Expo, with more than 65 vendors and organizations participating. The general public is invited to attend and check out nutritional products, sports and fitness apparel and equipment, health screening opportunities, info on recreational activities, exercise equipment, athletic apparel, running shoes, and various races. There will be a lot of swag.

Awards and Rewards
It is a very rewarding race. There will be over $26,000 in cash prizes available—all three events award cash—and that does not include course bonuses and prizes reserved for New England-New York athletes who are part of this NEF program. Additionally, there are commemorative placques for age groups, top three, from 16-19 through 80+ in five-year divisions for the marathon; the half marathon includes those groups and adds a 15-and-under; the 5K adds two more with 9-and-under and 10-14.

This is a very inclusive and welcoming event for all, including beginners at whatever level, plus divisions for physically challenged, visually impaired, wheelchair athletes, and Athena/Clydesdale participants—women 150 pounds or more, and men 200+.

There will be over 300 individual and team awards presented, including 30 divisions in each race. All marathon finishers and all half-marathoners will receive a custom medal, judged to be one of the seven most beautiful finisher medals in the country.

New England’s Finest Runners Program
And another unique idea: The “New England’s Finest” or NEF bonus and recognition program in association with New England Runner Magazine. New England and New York athletes are eligible for a special set of cash bonuses and prizes for performance in competition within the group, along with special bio and photo recognition in the September issue of New England Runner, the best regional running magazine in the country. Application must be made by July 15 to be eligible.

Perks for participants in this program include complimentary entry, hotel, reimbursed mileage, NEF tech apparel, Elite Athlete tent, elite status with support, invited athlete hospitality suite, and more.

Council for Responsible Sport--As Green as They Come
It is the “Greenest” Marathon in America. The Hartford Marathon has been recognized by the Council for Responsible Sport (CRS), and it is a model. They received the prestigious Gold Certification for green sporting events. CRS certifies sustainable athletic events which are environmentally responsible and which meet its guidelines in five criteria: waste, climate, materials/equipment, community/outreach, and health promotion.

For example, using recyclable or compostable cups and a reusable water bottle provided all finishers, has saved tens of thousands of water bottles. All paper products are compostable/biodegradable, and race bags are reusable and convenient. The recycling program is second to none. The event uses a Fuel Cell bus to transfer the elite and the relay teams, a Fuel Cell car for the lead vehicle, renewable energy credits, bike friendly and public transportation options, and more.

“We want to be the greenest sporting event anywhere,” said Race Director and Hartford Marathon Foundation President Beth Shluger. “Not only the greenest road race on the planet, but we want to be the greenest of all sporting events,” she said. The innovation and planning to accomplish this are impressive. The dedication to this concept is evident in all they do.

The Capitol and Bushnell Park—Ideal Race Day Location
The start for all races will be on the south side of the Capitol at 8:00 a.m.—the marathon, relay and half marathon will start together on Capitol Avenue in front of the Capitol; the 5K a block further south on Washington Street at the intersection of Buckingham Street. All events finish at beautiful Bushnell Park in the center of Hartford.

Bushnell Park is itself an attraction, and the center of marathon activity. Humming with energy, the park will be brilliant with the colors of New England autumn. The post race party (the best post race food anywhere) and finish line Expo will get underway with the conclusion of the 5K.

Bushnell is a 40-acre front for the impressive, golden domed, gingerbread Victorian State Capitol. The park, established in 1854, includes a working antique carousel (hand carved, 1914), a playground, and the soaring towers of the Soldiers and Sailors Civil War Memorial Arch built in 1884 and symbol of the Hartford Marathon, a fitting finish to each event. Check out the maps of courses and the park showing hydration, bag check starting lines, food areas, charity tents, elite athlete and New England’s Finest areas, finish line and more.

The Kids’ K will run at 9:30 a.m., a non-competitive run for children 2-11. Distance is based on age groups, and each child will run under the inspiring Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch. Each will receive a medal and a goodie bag with special treats.

Post Race
There will be a post race party to remember, a fitting celebration! Enjoy “the best post race food in North America”, with organic, natural, and locally grown foods to feast on. The menu includes warm, fresh grilled cheese sandwiches, homemade apple crisp and much more. During the morning and afternoon at Bushnell Park there will be wonderful music and family entertainment, along with dozens of exhibitors at Finish Line Expo.

Charity Options to Make a Difference
Charity running is exceptionally important, with many choices and many opportunities. The Hartford Marathon continues in the tradition of giving. Charities can include any organization registered as a 501 (c) (3), and the effort will heighten the personal satisfaction, along with personal achievement. The Hartford Marathon Foundation serves as a fundraiser for several charities. This event has raised approximately $4.3 million since its inception for local and national charities.

The Hartford Marathon Foundation
The Hartford Marathon Foundation, Inc. is a 501c (3) non-profit organization. They are the organizers of the Hartford Marathon and associated events. They direct over 30 events throughout Connecticut and Rhode Island. They are well known for the excellent training programs for beginning runners and new marathoners, as well as for sponsoring children’s running programs. Phone (860) 652-8866, or e-mail

Plan, Train, Run--Let’s Go
The Hartford Marathon, Relay, Half Marathon, 5K and Kids’ K are famous for unique features and attention to detail. Everything about these events is world class. Runners are drawn to Hartford for the terrific race amenities, the cultural attractions, beautiful courses, choice of distances, energetic volunteers and bands, many quality awards, strong leadership, emphasis on greening, charities, scrumptious food, and the post race celebration.

Bring your camera, your friends and family. Run and experience Hartford on October 11, 2014. Visit today to sign up and get all the details. You have got to run this one!



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