Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Girls Night with Kathrine Switzer & Molly Barker (Oct 9)

It's been an honor for me to meet some true visionaries of women's running, inspirations that have empowered generations of women.  We welcome you to listen, learn and talk with two of the greats - Kathrine Switzer and Molly Barker. On October 9th at 7:00 pm join us for Girls Night: Powerful Stories from Fearless Women, before the NU Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon

In an informal gathering for women at Hartford Hilton Downtown, we will hear their powerful stories first-hand and enjoy a meet and greet, light supper provided.  There is limited seating for the event, tickets are $20 and available for purchase at http://shophartfordmarathon.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=379

We recently talked about Kathryn Switzer on the blog (see "How Far We've Come: http://hartfordmarathon.blogspot.com/2014/07/how-far-weve-come.html).  Best known for pioneering the official entrance of women into the marathon in the late 1960’s, Kathryn's iconic 1967 run in the then all-male Boston Marathon set historic change in motion.  Since then, she has continued to inspire women athletes as a sports and social advocate, author and Emmy award-winning television commentator.
Kathrine Switzer at the 1967 Boston Marathon,Photo credit AP Images/Harry Trask

Molly Barker started the
Girls on the Run program in 1996
Molly Barker founded Girls on the Run in 1996 with a vision to provide pre-adolescent girls with the necessary tools to embrace their individual strengths, teaching life skills through dynamic, interactive lessons and running games. What started with 13 girls in North Carolina has now been spread to nearly 800,000 in 47 states and in Canada.   Girls on the Run uses running to inspire and motivate, encourage lifelong health and fitness and build girls' confidence through accomplishment.

We look forward to seeing you there and welcome you to share your stories and questions for Kathrine and Molly.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

2014 Aiello Inspiration Team

One of my favorite aspects of being a race director is meeting runners and hearing about the wide spectrum of experiences and circumstances that bring them to run with us.  Real people doing great things to benefit others or overcome adversity. These inspirational individuals motivate others to be better runners, and better people.

We have teamed up with Aiello Home Services again this year to honor some extraordinary runners as part of the Aiello Inspiration Team. This year's selection committee was tasked with the difficult decision of selecting just 10 nominees out a large pool of amazing stories.
Please meet the members of the 2014 Aiello Inspiration Team participating in the NUHartford Marathon and Half Marathon. These individuals truly do embody this years theme of “Charity, Children, Community & Health.” 

Linda Ambard 
A military wife and mother of five with a lifelong dream of running a marathon in all 50 states, Linda vowed to her husband before he was deployed to Afghanistan to finish her quest. Tragically, he did not return home from duty. Linda ran through the heart-shattering loss and continues to run today to honor her husband and all those that cannot.  She wrote a book and mentors military families going through loss, and will keep her promise to her husband on October 11, running her 50th state.

Michelle Currier
A special education teacher at Macdonough School in Middletown, CT, Michelle has helped motivate colleagues to run and facilitated dozens of students to participate in Jeff’s Running Partners at the NU Hartford Marathon.   She also founded and coaches the school’s Unified Sports Team, which allows children with cognitive and physical disabilities to enjoy sports with grade level peers. Michelle serves as a volunteer guide with Achilles International, an organization that partners able-bodied runners with disable athletes.

Erin Henderson
A 37-year-old mother of 12, Erin started running five years ago as a way to get in shape. She barely made it two miles around the block on her first run. Today, she runs 80-100 miles a week, mostly in the early morning hours, with a goal of qualifying for Olympic Marathon Trials.  Running helped her lose 80lbs and find a new part of herself - athletic, strong, tough, brave, determined and confident. She credits the sport with helping her reduce stress and increase patience and draws inspiration from all 12 of her children, from her youngest 5-year-old adopted son with special needs to her eldest 19-year-old daughter in college.

Lillie Johnson
Considering herself an unlikely candidate to be running marathons, Lillie has always felt actions speak louder than words.  Training and completing marathons at 42 has been a motivator for others that provides her great personal reward while raising four healthy, athletic children, coaching volleyball and tennis and teaching. Lillie was named Teach of the Year at Wilcox Technical High School this year and wants to continue to inspire with her actions as she trains for her third NU Hartford Marathon.

Mike McCabe
Committed and dedicated to the needs of his community, Mike helped raise more than $100,000 for the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Westfield asspecial events chair this year.  In addition to his role as captain of the police department, he’s a volunteer high school coach and started a running club where he mentors runners training for the local race in Westfield that he also helps coordinate.  He runs on a 12-person team that fundraises for the Dana Farber Children's Cancer Institute by running 200 miles continuously over two days. He always shows up with a smile and a song or motivating words and provides support with genuine kindness to everyone around him.

Kelly Pabilonia
When she started as a social worker in Hartford Hospital’s Emergency Department trauma area, Kelly put on 40lbs using comfort food to cope with the grief and emotion of the job.  In December 2011, Kelly tried to run 2 miles on a treadmill as an alternative coping mechanism and was instantly hooked. A member of the Hartford Hospital Running Team, she encourages co-workers to run through some of their stress too and has taken her healthy lifestyle home - biking, hiking and running with her two sons.   After multiple half marathon finishes and placing at the Shamrock Duathlon last year, she is ready to run her first marathon this October. 

Joseph Pietrzak
Diagnosed with stage 2 prostate cancer last August just 6 months after his sister was diagnosed with breast cancer, Joe is no stranger to the disease. His mother lived for 15 years after her colon cancer diagnosis - he credits faith and perseverance learned from her when faced with the mental and physical struggles of his treatments.  An advocate for children’s interests in his town, a youth sports coach and chairman of a memorial scholarship fund in his nephew’s honor, Joe cares greatly for his community.  After completing a 10K goal race last month, he will run his first half marathon in Hartford to inspire his sister and others to keep fighting.

Carlos Quiles
Described as “a motivator, a celebrator and an inspiration” through his work and personal accomplishments, Carlos is a Paralympic athlete who placed top six at the 2014 US Paralympics Track and Field Championship 100 meter dash.  Carlos serves as the Mentorship Program Coordinator and Program Specialist for Hospital for Special Care’s Adaptive Sports Program, which gives people living with disabilities the opportunity to achieve their goals and lead independent lives. He gives greatly of himself, serving as Head Coach and team member of the CT Spokebenders Wheelchair Basketball Team, a member of the Board of Directors of the Tri-State Wheelchair Athletic Association and a member of the Advisory Board for the Disability Specialist Program at Manchester Community College.

Molly Sweeney
A 19-year-old junior at Assumption College, Molly has overcome significant set-backs but keeps coming back stronger as a person and a runner.  In 2009, she was involved in a serious car accident requiring two major surgeries and extensive Physical Therapy.  Recouping from this to eventually become the captain of her cross-country team senior year, she was sidelined again with season-ending illness.  She bounced-back more determined and a stronger runner until a second car accident prior to her freshman year at college.  Molly continued to persevere, moving on to become a collegiate athlete and using the setbacks as motivation to become the best she could to inspire others.  She’s running the NU Hartford Half Marathon as a celebration of life, good health and overcoming obstacles.

David Zagaja
Last summer, David’s close friend and brother-in-law Roy was diagnosed with hypertensive nephrosclerosis and placed on the waiting list for a kidney transplant.  Seeing Roy on dialysis treatments and knowing that the average wait for kidney transplant is approximately 6 years, David made the decision to be Roy’s living donor and was a perfect match.  Undergoing transplant surgery last November, David had saved a life and a family.  Less than a year later, he will be running the NU Hartford Half Marathon.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

One Mile Friday and pre-race festivities

Come enjoy pre-race celebrations in Hartford on Friday, 10/10 - get the lay of the land, loosen up your legs and relax in preparation for Saturday’s NU Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon.

Whether you’re running and need a shake-out or just want to experience the NU Hartford buzz in happy-hour fashion, join us for One Mile Friday on October 10 at 6:00 pm.  After a casual mile run through Hartford, relax in the Harpoon Beer Garden, which will be open from 6-8pm.  Participants 21+ will receive a cold beer and everyone gets a free fluorescent Hoo-Rag for joining One Mile Friday.  

(What's a Hoo-Rag, you ask? A convertible bandana for your head, neck, hair that looks really cool and will match your NU Hartford race gear)

Register Here - only $10 until Friday, August 8
$15 entry August 9th-October 9th, $20 on race day

Make it an afternoon and evening of pre-race pomp and circumstance:

The Health & Fitness Expo - Friday, October 10 11:00 am - 9:00 pm at the XL Center.  Get your bib and your packet, plus cool swag and giveaways

Pasta Supper - 6:30 pm at the Hartford Club, 46 Prospect Street
Menu will include several pasta dishes, including a gluten-free and veggie option, fresh salad, artisan breads, delectable dessert and beverages (alcoholic beverages available for purchase).  Ticket Price: $22 per adult; $10 per child under 10; children 5 and under are free

Monday, July 21, 2014

Team HMF members in Runner's World Cover Contest

We’re not surprised one bit to be seeing our amazing Team HMF runners Kimberly Markey and Katie Edwards among the leaders of the Runner’s World Cover Contest.   They each embody the best of what rock star runners can be – inspiring others by running with passion, living to the fullest and encouraging those around them. Learn a little more about them below and support them in this journey by casting a vote daily.  The contest ends 8/26/14.

Kimberly Markey – vote HERE
Describe Yourself in One Word: STRONG

Why Is Running Important To You?
Running has become my release and therapy. I pass on my love of running by volunteering for the Hartford Marathon Foundation coaching run/walk/run first-time marathoners. I now know running is NOT only about the bling it’s much, much more. Running has taken a 36-year old woman who was trying to survive not having a nervous breakdown to a 42-year-old SURVIVOR. Running got me through business lawsuits, personal bankruptcy and most recently breast cancer. I now know I can survive anything and I can do whatever the heck I want to do because I run. It’s that simple.


Katie Edwards - vote HERE
Describe Yourself in One Word: PERSEVERANCE

Why Is Running Important To You?
I was 25, 8 months pregnant, a 13 month old at home and a melanoma diagnoses. After an induced premature delivery and surgery one week later, I learned life waits for no one. Now I have big goals and am determined to make them happen. I know that the seemingly impossible IS possible. My life flows when I am running and working hard. Running gives back what I put in - strength, determination, belief in myself - and allows me to share that with those around me. I LOVE seeing people discover themselves in running.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

How far we've come

We have been celebrating the joy that running brings to women as we approach this Saturday’s Red Dress Run.  Women of all ages, shapes, sizes and abilities who run for their health, for their enjoyment, or simply for themselves. 

While nobody can take away a woman’s right to run, it’s shocking how relatively recently women runners have been restricted from racing.   

After a 32-year ban due to medical concerns that the event was too taxing for the "frail" female gender, the women's 800 meters was reintroduced in the 1960 Summer Olympics.

But it was far from smooth-sailing for women's racing from there.

Julia Chase at the
1961 Manchester Road Race
In 1961, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) bans women from competing officially in all U.S. road races. Nineteen-year-old Julia Chase enters a 6.5-mile road race in Chicopee, Massachusetts, in an attempt to challenge the ban. While her run garners media attention, her plight is largely regarded by critics as a spectacle.  In advance of her historic renegade Manchester Road Race later that year, the New York Journal American writes: "Miss Chase said she is 5’4” ½ , weighs 118 pounds and does not know her other dimensions. (Eyewitnesses report her other dimensions are very good.)"

1967 - Kathrine Switzer runs the Boston Marathon with an official bib by registering under the name K.V. Switzer. Race official Jock Semple attempts to pull Switzer off the course mid-race, but is body blocked by Switzer's boyfriend. Switzer finished the race in 4:20 and is subsequently banned from the AAU.*

Kathrine Switzer at the 1967 Boston Marathon,
Photo credit AP Images/Harry Trask
In 1977, fed up with feeling uncomfortable while exercising, runners Lisa Lindahl, Polly Smith and Hinda Schreiber fashion a top out of two jockstraps sewn together, nicknamed the “jockbra”. The sports bra—later renamed Jogbra--is born. Moving Comfort is founded the same year, and releases the first women-specific running short.

1979 - Grete Waitz takes her second first-place finish in the New York City Marathon in 2:27:33, shattering her own world record, and becoming the first woman in history to finish 26.2 miles in under 2.5 hours.

After years of hard work and lobbying by passionate female and male athletes alike, the women's Olympic Marathon makes its debut in the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics. American runner Joan Benoit becomes the first female gold medalist in the event. She later says of running the final leg into the Olympic stadium: "Once I passed through that tunnel, I knew things would never be the same."

1986 - The first jogging stroller is made, allowing mom runners everywhere the freedom to run whenever and wherever.

In 25 years, a rich history of women runners in the US gives us much to celebrate.  And it only gets better from there!

2013 - For the first time in history, 61% of U.S. half-marathon finishers were females (approximately 1,196,000 - a record), the highest proportion of any race distance.

Females currently account for 8.6 million finishers nationwide (a record number) and represent the highest percentage ever recorded of 56% of event fields.  SOURCE: Running USA

*Come see Kathrine Switzer, a special guest of the 2014 NU Hartford Marathon.  Details to come.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

HMF Staff Spotlight: John Bornhorst

Remember that water stop you so desperately needed to make it through the last mile?  Or the turn arrow that kept you on course?  More than likely, you have John Bornhorst to thank for that. As part of the HMF race operations team, John is one of the valuable staffers that help make it all work on race day.  Learn a little more about him, and say hi next time you catch him on race day!

John Bornhorst – HMF race operations team

Role on race day: 
Operations support, setting up every tent, sign, piece of fencing, water stops, mile markers, turn arrows, all the pieces that go together to make a race great.
How long you've been with HMF: 
Started volunteering in the fall of 2007 and became part of the staff in the spring of 2010.

What’s your running style: 
This year, I’m finally getting back on the road after a few years off thanks to the HMF 5K training group getting me up and running on Saturday mornings!  Slow and steady is my style, not a fast runner but love the feeling of getting in a good 5-6 miles to sweat the world away.

Favorite HMF race you've worked and why: 
Besides the Hartford Marathon, I love the different scramble races we run during the summer. It’s great to see everyone come out after work, have fun with a theme, and get to enjoy good music, food and a cold beer along the Riverfront.

All-time best race experience: 
Working the race for Sandy Hook was a memorable day. It was great to see 15,000 runners together for such a good cause.
Night before or race day prep ritual: 
For the really early set up times, making sure multiple alarms are set and coffee pot is programmed to start up early. I pride myself on never being late…

Most challenging race day moments: 
The weather, if it’s not the cold or too there is always the wind. But we always seem to make it work and overall we’ve been really lucky the last few years.

Most inspiring race day moments: 
Listening to Lt. Kevin McCarthy sing the national anthem at many of our events. He has an amazing voice.

What most people don’t know about to make an event successful: 
There is a lot of organized chaos.

Cooking, and baking during the holidays. I'm also a fan of birthdays and continuous surprises to make people’s days...

All time favorite food indulgence:
ANYTHING w/ dark chocolate, Wellfleet oysters, Maid-Rite hamburgers made in Greenville, OH

What makes you get up in the morning: 
The MORNING, I am truly a morning person and love to start the day...as I like to say to many “sleeping in is so over rated”

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Twitter Q&A, Friday - Injury Prevention and Recovery

Like most runners, I have been sidelined by injury and frustrated while waiting it out to heal.  Over the years, I’ve learned from many credible and talented partners of ours that healthy training and post-injury care are critical to staying on my feet.  We want to give you direct access to ask your injury-prevention and recovery questions to one such valued partner, Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Centers (PTSMC). 

We’re excited to be joined in our #askHMF Twitter Q&A series this Friday by Kathryn Flodquist, PT, DPT, cert. MDT, CSCS.  Kathryn is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with PTSMC and also a USA Triathlon Level 1 coach.

As a physical therapist and triathlete herself, Kathryn is well equipped to answer your questions on common injuries like Plantar Fasciatis, Achilles tendonitis and ITB syndrome/knee pain and can offer healthy training tips.
“In over 15 years as a physical therapist and a triathlete I’ve learned a massive amount about how the body moves, how to make it move better, how to train and race, how to recover, how to eat and how to make it all fit in my life.  I welcome the opportunity to pass this knowledge on!” -Kathryn

Kathryn will join us from 1-2:00 pm on Friday, June 20, via @RunHMF, just send your questions to us using #askHMF.  Learn more about Kathryn and PTSMC below, we look forward to hearing from you Friday!

Kathryn Flodquist graduated from the University of Hartford in 1998 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Therapy.  In 2011 she received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Des Moines University.  Kathryn joined PTSMC in February 2007.  For more on Kathryn, please visit http://specializedmultisportcoaching.com/
PTSMC is an outpatient physical therapy company with 12 clinics throughout the state of Connecticut.  They worked hard to achieve a reputation as a leader in healthcare.  The practice offers physical therapy services specializing in musculoskeletal, orthopedic, and sports related injuries.  Therapists at PTSMC improve the quality of people's lives by providing unmatched patient experiences, clinical excellence and lifelong relationships.  PTSMC helps return patients to work, their athletics and the lifestyle they enjoyed prior to injury or surgery.  The physical therapists of the practice focus on individual needs of each patient and develop treatment programs that are the safest, most efficient routes to fast recovery.  More information can be found on http://www.ptsmc.com/