The 10th Annual United Technologies Greater Hartford Marathon - World-Class Destination, World-Class Race
The United Technologies Greater Hartford Marathon is simply one of the best in the Western Hemisphere. The course is alive with natural beauty, history, technology, and wonderful architecture; Connecticut packs more interesting sites and experiences than any state—and Hartford is right in the middle of it all. With six events in one, Hartford is your marathon.
Posted Friday, 23 May, 2003
The Tenth Annual United Technologies Greater Hartford Marathon will blast off on Saturday, October 11. It will be a celebration of their 10-year history, and a true celebration of the sport. Runners will compete in a setting of magnificent, vibrant foliage for which New England is famous. There are actually six different events associated with Marathon Day, providing a distance and a challenge for everyone. And as a distinctive destination marathon, Greater Hartford cannot be beat.
From Victorian grandeur, to glinting skyline, to a restored riverfront complete with the riverboat M/V Mark Twain, to 17th and 18th Century history, this race should be your destination marathon. Bring your camera and your curiosity—you will want to relive this experience. Connecticut is the place to be in October; it has museums and historical sites, and is a gold mine for culture and the arts. Yes, the United Technologies Greater Hartford Marathon is the one to run. More than 1,500 volunteers, 26 bands, and unique neighborhood celebrations add to the enjoyment. As with many marathons, there are limits on the field. Don't get shut out.
From Victorian grandeur, to glinting skyline, to a restored riverfront complete with the riverboat M/V Mark Twain, to 17th and 18th Century history, this race should be your destination marathon.
The six events include the marathon, the marathon relay (2-4 person teams), the half marathon, half marathon race walk, 5K, and Kids' K. All start and finish at beautiful Bushnell Park in the center of Hartford. Bushnell Park is itself an attraction, and the center of marathon activity. It is the 40-acre virtual front lawn of the gorgeous golden domed, gingerbread Victorian State Capitol building. 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—all framed by incredibly colorful foliage. The triumphal arch is the symbol of the Greater Hartford Marathon, and a fitting conclusion to your race triumph.
The marathon course holds incredible contrasts and powerfully alluring beauty. This race through history begins in the Capitol dome's shadow on Elm Street bordering Bushnell. The first mile is within the city, a city of striking architecture. After only 6/10 mile you pass the Old State House, built in 1796 and designed by Charles Bullfinch. It is the oldest still standing in the US. Contrasts hit immediately beyond the State House. The Phoenix Building is a green-glass, boat-shaped marvel that is the world's first two-sided building. The one-mile mark is midway across the Founders Bridge, named for the original settlers who founded Hartford. . It spans the broad, beautiful Connecticut River and takes you into East Hartford.
The adjacent River Front Walkway carries pedestrian traffic across the river and to the M/V Mark Twain. (The walkway and pedestrian bridge to Great River Park make a great warm-up run the day before the Marathon.)
In East Hartford the course traverses office parks and broad avenues lined with colorful, stunning foliage. And at 4.7 miles the course crosses into South Windsor, one of America's first towns. Broad avenues give way to rural village roads and then verdant farmlands. You are literally running through history in South Windsor.
For example, among the colorful maples and colonial homes along Main Street a sign marks the birthplace of Jonathan Edwards, President of Princeton, and Grandfather of Aaron Burr, 3rd Vice President of the United States. The turnaround at the 9.4-mile mark is within the quintessential New England village, purchased from the Podunk Indians in 1636.
Main Street ends at this turnaround on Ferry Lane where the Bissell Ferry was one of the few crossings of the great river from 1641 to 1917. At this spot—sylvan pastures and river valley --John Adams declared, "Today I rode through paradise." The Clockmaker Burnap's house (1772), and the John Watson house (1788) sit here. The post office, built in 1727--the oldest post office in the country--is on the next corner.
It is a good thing there is an out-and-back section here, because there is simply so much to see. You can run by houses from five centuries along this stretch. The Porter home, built1694, is on the right at 11.7 miles. The Fitch house (1790) stands at 12.9, and the Anderson House from 1888 is on the left at 13.9 miles on the East Hartford line.
There is a truly delightful section in East Hartford, turning on East River Drive and heading into Great River Park. You will run close to the shore of the Connecticut, with gold and red foliage overhead. A radiant luminance of leaves reflects on the silvery waters of the river from giant trees from Mark Twain's Day. Contrasts are striking as you see the riverboat M/V Mark Twain tied at the pier on tranquil waters with the modern skyline soaring in the background. The next turn takes you by the Bulkeley Bridge, the largest stone arch bridge in the world, and one of the last built in America. Then the Founders Bridge carries marathoners back to the city.
At 20 miles you pass Bushnell Park and the soaring arch, then head west past the red sandstone Union Station rail terminal to the Victorian West Side. With foliage-lined streets and beautiful homes, you run through the neighborhood of Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Mark Twain loved Hartford, and wrote many of his classics here just blocks from the marathon course (immediately on the Huck Finn 5K course). Beecher Stowe lived out her life next door to the Mark Twain home, and both houses are open to the public.
Among the parks and Victorian homes along the course sits the Hartford College for Women, the Connecticut Historical Society Museum, and the University of Connecticut School of Law, all within blocks of each other at 24 miles. The return to Bushnell Park is thrilling. Much of the last mile is downhill, with the golden dome calling welcome home.
Hartford has always been a leader in ingenuity and innovation. They hold more patents than anywhere else in the country. It is a region of firsts (first constitution, first typewriter, first helicopter, first bicycle, etc.) and the United Technologies Greater Hartford Marathon follows in that tradition. They established a "Run Free for Charity" program, and special perks for charity runners—access to Charity Village, with separate baggage check, toilets, refreshments, raffles, prizes and gifts. They have set up a "Run In Honor" program, where marathoners carry the names of those serving on active duty, and help provide a care package for them, including race T-shirt with the name of the runner. They have a unique Junk Food Table at mile 23, with Twinkies, Ring Dings, Tootsie Rolls, Kit Kats, and more for that late-race sugar fix.
The United Technologies Greater Hartford Marathon provides two post race parties, one at Bushnell Park, and one Saturday evening at Pig's Eye Pub along the course. The Ultimate Guide to Marathons rates United Technologies Greater Hartford as, "The best pre/post race food of any race in North America." Look for even more innovations when you arrive for race day.
The prize money has been doubled for the celebration, and totals over $60,000, promising to make this the most competitive and interesting ever. Special events, tributes, and a cast of prominent heroes of the sport add to the excitement of the Tenth Anniversary. It is all made possible by United Technologies, a $28 billion company based in Hartford. United Technologies Corporation is better known by its business groups: Sikorsky helicopters, Pratt & Whitney engines, Hamilton Sundstrand aerospace systems, UTC Power (which includes UTC Fuel Cells), Carrier air conditioning, and Otis elevators. They all help make this marathon one of the most thrilling, powerful, energizing, cool and elevating experiences for any distance runner.
Greater Hartford, the Place to Be
Hartford is easy to get to. Bradley International Airport is a few miles north of the city. Interstates 91 and 84 intersect within the city, making north-south and east-west transition very efficient, and I-95 traverses the state west to east. The Union Station for Amtrak and several bus companies is adjacent to Bushnell Park.
And there are hundreds of reasons to come to Greater Hartford and historic Connecticut. America's first public art museum, the Wadsworth Atheneum (built in 1842 with artifacts spanning 5,000 years) is two blocks from the marathon start. The American Watch and Clock and Timexpo Museums—always of interest to runners--are close by, as are historical sites and museums galore. Hartford is home to the Museum of American Political Life and the home of Noah Webster. America's first Theme Park was at Lake Compounce, and Six Flags New England is an easy drive. The fabulous New England Air Museum is adjacent to Bradley International, and the Submarine Museum is in nearby Groton adjacent to the United States Coast Guard Academy.
Mystic Aquarium will delight young and old, as will the lure of the sea at Mystic Seaport and the Mashantucket Pequot Museum of Native American History. The world's largest casino is at Foxwoods near Norwich, and the equally impressive Mohegan Sun Casino is also nearby. The quiet corner, Connecticut's northeast shoulder, offers rolling hills and farms with fabulous foliage, and Putnam is New England's Antique Capital. The University of Connecticut, home of the NCAA Women's Basketball Champions, houses museums, as does Yale University in New Haven. ESPN's studios and offices are in nearby Bristol.
Connecticut, only 60 miles by 90 miles, is famous for it's 59 State Parks. One is 50 miles long, the Airline Trail, a rail-trail and one of the great places for a long run. Connecticut also has hundreds of miles of blazed hiking trails. Another of the parks is Dinosaur State Park where more than 2,000 dinosaur tracks were discovered just south of Hartford in 1968. Many of those prints are open and visible. Those giant animals left their footprints on Greater Hartford. This October is the season for you to do the same.