Monday, August 14, 2017

Congrats to the 2017 Aiello Inspiration Team!

Thank you all so much for sharing “What’s Your It” submissions.  Your stories and experiences moved us and we are excited to share them with this amazing running community as we lead up to race day in Hartford on October 14.

Look for photos, quotes and stories through the coming weeks, with a “What’s Your It” feature to help us all start the week strong on Motivation Monday.

Today, we are excited to share the final selections of the 2017 Aiello Inspiration Team at the Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon. This year’s team includes inspiring individuals who run for many different reasons - they run to honor loved ones who have passed away, they run for weight loss and health, they run to overcome illness or difficult times. Their intrinsic motivation will help carry them to the finish line of this year’s event in Hartford.  

2017 Aiello Inspiration Team members were chosen from countless submissions that answered the question “What’s Your It?”, showing incredible ambition, drive and commitment in their lives to the “It” that they run for.  Members represent a vast array of backgrounds, experiences, ages and running goals.

2017 Aiello Inspiration Team members:

Sonya Alexander, Fairfield, CT – Charity 5K 
Allan Darrow, New Milford, CT – Marathon
Lee Falk, Bristol, CT – Marathon
Kayla Giacin, New York, NY – Half Marathon
Danielle Marcue, Portland, CT – Half Marathon
Ed Rudman, Rocky Hill, CT – Marathon
Nan Richardson, Middlebury, CT – Half Marathon
Paul Smith, West Hartford, CT – Half Marathon 
Sammi Verbickas, Torrington, CT – Half Marathon
Bryan Williams, Leicester, MA – Half Marathon

Members of the Aiello Inspiration Team will receive special VIP treatment including custom event apparel and complimentary PRE Perks package with limited access parking adjacent to the start/finish line, Mail My Packet service to receive bib and shirt in late September, personalized bib, access to pre-race VIP area and personal baggage check. Additionally, they will be profiled within the Eversource Hartford Marathon Insider’s Guide and highlighted within team promotions at the Total Fitness Expo. 

The Hartford Marathon Foundation is joined by Aiello Home Services, sponsor of the team, in the effort to recognize individuals whose determination and perseverance serve as an inspiration and motivation for others.

More information on the Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon can be found at, on and on Twitter @runHMF.

Friday, July 21, 2017

runHartford (we'll take good care of you!)

Each year, right after the Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon (well, after a few days of needed rest), we assess the ins and outs and all of the details.

Over the last 24 years, we’ve changed it up and done some things differently and, hopefully, much better.  We work hard to listen to feedback, improve where we can, maintain what works well and adjust in a way that enhances participants’ experiences without increasing costs. 

The 2017 Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon will have some new frills:
  • Enhanced athlete tracking – GPS capabilities for friends and family to find you
  • Start seeding – Additional corrals to help make your start smoother, areas available for marathon runners under 4:30:00 and half runners under 2:05:00 (deadline to apply – September 1, 2017)
  • Team 26.2 marathon relay – Updates to make being part of relay easier and one big party
  • Charity 5K – Still great for competitive athletes, the race will be more welcoming to walkers and groups
We’ll continue to offer runner services to take good care of you on race day, including:
  • Expansive medical support on course, at the finish and as needed
  • Safe, accurate, entertaining and well-supported courses
  • Experienced team of safety and security professionals
  • Fresh food, including gluten-free options and lots of locally sourced selections
  • Unique finisher medal, long-sleeve technical shirt, custom water bottle and healthy snack bag
  • Harpoon Beer Garden, now with sampling of Barefoot Wine, and Qdoba burritos for purchase
  • Live entertainment on the course and in Bushnell Park
  • 50th state recognition (just email us by September 8 to let us know and we’ll provide an impressive keepsake of your milestone)
Extra perks to provide enhanced comfort:
  • PRE Perks – indoor heated pre-race experience, plus personalized race bib if ordered by August 28 (for purchase)
  • Frequent Miler Village – available to all eligible HMF Frequent Milers, provided by Barnum Financial Group
  • Freedom Point – Military hospitality venue in Bushnell Park, presented by Bank of America
  • Charity Village – Volunteer hospitality area in the park for Official Charities
If you work for or own a business that wants to be a part of the action on race day, we’re making it easier than ever, with the added benefit of supporting local charity.  The new "Community Partner" program allows companies to dedicate a smaller investment to have visibility on race day - plus, a $500 donation is made to charity and 2 free registrations to the Charity 5K are provided.  Contact us at for details.

We’ll keep giving you reasons to come back to the Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon and hope to see you on October 14!


Monday, July 10, 2017

What's Your It?

We want to know what makes you lace up your shoes day-in and day-out.  We are so inspired witnessing your dedication to get to the finish line, we want to hear more - we want to know why you do it.  And, we want to celebrate you for it.

This year at the Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon, we will be honoring and celebrating runners as part of the Aiello Inspiration Team who answer the question What's Your It? 

Now through July 15, we'll be collecting stories and photos on our Facebook page and via Instagram, just tag us and use #runHartford to share your motivation to run. Not on social? You can email us at too. 

Up to 10 runners will be selected to represent this year's Aiello Inspiration Team and be provided free race registration and a VIP runner experience package at the October 14th Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon.

Family? Health? Peace & Quiet? Competition? 
What's the IT that keeps you going on rainy days, in blistering heat or frigid temps? Why do you get out of bed early or cram that extra hour somewhere in your day to log training miles?  

We can't wait to hear from you!  Questions?  Hit us up on social or via email.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Summer running - it's on!

Officially, summer may be another week away, but it feels like we’re in the thick of it this week.  Our friends at Fleet Feet West Hartford are ready to help you through it!

The sun is out and New England runners want to take advantage of all the sun-kissed runs our short summers have to offer.  This excitement can lead many to head out the door without thinking about the affects of the sun. Here are some tips to sun-protected runs to help you enjoy these wonderful summer trots safely.

Hats:  Providing shade for your face and helping to protect your scalp for dangerous radiant heat, hats can also help wick away sweat that may potentially land in your eyes. However, make sure you wear a hat that is full mesh so that air can pass through and look for hats with a dark colored under-bill since they reduce glare and won't make your eyes squint so much. Consider mimicking Olympic marathoners and stuff some ice inside your hat before you put it on (or mid-run) to help keep your cool.

Sunglasses: As we prepare for summer runs, we think about protecting our skin but often overlook the need for eye protection. UV rays can be harmful to our eyes and those UV rays are most powerful between 8am to 10am and 2pm to 4pm. Sunny conditions also cause us to squint which wastes valuable energy and can lead to a post-run headache. Lots of reason to don those shades!

Shirts: For men, it’s all too common to step out, notice how hot it is and automatically take off your shirt for a run. You could really be doing some harm - skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US. A light moisture-wicking shirt can help protect bodies from the detrimental effects of prolonged sun exposure. Most performance running apparel has 30-50 UPF sun protection yet still feels light and airy on. 

Hydration: Did you know that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated? Hydration is one of the most important elements of successful running this time of year. Don't just hydrate with water, be sure to take in some electrolytes as they are essential to fluid and nutrient absorption. Excellent options include Nuun, UCAN Hydrate, Gu Roctane Energy Drink, Tailwind and Scratch. We love Hydraflask stainless steel insulated bottles to keep iced beverages cold for up to 24 hours (even when stored in a hot car)!

Run early or later in the day: For early birds, first thing in the morning is one of the best times to run. Before the sun is at its highest peak, temperatures are cooler and typically less humid. But, for those who can’t make an early morning, waiting until the sun sets and things cool off a bit is best in weeks like this.

Enjoying the sun also means protecting yourself from it. With all the health benefits associated with running, we don’t want our runs detrimentally affecting our health. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Be Nice.

No doubt, the running community is passionate.  We push ourselves to reach goals, we feel elation and frustration along the path to attaining those goals.  And, we are emotional.  Sometimes that emotion brings out the very best in us, and other times, not so much.

It’s been a tough few days following an amazing, positive and great race for the HMF community on Sunday morning.  We were made aware of an incident of banditing the race and quickly addressed the severity of that act – the intent was to be very clear that we do not accept, condone or allow the behavior.  

We chose to make this situation a reminder of the severity of the issue, not to pinpoint any one person or organization. We believe strongly that we can all always do better, and we have certainly made our own mistakes that we learn and grow from. 

It’s important that we hear from you, the runners at the heart of this community.  We value your feedback and we listen to your conversations to help us do better.  It is with this principle that we allowed open conversation about the incident on our pages.  We felt confident that as adults that have a common bond of being runners, differing opinions could be shared, points made, concerns flagged, and questions answered.  

I want to make it clear right now, we do not support any communication intended to personally damage or insult each other.  The court of public opinion weighed particularly heavy in this week’s conversation, and while we encourage continued active voices, we have one simple message to reiterate:  Be nice.

It’s ok not to agree, it’s ok to show disappointment, it’s even ok to be angry. It is just not ok to be mean-spirited.  We lift each other up in so many ways throughout training, racing and celebrating our goals, let’s please remember to be nice when we hit those emotional moments that can so easily but unnecessarily escalate.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Spring apparel style watch

Wearing new running duds makes us happy!  Get insights on this season’s trends and tips on the apparel you need to have in your running wardrobe from our friends at Fleet Feet West Hartford:

Whether you are training for a 5K or marathon treat yourself to new gear, it’s time to start logging some miles and looking good doing it! Last year's apparel looking worn? Smelly? Here are some of this season's trends.

Women’s trends
Start with the correct foundation - a new running bra. There are so many choices this season, fun colors and prints! Options are available in racer back, traditional closing, convertible straps and over the head. Start with a professional bra fitting, they can fit you properly and guide you to the best bra for you to save time, frustration and money.

The season's new pant length is a 7/8" tight to hit just above the ankle. This is a great length to wear for yoga, as part of a lifestyle collection or for running - this length looks less "athletic" so it can crossover to anything in your lifestyle.  We are loving the tights and capris that can hold your phone in a side pocket, convenient for music or stopping to take a selfie!

If you have been wearing black bottoms, this is your season to try something new with pattern.  We are seeing over over patterns (or allover patterns) as well as placement pattern for the less daring.  We know Mom told you never to do this, but mixing pattern is happening in the apparel industry. Try it - you will have some great race photos!

If you have steered away from tanks, this is your season with many choices of colors and styles. Traditional racer back tanks, open crossover back, high neck tanks and double layers (two shirts in one) are popular.  I am loving styles that are longer in the back for additional coverage and tops with strategic seaming for a flattering look.  

Men’s Apparel:
The newest look in men's running gear is the capri tight under your running shorts. This keeps your legs warm and looks so cool!

Placement print is also happening in men’s shorts, available unlined to wear with  compression shorts or running underwear. Shorts are available in so many lengths, from 3" split to 9" unlined. You should have a variety of short lengths in your wardrobe to vary for race day and training to strength workouts. While black is still the most popular color, there are some awesome new blues, stripes and bright colors! 

Running tops have remained classic but fabrication, color and details are new this season. The racing singlet has been updated in light weight fabric with placement striping. Running shirts have subtle striping and reflective trim. Many are less boxy and come in great colors!  Even compression is in the fashion game with great colors to coordinate.

Did I mention socks? It is time to update the sock collection. New lightweight socks with just the right amount of cushioning where you want it - heels and toes. Go for color and prints in socks too!

Trails ’N Ales training series

New to trail running? Join us for the “Trails ’N Ales" training series hosted with our partners at soundRUNNER.  Learn the basics of trail running technique and all about trail shoes, and take a guided run around Gay City State Park to get a feel for the Summer Solstice Trail Run 5.5 mile race course (June 18 race).  The series runs May 23, 30 and June 6, 13 - it’s free but you must reserve your space by signing up here.  Shoe demos and ales provided by On Running and Altra Zero Drop.

Learn more about the benefits and joys of trail running from soundRUNNER:

Trail running is a common getaway for runners who don't want to deal with the usual inconveniences of the road, whether it's the traffic, the noise, the straight lines, or the specific view of turns ahead on the road that taunt you. Whatever your reasons, you can find mental and often physical salvation on the miles and miles of trails that this fine state has to offer.

There are some benefits of trail running that may also help save your summer goals from being sidelined by injury.  The trails require runners to watch every step through the varying the terrain, helping runners avoid many of the overuse issues that can happen with road running.  Changing the running surface to something a little softer can take away some problems associated with constant runs on the cambered road, which is a very common cause of hip problems. Runners also get the chance to strengthen tertiary muscles that help you balance and increase running efficiency. 

Another benefit to trail running is in what you’re breathing. The air quality on trails is almost always going to be better since you aren't dealing with exhaust fumes of passing cars or the rising heat and other gasses from the pavement itself. Especially in the summer, when the extra pavement radiation adds a good 10 degrees to the air around you. If you're a trail in an area with rivers or a reservoir, you will even get the occasionally refreshing patch of really chilled air, which just feels fantastic!

Trails are also good practice with hills, since you're dealing with natural uphills, rather than the more gradual, longer hills of a paved road. They are enough to get the leg muscles working, but not so arduously long to make you miserable like a road hill.  After some time on the trails, no road terrain will intimidate you! 

Whether training for a road race, or just trying to stay healthy, trail running at least once a week will be sure to help break up the monotony of constant road running.