15th Annual ING Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon - Saturday, October 11, 2008
The ING Hartford Marathon is now part of the growing ING family of marathons—new sponsor, new course, green intitiatives, and Hartford Marathon Foundation’s commitment to the environment and philanthropic causes make this series of events very special.
Posted Monday, 21 April, 2008
Formerly known as the Hartford United Technologies Greater Hartford Marathon, the 15th annual ING Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon is bigger, better and greener, and all ORANGE. It is now a proud member of the ING marathon family. As its new title sponsor, ING gives the Hartford Marathon an opportunity to grow its RUN HARTFORD theme and continue to support philanthropic causes and the environment, while guaranteeing a quality experience for all types of runners and their families and friends. All of this is combined with a NEW scenic course through the City’s vibrant neighborhoods, along the Connecticut River and onto quaint country roads during the height of fall foliage season. In the planning stages for this year is a full day of kids’ events in addition to the myriad of fun pre- and post-marathon events.
The events. Once again the marathon, half marathon, team relay and 5K start at 8:00 am with a Kids K at 9:30 am and, new this year, the Mascot Invitational at 9:15am. The marathon and half marathon begin together while the 5K starts at a different line. The field is expected to grow from the historical 7,000 national and international runners to more than 10,000 elite and recreational runners. The course is a favorite with runners hoping to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Average temperatures range from a high of 64 degrees to a low of 40 degrees. The marathon course records are held by Moses Kemboi from Kenya who ran 2:16:34 in 2005 and Russian master Ramilia Burangulova who ran 2:33:23 in 2003. Both records are within reach with a cash purse of $6,000 for the winner and an additional $1,000 for a course record. The cash prizes go five deep for men and women.
The field. The always international field had a slate of American winners last year. Mohammed Awol from the Bronx finished the marathon in 2:17:19. Tatiana Belovol of Gainesville, Florida took the women’s crown in 2:42:19. Stephen Chemlany of New York City won the half marathon in 1:06:51 and Veena Reddy from Philadelphia won the women’s race in 1:17:47. First place in the 5K went to Americans Brendan Callahan in 15:23 and Shauneen Garrahan in 17:34. Along with another international field, local running hero Bill Rodgers will be back this year.
The course layout is spectator friendly. The spectators, 30,000 of them, can watch the field run close to the same spot three times, see how the competition is developing, and cheer on their runners. Course changes have made the route better and more scenic, with plenty of views for those who take the time to look. The surface is road and paved bike path, with the final miles featuring the very scenic river front trail along the majestic Connecticut River. The finish line under an arch maneuvers you right into “party headquarters.” Sandy Colvin easily qualified for Boston here and found it flat compared to the Vermont hills at home. She loved the course’s accessibility and being able to stay within walking distance to the start. She found the course uncrowded with lots of entertainment for her family while she ran. With ING sponsoring the event, there will be ING’s signature “cheer zones” along the course to jazz the runners. The Hartford Marathon Foundation has committed to offering 50 - yes 50! - bands to wow the runners and spectators.
This event was New England Runner’s “Race of the Year” in 2004 and has only gotten better. The course follows quaint country roads, passes 19th century homes, pumpkin farms, and gardens galore. It exposes you to local architecture and historic landmarks like the Wadsworth Atheneum Art Museum, the Old State House where the U.S. Constitution was written, and the Wood Memorial Library. Revolutionary War buffs love running down old Main Street in South Windsor, traveled in days of yore by the likes of George Washington and General Lafayette. The miles along the Connecticut River are true blue New England. The Half Marathon and 5K weave through the vibrant, festive Latino Park Street neighborhood. The course is certified and lovely. The old industrial sections are gone. There are wonderful distractions from running pains all along the way.
Constant entertainment and attention on and off the course. Up to 50 bands will line the course and perform at the start/finish line, along with plenty of cheering spectators. The music ranges from rock and roll to African drummers, reggae, Celtic music, country western, Scottish bagpipes and more! There is a pre-race Expo, a fun run with Bill Rodgers, and a carbo-loading extravaganza at 15 downtown restaurants. Post-race features one of the best parties in North America and the only marathon known to be serving 100% organic foods. Runner amenities include plenty of food, a shirt, a medal, showers and massage, as well as easy access to and from the start/finish, located right in the heart of downtown Hartford.. The course is monitored by more than 200 police officers and 1,500 volunteers and medical personnel with plenty of fencing and signage, space wrap blankets at the finish, and 26 supportive aid stations along the course to keep you safe and secure.
Philanthropy and orange laces. This event has raised approximately $3 million since its inception for local and national charities dedicated to “create and manage fitness events to benefit the greater Hartford community,” and particularly the kids. To help give kids a “running start to better health,” you can donate on line and get your orange laces as a symbol of your support in helping introduce kids to an active lifestyle. Support of kids fits right in with the ING mission to aid in the fight against child obesity in America. Additionally, the marathon is dedicated to the support of official charities. The website tells you how you can participate financially and otherwise. Some of the charities which have been supported by the marathon include Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, The NF Marathon Team - fundraising arm of the Children’s Tumor Foundation, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the American Diabetes Association and many others. There are even perks for runners with their own mission who support their personal causes. The website explains it all.
The Greenest Marathon. The ING Hartford Marathon is eco-friendly and strives to become the most sustainable athlete event in the United States and the “Healthiest Marathon on the Planet,” according to Race Director Beth Shluger. Long time sponsor United Technologies has become the “Presenting Green Sponsor,” and will help the event lessen its environmental impact more and more every year. In 2007, with the help of United Technologies, the event saved 10,000 plastic water bottles from the local landfill. 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, and reusable water bottles.
The ING Hartford Marathon has been selected as one of five seedling races in the United States by the Council for Responsible Sport (CRS) to exemplify its greenness. 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. Innovative practices are also rewarded.
So here’s the event that will give you a well rounded socially conscious athletic experience. Whether qualifying for the Boston Marathon, or meeting your goal simply to finish, and having fun, if you RUN HARTFORD you can celebrate with the organizers as a socially responsible participant in a green, healthy and philanthropic event. It’s a truly great experience and a great race.
It’s time to sign up. Visit www.inghartfordmarathon.com today.