Friday, February 14, 2020

O’Race 5K Series Insider’s Tip: Know the Course!

As part of our Lucky Friday 5K Training Tips, we’re sharing our best advice each week to get you prepped for our annual series of four back-to-back 5Ks in March.

This week, it’s all about the courses. Become familiar with the route ahead of time and you’ll get the boost in confidence and extra insights you need to guarantee a top o’ the line race experience.

O’Shenanigans 5K, March 14: Work the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail! You’ll hit the car-free, pedestrian zone around mile 1.5 on a gradual uphill. Then, pick up the pace and prepare for a fast downhill to the finish. MAP

Courthouse O’Putnam 5K, March 15: Start out slow to save energy for the second mile. You’ll face two challenging hills in this section of the route, with the steepest just after the 2 mile mark. Have no fear – the last mile is all flat straightaways and downhill. MAP

O’Niantic 5K, March 21: Here’s your competitive edge: get yourself in a good position by the 1.5 mile mark, when you’ll hit some quick turns and narrow roads as you wind through the Cove neighborhood. MAP

O’Hartford 5K, March 22: The good news: there’s only one significant hill during the second mile of the race. Conquer the peak at the 2 mile mark, then use the downhill in Colt Park to get back on pace. MAP

Follow us on Facebook to get a new Lucky Friday 5K Training Tip every week!

Not registered for the series yet? Our annual O’race 5Ks are all about fun, friendly competition, food and fantastic post-race parties to remember! For more information on each race or to register, head to

Friday, December 20, 2019

2020 Challenges to inspire you!

There’s nothing like a new year to get you motivated to move.  Reset the mileage and find a goal – race a longer distance, achieve a new PR, challenge yourself with something new.

We’ve put together a line-up of race packages in the HMF Sam Adams Challenge Series that will give you a little extra incentive to up your race game in 2020.  Registration will open for these challenges on January 1, grab the best possible prices for the packages through January 8.

Be rewarded with custom swag, medals or apparel for signing up for a challenge.

Lucky Challenge
The St. Paddy’s themed four-race 5K series across CT provides cold beer, yummy nosh, Irish music and great parties! Earn matching race accessories as swag at each event and then one large medal at the end of all four.
O’Shenanigans - March 14
Courthouse O’Putnam - March 15
O’Niantic - March 21
O’Hartford - March 22

Spring Medley
Dust off the winter training gear and get moving into spring running strong.  The NEW challenge earns participants a long sleeve custom training shirt.
HP Middletown 10 Mile - April 5
Burlington to Collinsville - May 3
UConn Health Half Marathon - June 6

Progressive Challenge

Gradually increase race mileage to slay our signature half marathon event in October. Whether the goal is finishing a first-ever half or racing for a PR, this series will motivate you to greatness. Get free training guides to help build mileage to achieve the goal and then earn a big, blingy medal upon series completion.
L&M Spring Stride 5K - May 2
UConn Health 10K - June 6
Eversource Hartford Half Marathon - October 10

10K Challenge

Earn an official Challenge quarter zip for completing these three 10Ks in 2020! Push further with 6.2 mile races that will help keep up your mileage.
Mystic 10K - May 17
Achilles 10K - July 19
Old Wethersfield 10K - August 23

Half It Your Way

Make a half marathon challenge work for your own 2020 schedule.  Register for any four HMF half marathons to earn an exclusive jacket (deadline to register to qualify for the jacket is September 1).  No special registration process required - just sign up for four 2020 halfs!  Note that individual race registrations will open on January 9.
Mystic Half - May 17
UConn Health Half Marathon - June 6
Surftown Half - September 13
Eversource Hartford Half - October 10
Amherst Half - November 8

CT Challenge
The ultimate in-state challenge! Earn bragging rights and an impressive and stately medal after a grand finish in Hartford.
L+M Spring Stride 10K – May 2
Mystic Half – May 17
Eversource Hartford Marathon – October 10

Love the holiday race challenge?  We’ll be bringing it back in 2020 also but with a few new twists.  Stand-by for more details coming this spring on the late season events and related challenge.

Now, all you have to do is choose a challenge and start logging those training miles!


Sunday, December 15, 2019

2020 race schedule preview

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – time to plan your 2020 race schedule!

We’ve been plugging along behind the scenes to get race dates firmed up for the events you know and love.  While the schedule is still subject to change based on securing final permits, you can start planning!  

Speaking of events you know and love, we want to point out a new change on an old favorite. The UConn Health Half Marathon, 10K & 5K in Simsbury will now be held on a Saturday.  We asked, you shared your thoughts and we’re making the change - put it on your calendar for Saturday, June 6!  While we know we can’t make everyone happy with any change we make, the overwhelming positive response led the decision to having another Saturday half marathon in the schedule (and the enthusiasm for possible post-race beer service for 21+ was pretty evident in your feedback).

Registration will begin opening January 1stwith more details to come later this week on the 2020 HMF Challenge Series, presented by Samuel Adams.  

Expect some exciting new things from your 2020 HMF experience, including a technology partnership with haku that will deliver a brand new registration platform. Whether you’re registering yourself, your family, for one event, 3 events, or a challenge series - it’ll be much simpler and more seamless. And, mobile friendly!
Registering, checking results, managing your registrations - all of it will be simpler to do on your mobile device.  Plus, you can accesscustomer service with fast, friendly and thorough support via phone, email and even live chat from haku in addition to connecting with our HMF support team.  Side note - there’s nothing you have to do to bring your past registration history over, we’ll take care of that for you.

You’ll also notice some changes in registration opening times. Races in the second part of the year (with the exception of the Eversource Hartford Marathon, Half Marathon, Team 26.2 Relay and Charity 5K) will open with early discounted pricing in the spring instead of in January.  So you can start planning for events like the RiMaConn Relay now, but won’t register until it opens a little later (but we expect that one to sell out quickly again – we’ll be sure to give you a head’s up before it’s open so you can get on it with your team!).

We’re getting 2020 race details firmed up on the Web site so please expect that to be shut down through the rest of the month. Resolution Run registration and volunteer sign-up, Run for a Claus results and the HMF Shop can all still be accessed through the homepage.  

Thanks for your patience as we work through this process in order to open January 1 with as much info as we can!  We can’t wait to come all together in 2020!

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Meditations Designed by Runners, for Runners

Running is a form of stress-release for many of us.  The therapeutic rhythm of pounding the pavement and the deep focus on each breath has helped clear my mind through the years, and been a form of meditation.  We’ve been learning more recently about how focusing our minds and energy can also help improve our performance before a race or big run.

We want everyone to reap the benefits of this for race day next week and are excited about working with Cloud9 Online, the Official Meditation Partner of the Eversource Hartford Marathon.  This locally-based company developed Runner’s Corner, a feature on the app designed specifically for participants in next week's events.  They've worked with us to make it available to all participants free-of-charge. The Cloud9 app provides this program of meditations specially designed by runners, for runners.

Learn more from Delanea Davis, avid runner and co-founder of Solstice Strategy Partners, creators of Cloud9 Online.  Running is as integral part of her life as meditating and she’s helping to deliver this specialty experience for Eversource Hartford Marathon participants.

Genesis of “Runner’s Corner” – Before, Day-of and Post-Race Meditations 
As a career-focused on-the-go entrepreneur, I depend on running to keep my mind clear and my stress in check.  Just like my life in businesses, there are some days as a runner when you simply cannot predict how the run will go.  The weather, work and family demands, sleep patterns and even your emotional state can determine whether you have a great run, or you’re “dogging it” as we runners say.  These are variables outside of your control.  However, there is a key variable that you can control: your mind.
If you’re like me, you create a rigorous training plan in preparation for a race and do your best to hit your weekly mileage goal while balancing work life, home life, injury prevention, and if you are lucky, a social life. You may not think about how adopting an 8-week old puppy can throw a monkey wrench into your training plan (true story!). But alas, you’ve made the commitment and you are going to run no matter how your body feels that day.

So here we are, days away from the marathon. I’m excited and looking forward to the race. I’m also a bit anxious wondering how this race will go. How fast will I run? Will I feel as good as I did for the last one? Will I hit my stride easily? Will I be able to finish without injuring myself? All of these thoughts are cycling through my head - exciting, yet also potentially anxiety inducing as I think about my late start to training. It can be tough to sleep – especially on the night prior to the race, and doubly so if you’re traveling to the race.

This is exactly why we’ve designed a three-meditation series called “The Runner’s Corner” so you can better control your mind and get the best possible sleep in preparation for the race.

To begin, check out the Runner’s Corner Meditation #1: Pre-Race Meditation. It’s tailored specifically for runners who want to reach a calm state on the night (or nights) leading up to the race. Sleep is key, and we want to make sure you get it. It will ensure you maximize your rest potential, whether you listen the night prior, or multiple nights before the event. Next, the day-of the event, I start visualizing the race from the moment I open my eyes from sleep. Getting out of bed, brushing my teeth, eating breakfast, driving to race parking while playing something to soothe me in the car… I’m purposeful and serious about visualizing in a way that will give me light feet for the race, lungs that can go forever, and both the heart- and mind-space to make this race flow with ease. I trust that my body knows exactly what to do so I can zone out when the race begins.

This is the genesis of Runner’s Corner Meditation #2: Peak Performance. We’ve created a race-day meditation that focuses your awareness on a visualization that includes all the factors we’ve ever found important, impactful, and inspirational on the day we’re running our hearts out! Listen to it when you first wake up, or on your drive into Hartford.

Finally, after we’ve run your race, we know that the marathon isn’t over until we’ve taken adequate time to warm down and recover, which is how we’ve created the third installment of the Runner’s Corner Meditation #3: Race Recovery. You’ll be guided through a deep and healing recuperative meditation where you’ll focus awareness throughout your body to speed recovery and bring your brain’s ability to heal to bear on those parts of your body that need it most after a marathon. 

Meditation That Works 
We hope you avail yourself of Runner’s Corner on our Cloud9 Meditation app, available on iPhone and Android for your best race in Hartford ever!

We founded Cloud9 because research has proven that meditation provides deep and lasting benefit to the mind and body – and so we work with healthcare organizations like Hartford HealthCare to increase healing impact with self-directed health protocols for patients that effectively manage pain without drugs. In fact, on race-day, you’ll also see us at Hartford HealthCare’s booth because we’re partnering with doctors there to create science-powered, clinically designed meditations that simply make life better for patients. As a runner, you’ve been caring for yourself up to, during, and post-marathon for years. This year, let us help you run your best marathon ever!

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Congrats to Challenge finishers in Hartford!

Thousands of runners take on the Eversource Hartford Marathon, Half Marathon, Team 26.2 Relay and Charity 5K as a stand-alone challenge, but many participants will check off the last event in a multi-race Sam Adams Challenge Series on October 12.

The Progressive Series and Connecticut Triple challenges wrap up in Hartford, where participants will earn an additional, well-deserved medal to commemorate months of hard work. If you’re completing one of these challenges, visit the Bling Ring in Bushnell Park after your epic finish! 

We’ve been following along with Katy Bramley, United Bank employee, who took on the Progressive Series in April at the Middletown 3.5 Mile, kept the momentum going through May at the Mystic 10K and will now take on the Eversource Hartford Half Marathon. 

We’re grateful to partners like United Bank that encourage their employees to challenge themselves to go further and accomplish physical and mental feats.

Read about Katy’s journey as she works toward her final challenge at the Eversource Hartford Half Marathon on October 12. 

Katy Bramley, United Bank 

Mystic 10K to Eversource Hartford Half Marathon, October 12 
Here we are, making our last preparations for the finish- both the end of the year and the end of our training for the big event: the Eversource Hartford Half Marathon. I was thinking about this year’s journey while enjoying the fall weather driving along the road last night. This was a particularly hilly road, which made me remember the beginning of my Progressive Series challenge and “hammering the hills” at the Middletown 3.5 Mile. The weather reminded me of the same beautiful breeze on the morning of the Mystic 10K. I’ve been asked if I’m excited for the half marathon coming up. I can say without a doubt that I’m extremely excited. However, in talking to others about my training and the upcoming event, I had a eureka moment. I realized that what excites me even more than the race is DOING IT ALL AGAIN. In the future there will be new goals and accomplishments, and a new set of challenges. I think for most of us, the excitement we find in life is about what comes next. On race day I will be ecstatic and proud to accept my medal in the “Bling Ring” once I cross the finish line. I will be even more enthusiastic to think about what’s to come next year. I want to congratulate all my fellow runners and supporters and all the work we’ve done to get here. Smile, cry, laugh, breathe, or embrace. Whatever you do, be sure to celebrate. You earned it.

Middletown 3.5 Mile, April 7 to Mystic 10K, May 19 Setbacks sounds like steps-back, as in going backward. And running, in general, means moving forward right? Well, that’s the idea, but life doesn’t always work that way. I’ve been athletic all my life, and fortunate enough to only have a few sprained ankles or minor injuries along the way. It’s ironic that now, when I’m most enthusiastic about sharing my story with others, is when strange injuries decide to come along.

For the first time ever, I completed the Eversource Hartford Half Marathon last year. I had never run anything over 6 miles before that. Completing it literally brought tears to my eyes. It was an accomplishment that was unfathomable just 10 months beforehand, 40 lbs heavier and barely able to finish a single mile. The feeling was infectious and I could think about nothing else but how next year I would run the full marathon.

All was going according to plan until a few months ago my running sessions were cut short. Each run was more and more agonizing, to the point I was in crippling pain and getting questions when limping around my co-workers. It would be easy to forget my plans for running the full marathon and go back to my life before running. It took me a few days and some time nursing my emotions to come to a conclusion. I just had to adjust. I had to find a new goal that would make me proud just the same. That’s what lead me to my new mission. My new goal is to complete the Hartford Marathon Foundation's Progressive Challenge series. Just a few weeks ago I completed the Legends 3.5 at the Harvard Pilgrim Middletown 10 Mile, the first race since my injury, and next up is the Mystic 10K. I’m excited to say that I’m on track in my training to be able to run the entire course at my 5K pace!

Along with the training plan I’ve been following, I’ve also been practicing a skill that perhaps plagues some of us now and again. That skill is self control. Naturally, I just want get to running 100% as soon as possible and ignore when I’m in pain. I half convince myself that “it’s fine, it will go away”, as we all do when we don’t necessarily face the fact it might be more serious. Over the past few months I’ve had to take the time to stretch longer than normal, warm up more than I care to, and follow pre- and post-run recovery routines that I never had in the past. I’ve done those tasks, along with physical therapy for those cranky muscles that are causing the pain. I equate it to “paying the bills.” I ran up my credit too high and am paying down what I owe my body. It’s funny, I never would have guessed it turns out those 6 and 7 mile runs on the 10K training plan weren’t the “real work” it takes to be a runner. It’s the tedious little chores I now do to take care of my body long term.
Speaking of the little things, that’s what keeps me motivated. I have a great time when I run with my 11 pound Papillon. He’s got a ton of energy and is a fast little guy, it makes me forget that I’m even running. It’s the tiny butterflies I feel when I get out of bed the morning of a long run. I think about how I enjoy the pounding on the pavement and how exhilarating it feels to be finished.

What I love about this sport is how amazing and unifying it is that everyone can have a different goal, but running towards the same goal all at once. It’s the same course and same finish line, but a completely different journey for everyone. It reminds me, I once had a t-shirt given to me that read “Success is a journey, not a destination.” In my case, it’s never felt more appropriate than now.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Welcoming military families on race day

We are honored to have so many active duty members of the military, Reserve, National Guard, veterans and their families join us on race day at the Eversource Hartford Marathon. Thanks to the continued support of Bank of America, we are again opening up the Freedom Point military hospitality venue in Bushnell Park to offer seating areas, refreshments, private port-o-lets and personal service as a way to honor our past and present military members and their families on October 12.

Bank of America has a deep commitment to the men and women who serve our country. They have an active Military Support and Assistance Group (MSAG) with over 100 chapters across the United States. The Connecticut chapter has 165 members, and many of them will rally together on race day to run, walk or volunteer. Meet one of their employees, Pavel Aragon, and hear his inspiring story for running his first half marathon in Hartford. 

Pavel Aragon, Air Force Veteran

Pavel served in the United States Air Force from 2010 – 2014. His service included law enforcement and security around the bases where he was stationed, including in San Antonio, in Missouri and in South Korea. Now that he’s back home in Connecticut, he continues his commitment to community service by taking on volunteer opportunities through Bank of America.

Pavel will take on his first half marathon in Hartford after being introduced to the Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon while volunteering with Bank of America colleagues. He was encouraged by the support that Bank of America offers veterans and active duty participants in the race through the Freedom Point military hospitality venue and set his goal to complete the half.

Pavel has never before run 13.1 miles. He says, “I wanted to challenge myself. We run all the time in the military but this is definitely something you have to train for.”

He runs shorter distances throughout the week and designates every Saturday to take on one extra mile: “It’s not all butterflies and rainbows, but it’s easier on the body to gradually increase how much I run.”

“Being part of this group makes race day more meaningful to me. It’s an experience that connects the employees at Bank of America and our veteran community.”

Please join us in wishing Pavel a great race! For more information on Freedom Point, presented by Bank of America, visit our site.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Eversource Hartford Marathon menu & post-race nutrition tips

Thanks to everyone who provided feedback about post-race menu options for this year’s Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon on October 12. We’ve been working on a race day menu with nutritional value that satisfies varying tastes and dietary restrictions within all of the limitations to cook, hold and serve in Bushnell Park.

Your responses have been heard - Autumn Harvest Rice Bowls will be the warm entree, packed with seasonal veggies and edamame. Flander’s Bake Shop apple cider donuts were the clear winner of sweet treat options and PopCorners snack food will satisfy the salty craving. We will also provide bananas, gluten-free Bakery on Main granola, Dole fruit bowls, bagels with peanut butter or cream cheese and Mountain Dairy chocolate milk.

In the hours and days following your race, it’s important to continue to keep your nutrition in mind. Dan Torres, nutrition consultant for the Connecticut Sports Medicine Institute at Saint Francis Hospital, shares 3 tips to keep in mind during race recovery to restore muscle fuel stores, replace fluid & electrolyte losses and promote muscle repair.

1) Because your appetite might be reduced after the race, liquid meals may prove to be the best option. Consume a mix of protein and carbohydrate preferably within 1hr after the race. A 4 to 1 ratio seems to work best for the initial recovery meal or snack (example: 80 grams of carbohydrate with 20 grams of protein).

2) To restore hydration status after the run, it’s necessary to ingest 24 fl oz of fluid per pound of body weight lost. Consuming plain water might not be the optimal way to rehydrate after a long race, try an electrolyte powder to help you better retain some of the fluid.

3) Spreading your intake of protein throughout the next meals (1-3 days after the race) will help to repair and rebuild muscle tissue. Aim for 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day for the 3 days after the race.

Dan Torres LDN, CSCS is a nutrition consultant for the Connecticut Sports Medicine Institute at Saint Francis Hospital. Dan specializes in sports nutrition, weight management and fitness training, he can be contacted at