Monday, December 21, 2020

Planning for the new year, full of possibilities!

In a normal December, we would be buttoning up permits and brainstorming new challenges and changes to events to keep you excited about running in the new year.  We'd be releasing the race calendar and updating as many details as possible to open registration.  In a normal year, we celebrate the holidays with a clear path of what the next year will look like.

But this is 2020. Far from normal, and we still want to make sure we give you lots to look forward to.  What we're working on and how we're approaching 2021 will continue to adjust. We want to give you the best possible picture of what we're thinking.

2021 schedule
You can expect to see a race schedule released in January with planned dates for signature HMF events like the UConn Health Half Marathon, 10K & 5K; the Harvard Pilgrim Middletown 10 Mile; and the Hartford HealthCare Mystic Half Marathon and 10K.  The Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon always takes place the second Saturday of October, and we're assessing various scenarios to deliver as best we can on our flagship fall event.  Registration won't open all at once for events, as it has in the past, and we will be providing an updated refund policy for early registrations to in-person events.  Look for those details to be released by event when registration opens.  

There will be some annual events or charity partner races that will not be on that calendar just yet.  It could be that the partners need more time to determine the best-case scenarios to support their goals; or we don't have enough confidence that we can get a permit for a certain date approved early; or the event just might not be feasible.  We're providing dates for events to pencil in to your calendar based on info we know, industry predictions and a good deal of hopeful forecasting.  The goal is to proceed with optimism while not creating more questions than we answer.  It will all still require patience and understanding (please!).

We are hopeful that in-person events will return in the summer and fall, but anticipate adjustments will need to be made to ensure as safe an experience as possible for all - that could mean post-race parties look different, race capacities reduced, course changes, etc. There are a variety of possibilities we're exploring to bring races back, all with your safety as the top priority.

Before we make it back full circle to traditional in-person events though, we are looking at springtime options for hybrid events.  We're developing plans based on locations and resources available to provide timed race experiences with adjustments like start wave windows or rolling starts and open weekend events with some on-site experiences for limited groups of participants.

For the immediate future, we're going to keep you motivated with new challenges through the winter.  The Jack Frost Challenge in January is just the beginning of a variety of programs intended to give you a little something extra for lacing up your running shoes each day.   We're trying as best we can to encourage the community to tap in to the mental health benefits of exercise, reduce a little stress and set some positive goals to accomplish.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your continued support!  We are committed to being here for you on the other side of this pandemic and we are depending on your participation in the meantime to keep the lights on at HMF and our staff employed in a limited capacity.

We wish you a safe and healthy holiday season, cheers to 2021!


Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Nominate or share your story for 2020 Inspiration Team!

The 2020 Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon events compel a community-wide Movement With Purpose.  Help us highlight people that make a positive difference through service to their community.

We're accepting nominations for the 2020 Inspiration Team, presented by Bank of America.  Please share your story or nominate someone else participating in the event who deserves to be recognized for their efforts to support local charity, advance social justice efforts or serve their community during these difficult times as a first responder, military or healthcare professional.

This year, stories of the team will be shared via our social, print and video communications and may also be told through local media stories.  In addition to getting recognized for their service, team members will receive a special piece of team apparel and their $25 registration fee donation to charity will be matched by Bank of America to support an Official Charity of their choice.  Please note, because 100% of the $25 registration fee is a charity donation, there are no complimentary entries in 2020.

Submissions will be accepted through August 10

Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon 2020 Inspiration Team, presented by

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Join the Movement With Purpose this October

2020 Eversource Hartford Marathon & Half Marathon

to be Staged as Communitywide Fundraising Movement

Race events will take place virtually from October 8-11


The Hartford Marathon Foundation (HMF) will create a large-scale community movement this October to raise funds for local charities and bring thousands together virtually for a shared purpose.  The 2020 Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon will take place from October 8 through 11 as a virtual event and include a new 10K race distance, the 5K race and three new multi-distance race challenges to engage widespread participation.  Every dollar in registration fees will be donated through the new HMF GIVES initiative to benefit the event's official charities, which support urgent local needs.  


In consideration of financial hardships many are experiencing, registration will be $25 for all individual race events.  The fee - a steep discount from traditional race events - was set to encourage participants who are able to donate further and to support local business with purchases of goods and services around the event.


Through the financial support of sponsor partners led by Eversource, all race participants will still receive a finisher medal and long-sleeve technical shirt to commemorate their race.  While the event will be virtual - meaning all participants run their race at a location of their choice - participants will receive training support materials and event experiences digitally, including race bibs, finisher certificates and custom race day playlists.  Participants also have the option to submit verified results following their race and appear in race results online.


Competitive runners and those looking for some extra motivation can elect one of three multi-distance challenges in the Sam Adams Challenge Series: the Tenacious 2 (5K and 10K), the Driven by Purpose 3 (5K, 10K, half marathon) or the Grit & Gutsy 4 (5K, 10K, half marathon and full marathon).  Participants who opt to add a challenge ($10 fee) will receive a special custom finisher medal for the challenge.


“While it's not possible to stage the Eversource Hartford Marathon in the exact same way this fall, it remains crucial for this cherished race tradition to have purpose and benefit participants, charity causes and the local economy as it has for the last 26 years," said Beth Shluger, CEO of the Hartford Marathon Foundation and Race Director of the Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon. "We are committed to making this an amazing experience that is uniquely special for the unprecedented times we're in.  We will continue to give runners and walkers of all ages, experiences, backgrounds and abilities positive goals to aspire to, we'll support them along their journey and celebrate them for their achievements.  Every single person involved will know they made a positive difference by participating in the 2020 Eversource Hartford Marathon."


“As our communities continue to face unprecedented challenges during the pandemic, we’re grateful for the opportunity to partner with the Hartford Marathon Foundation for our seventh year of this signature event that raises hundreds of thousands of dollars to empower local non-profit organizations,” said Eversource Foundation President Theresa Hopkins-Staten. “Our employees are looking forward to coming together virtually to give back to the organizations that are there for our customers and communities, now more than ever, and to celebrate the achievements of all the athletes participating.”


HMF consulted state and local officials and event safety and medical experts at length and assessed multiple event scenarios to align with current COVID-19 public safety protocols and anticipated considerations for the fall.  The community fundraising movement and virtual races ensure the health of participants, volunteers, spectators and partners remains top priority and that public safety and medical resources will not be diverted for a live event should urgent COVID-19 response needs surge in October. 


Please visit, Facebook at HMF Events, Twitter at @RunHMF or Instagram at HMF_Events to learn more.


About the Hartford Marathon Foundation

The Hartford Marathon Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit organization founded in 1994 to create and manage fitness events that inspire people to be healthy and fit.  Located in Glastonbury, Connecticut, the Hartford Marathon Foundation organizes more than 30 annual athletic races, including the Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon, and training programs for youth runners.  For more information, visit and on Facebook at HMF Events, Twitter at @RunHMF and Instagram at HMF_Events.


About Eversource

Eversource (NYSE: ES), celebrated as a national leader for its corporate citizenship, is the #1 energy company in Newsweek’s list of America’s Most Responsible Companies for 2020 and recognized as one of America’s Most JUST Companies and the #1 utility by Forbes and JUST Capital. Eversource transmits and delivers electricity to 1.25 million customers in 149 cities and towns, provides natural gas to 237,000 customers in 74 communities, and supplies water to approximately 198,000 customers in 52 communities across Connecticut. Eversource harnesses the commitment of approximately 8,300 employees across three states to build a single, united company around the mission of safely delivering reliable energy and water with superior customer service. The #1 energy efficiency provider in the nation, the company is empowering a clean energy future in the Northeast, with nationally-recognized energy efficiency solutions and successful programs to integrate new clean energy resources like solar, offshore wind, electric vehicles and battery storage, into the electric system. For more information, please visit, and follow us on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn. For more information on our water services, visit



Elizabeth Cowles

CJ Public Relations


Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Professor Celebrates Retirement with Fundraising Run

We are overwhelmed with gratitude!  Thanks to your generous donations, the UConn Health Half Marathon, 10K and 5K generated $33,115 to support our local healthcare heroes.  The donation to the UConn Health COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund supports continued efforts to provide medical equipment and needed supplies.

A portion of each of the 1,272 participant registrations was donated to the fund, and many individuals made additional donations or bypassed their shirt and medal swag to double their donation.  In addition, many participants rallied fundraising efforts from their friends and family.

The single largest fundraiser, who raised nearly $3,000, took the opportunity to mark his retirement from the University of Connecticut by participating in the UConn Health Half Marathon to support the cause.  Meet Professor Hedley Freake.

Meet Professor Hedley Freake
For 32 years, Professor Hedley Freake has been a valued member of the University of Connecticut Department of Nutritional Sciences. The scientist and Fulbright Scholar recently spoke by video at the commencement ceremony for the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources after a long career of student-focused teaching.  Professor Freake has also worked toward improving general education programs and served multiple terms on the University Senate.

I have enjoyed thinking about the big picture and how we make a better institution.  I thought about diversity, equity and inclusion and was spending time to advance programs in those areas. 

As his retirement approached and the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way that the end of his tenure could be celebrated, Professor Freake saw information on the UConn Health Half Marathon that piqued his interest.

People want to do things in conjunction with the pandemic and Black Lives Matter.  We're all thinking about the important issues and what kind of society we want to be living in and there are events (like the race) that can bring people together for the common good.

The marathoner waited 30 years between his first 26.2 at the London Marathon at the age of 30 (which he ran i
n an impressive 3 hours and 9 minutes) and his next at the Hartford Marathon.  Professor Freake met his wife, Elizabeth Huebner, in London. In 1983, they moved to her hometown of Minneapolis before settling in Connecticut five years later when Hedley joined the faculty of the University of Connecticut. 

As a child I wasn’t an athlete of any kind. I grew up in London, liked to play football and cricket, but wasn’t really an athlete at all.  As I was approaching my 30th birthday in 1981, there was an article in the Sunday Times of London about how to train for a marathon in 26 weeks, couch potato to marathon runner. 

Coming up on his 60th birthday, Professor Freake's family thought it was time for him to do another marathon, which he obliged on the agreement that his sons would run the race in Hartford too.  With a little help and coaching, he learned about smart ways to approach running a marathon at 60 years old.

The Hartford Marathon Foundation's signature event spurred a renewed interest in marathons and he also began running with his three sons, Duncan, Matthew and Jacob. His Hartford Marathon in 2011 qualified Professor Freake for the Boston Marathon, which he ran in 2013.  He finished shortly before the bombings that rocked the running world and the city of Boston. He decided to run it again in 2016 after qualifying when running the Philadelphia Marathon with his son, Matthew.

He's trained for other races and encountered some common injuries that have hindered marathon pla
ns. At age 69, he feels running a half marathon is straightforward and enjoyable.

Running is for pleasure, I never worried too much about racing.  When doing races of that distance the achievement is to go out there and get a process going, get into a rhythm and pace where your body feels good.

Professor Freake had never run the UConn Health Half Marathon but felt it was a good way to mark the end of this era and raise a little money for the pandemic response. 

We couldn’t agree more.  Thank you, Hedley, for your selfless efforts and congrats on a great race! 

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Graduating to new goals this season

With UConn Health Half Marathon, 10K, 5K race week underway, our series on healthcare heroes wraps up introducing you to Dr. Rebecca Andrews as she takes on her first half marathon.  Thank you for following these journeys and supporting UConn Health in their mission at this critical time for our communities.

Meet Dr. Rebecca Andrews
Graduation season bubbles up many emotions for students and their families.   As a teacher, researcher and mom of two boys, Dr. Rebecca Andrews is feeling this season very differently this year.  A self-proclaimed short distance runner, Dr. Andrews is training for the UConn Health Half Marathon and finding the mental challenge of long distance running a great outlet.

Dr. Andrews, who see patients in Primary Care, also serves as Associate Program Director of Internal Medicine Residency and in a typical year, celebrates between 30-40 residents completing the residency program in the spring. This year, she is trying to arrange a drive-in graduation for residents to be recognized by name and hear their faculty cheer them on as they end their special training.

It's such a huge achievement, the residents put off their "real life" for so long to go through this special training preparing them to provide such an important social service to the general population.   It's one of my favorite times of the year - we know where they’re going to start the next phase of their life and we’re extremely proud.

The season is especially bittersweet with COVID-19 impacts for her family as her son celebrates his senior year and graduation from high school.

It's surreal to see patients struggling at work, and then come home and feel so distraught about my son not having prom, graduation or any of the iconic senior experiences like senior prank or senior skip day.  I've watched him and his friends wallow; they deserved that time.  There have been times in history when kids had to grow up a little faster, we know it will be ok in the end, but it’s so hard for them to miss what they earned.

Dr. Andrews ran track in high school and felt comfortable with short distance running.  She feels long distance was and still is mentally challenging but comes with a great secondary benefit for stress relief.

I love my job, but it can be difficult to share bad news with patients.  I don’t want to take that bad news to the next room and the next patient or take it home to my family.  People process that in a lot of different ways. I can go on a run, think about things from the day I need to work through. But once I get to a certain distance, running also helps me put those thoughts to the side and just focus on the challenge of the run.
Dr. Andrews teaches as part of the residency program for internal medicine, sees patients in Primacy Care and also does research in chronic pain care.  The last couple months have changed her day-to-day work experiences, which she anticipates will have long term impact.

One great thing about UConn Health is that the doctors who see patients have a role in administration and in making decisions. It makes my job special and a little different than in many other places I could work; it means I can affect healthcare for the betterment of all patients, not just my own.

The public immediately thinks of medical needs of patients who have COVID-19, but many roles for medical professionals are now behind the scenes.  Some of Dr. Andrews' leadership duties were re-assigned and her skills were needed in outpatient primary care to make sure the most vulnerable patients weren't getting lost in the situation of the pandemic.

Dr. Andrews and her running partners at the hospital started training in February for the UConn Health Half Marathon, her first 13.1 mile race.  Like many runners taking on distance goals, she adjusted to run in cold and rain when she needed to put in the miles, and she forced herself to make the time in her schedule.

I do a lot of counseling with patients on what they should be doing in their life.  I’ve made bets with my patients, like I’ll learn to golf if they quit smoking.  But I realized I didn’t have a set exercise plan that was intense enough for true health reasons and just for me. I was active, walking the dog or coaching soccer, but running helps me follow my own advice for patients.  Being a mom and being busy wasn’t a reason not to take care of myself.

What used to be 5 miles for de-tress is becoming 15 miles a week, the more stress she feels, the faster she runs.  And the competitive nature of running to accomplish personal goals works well for many doctors.

As doctors, we learn to be competitive to be the best we can for our patients.  In running, I set goals for myself; it’s about me being better one day to the next.

More information/registration for the UConn Health Half Marathon, 10K & 5K virtual events, running June 4-7, 2020, is available at


Thursday, May 21, 2020

Nurse finds new perspective on injury recovery

At some point, most runners deal with injury.  Whether it sidelines you completely from running or just requires adjustments to your routine, injury can be mentally frustrating. 

As we come into the last couple weeks of training for the UConn Health Half Marathon, 10K & 5K, meet a runner bouncing back from a debilitating injury.  Ironically, the avid runner is also a nurse practitioner specializing in treating patients at UConn Health with the same injury she experienced.

Meet Jocelyn Libros
As a nurse practitioner at UConn Health's Comprehensive Spine Center, Jocelyn Libros has seen countless patients come through with injuries that sideline them from running.  A four-time marathon finisher who has an active race schedule herself, Jocelyn has always been empathetic for injured runners and proud to work alongside orthopedic surgeon Dr. Scott Mallozzi in helping patients through spine surgery and recovery.

Jocelyn was about 12 years old when she started running with her dad, who was in the military and ran for his physical training.  She ran cross country and track through school and after college began racing half marathons.  She worked up to her first full marathon in 2010, training with her sister-in-law to complete 26.2 miles in Burlington, Vermont. 

As mom to two boys, ages 5 and 7, Jocelyn feels half marathon training works better for her life now. 
She ran the UConn Health Half Marathon last June after racing the half marathon in Mystic the month before.  It wasn't until after the Surftown Half Marathon and the fall running season that she started experiencing pain.

What started as mild lower back pain and pain in her legs got increasingly worse.  She consulted with her
colleagues and discovered she had a disc herniation.  After undergoing physical therapy and injections to ease the pain, Jocelyn reached the point where she could barely walk, never mind run or exercise, and faced having spine surgery herself.

In late March, as the country began shutting down to address the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Isaac Moss, chair of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and a spine surgeon at UConn Health, performed discectomy surgery on Jocelyn.

The team was absolutely incredible. Being on the patient side, the care I received was amazing and I can't thank Dr. Moss and nurse practitioner Shantay Wells enough for relieving the unbearable pain I felt.

The first two weeks post-surgery were the toughest with weight restrictions and not being able to drive, but as Jocelyn improved so did her mobility and she was able to slowly start exercise, as tolerated.

Returning to work at the end of April after three weeks of recovery, Jocelyn's day to day is very different right now.   Patient care has been handled primarily through telephone visits and the clinic just opened the week of May 18; but her perspective is very different as well.
I feel like I understand my patients and what they go through so much more now having done it myself.  When they describe their symptoms, I can reassure them about how they can improve and deal with their injuries.

The UConn Health Half Marathon, 10K and 5K is Jocelyn's hometown race. She competed in the hal
f in Simsbury last year and loves the course, event set-up and how family-friendly it is for her husband and sons to cheer her on.  This year's race will feel different for Jocelyn, and not just because it'll be a virtual challenge.

I used to think that if I ever couldn’t run, I wouldn’t know what I would do.  But going through this experience, I realize I’m ok to take it easy, run for fun and do shorter races to get back out there.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Finding the Right Running Shoe

One of the advantages of running and walking for fitness, is that you need just a few basics to get started, and some might already be in your closet. Unlike some sports where the list of equipment can be long and expensive, runners need just a few things – comfortable and breathable clothing, sweat-wicking socks, running shoes and optionally a watch or other means of timing your run. Of these four things, running shoes are the most important. Running with incorrectly fitting shoes may not only make your run uncomfortable but may also increase your risk of injury. 

Shoes designed for running have much more padding than regular shoes and flex in the way runners need them to flex. Running shoe models are designed for the three different foot types: neutral arch, low arch, and high arch. Running shoes provide structure and cushioning and have seamless construction to eliminate points of rubbing that can lead to blisters.

As a walker, should you wear running shoes? The answer depends on how many miles you walk at a time. Walkers need less cushioning than runners, so you can wear a lighter shoe that still provides adequate cushioning. Walkers can benefit from wearing running shoes, especially those who walk for over one hour or are looking to transition to a run/walk program.

Did you know that choosing the correct shoe starts with determining your foot type? Dr. Katherine Coyner, an orthopedic and sports medicine physician from UConn Health and team physician for the UConn Huskies, explains in her article titled “Finding the Right Running Shoe”.

As you progress in your training, you’ll learn which shoe brands and styles work best for you. With the guidance of an experienced sales person, trained in fitting shoes, you’ll not only enjoy your runs but avoid injury too. Two popular running stores in CT are Fleet Feet in West Hartford and soundRunner in Glastonbury. They are known for their experienced staff members and carry a wide variety of shoe brands, clothing, and accessories. On-line ordering, curbside fittings and pickup are currently available. Both stores plan to reopen on May 20. Check their websites or call for more details.