Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Mystic Half Marathon opens for charity registration

We know that the strict course limits for the Mystic Half Marathon have frustrated runners who want in on this beautiful, sold-out race.  While we can’t do anything to change the number of runners allowed on the course, we can make sure every one of those spots is filled.

How do we have registration openings?
At each HMF event, a set number of registration spaces are reserved for race sponsors (allotted as part of their sponsorship) and community partners, such as the local training group.  This year, we have confirmed that some of these spaces will not be used.  We will open limited registration for charity starting Thursday, April 28, at 9:00 am, (register here).

What charity will benefit?
With a lot of inquiries and a limited number of spaces available, these spots will be at a premium to benefit a great cause – the future runners in CT communities!  In addition to benefitting the charitable works of the Mystic Rotary, as every race registration will do, these limited spaces will also benefit the HMF FitKids in School program. $20 of each $100 charity race registration fee will go directly to this initiative.

The HMF FitKids in School program is a non-profit provided free to schools and students across the state through the generous support of the Aetna Foundation, United Bank Connecticut and runner donations.
Who will get to register?
We’ve been telling runners to follow us on social media and check our Web site for updates if spaces become available.  We have to accommodate new registration on a first-come, first-served basis since we know we can’t get everyone in that has emailed, called or messaged us.  We’re giving you a day of advanced notice, tell your friends!  We don’t know how long the limited spaces will be open, so please act quickly.

Want in on the Triple Half Challenge?
If you ran the April 24 Harvard Pilgrim Middletown Half Marathon but weren’t able to get in the Triple Half Challenge, you may still participate!  You must register for one of these limited spaces before charity registration closes and register for the October 8 Eversource Hartford Half Marathon.

How to register?
Just click here to register (opens 4/28 at 9 am), your tax deductible $20 donation to HMF FitKids in School will be processed within the Chronotrack registration process.

What about the 10K?
Please note, charity registration is available in the half marathon only at this time.  If registered 10K runners defer their registration, individual 10K spaces will automatically open with the additional $20 charity registration fee added to current registration pricing.  We have no control over the timing/availability of charity 10K registration)

Registered for the 10K and want to upgrade to the Half?
Registered 10K runners may upgrade to the Mystic Half by following the directions for making a Race Distance Transfer here.  You will pay the upgrade in fees and $10 transfer fee in addition to the $20 charity donation.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Create Your Balance

Being a strong runner takes different effort for different people.  Some follow training plans, seek expertise of coaches or run with groups; others heavily cross train with swimming, biking, strength training or yoga; some of us have strict diets or very particular food rituals to help our performance.

There’s no one right way to create the balance that works best for you.  We want to help you explore more options and give you credible sources to connect with.

With the support of United Bank, we’re putting together a top-notch crew of local resources to bring the experts to you - here on the blog, on our social pages and at special race events. 

From experts in cardiology, podiatry and ortho to nutritionists and trainers, we’ll
             cover your medical questions. 

We’ll bring you coaches and trainers to help you focus on improving your time or 
increasing your mileage. 

Our partners in physical therapy will address injury prevention and recovery.

The latest trends in apparel and shoes will be delivered by running trend experts.

We want to hear from you – send your questions and talk with our experts on Facebook and Twitter @runHMF.  We’ll be introducing experts in the next month.

United Bank is a returning HMF partner with headquarters right here in Glastonbury and more than 50 branches throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts. Check out more about the great things they do for their customers and employees here!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

What it takes to reschedule a race

We understand you have been very anxious to get reschedule options for Harvard Pilgrim Middletown Half & Legends 4-Mile.  Please know we’ve been working diligently on a whole mess of details, the things runners never need to think about behind the scenes.  Every date required extensive consideration of many factors - we have had to give thorough consideration to seven different dates before confirming from all fronts that April 24 worked best.

From the police, fire and medical teams that ensure the safety of runners, volunteers and spectators to the vendors that provide food, timing services, course support etc.  We have to be confident in replacing all 250 volunteers.  There were 125 Mondo pizzas and more than a thousand NoRA cupcakes ready to go for race day – the resources it takes to make that volume happen have to be available again to deliver for runners on April 24.

The city calendar, public works department and local churches need to be on board and notified about the impact of the date on the community.  For example, the Daffodil Festival is another large community event in Middletown on April 24 that will be impacted by the race.  Adjustments will have to be made to the race course to ensure the most minimal impact on that event - please see updates to the course map here.

And if April 24 doesn't work for you, the deferral system allows you the options to choose options that will.  But, PLEASE make sure you submit for your deferral here before the deadline on April 15 to guarantee you that flexibility. 

Those running in the Triple Half Challenge or Spring Ahead Series, please review the options outlined in the side-bar.   We have put together these options to try to make this unexpected change work as best it can for all of you. We know you have other races planned, work schedules and travel or child care arrangements to make.  

Thank you for running with us, we look forward to seeing you on April 24 or at another race soon.



Here's what you need to do:
- If you'll be running with us on April 24, you don't have to do anything. We'll just keep your registration confirmed and look forward to seeing you on the new race date! If you received your race bib in the mail or from your group leader, use it on April 24. No new bib will be issued.
- If you are unable to join us on April 24, you can get an HMF deferral credit that's good to use for any of our remaining, open 2016 events or for a 2017 HMF event (registration opens in December). If you need to defer you must do so by April 15 at 11:59 p.m.
Deferral credit amounts are: 
  • Half Marathon Individual $65
  • Half Marathon (Ages 12 - 22) $60
  • 4-Mile Individual $30
  • 4-Mile (Ages 18 - 22) $25
  • 4-Mile (Ages 5 - 17) $15
  • HMF FitKids Child (Ages 2 - 11) $10
  1. To defer, click here and login to your Chronotrack profile.
  2. If you never set up a ChronoTrack profile or forgot your password, click here and follow the prompts.
  3. Once logged in, click Change Race next to Middletown and follow the prompts.
Full instructions on deferring are here. Please contact ChronoTrack Registration Support (888-600-2298) if you experience any technical issues.
Please note that deferrals must be done by April 15 at 11:59 p.m. If you have friends that were signed up please remind them, too! 

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Tomorrow's race postponed

The safety of runners, volunteers and spectators is of utmost importance to us.  We fully support the city of Middletown in their decision to postpone tomorrow's Harvard Pilgrim Middletown Half Marathon and Legends 4-Mile.  

This decision was not made lightly.  The Mayor's office worked closely today with the Health Department, Emergency Management, Middletown Fire Department,  Middletown Police Department, Public Works Department as well as Middlesex Hospital in determining the safety risk from snow and high winds. (see statement below)

We will provide updates on our website and via Facebook/Twitter as available while we continue to work with the city on rescheduling.  We ask your help in communicating to participants about the change. 

Participants in the Triple Half Challenge and Spring Ahead series will also be provided details as we confirm them.  Please make sure to check your email and HMF communications for updates to address your questions.

Thank you for your understanding and patience as we work through this situation.

We have been closely monitoring the weather forecast which calls for several inches of snow tomorrow but, more importantly, sustained winds of close to 60 mph at exactly the time the Harvard Pilgrim Half Marathon would be underway.

This morning the city called together its public safety team including the Health Department, Emergency Management, the Middletown Fire Department, the Middletown Police Department and the Public Works Department. Each of those departments has a hand in the management of the public's safety during the race. We also consulted with Middlesex Hospital which provides medical services during the race.

The departments unanimously recommended that we postpone tomorrow's race due to safety concerns. Included in their considerations were the potential tomorrow morning of downed wires, downed trees, roads slick with snow and ice, difficult wind chill conditions, our inability to keep road barriers safely in place in high wind conditions, and an inability to provide shelter due to tents being blown around in the wind.

The City of Middletown and the Hartford Marathon Foundation therefore have jointly decided to postpone tomorrow'srace. After a careful evaluation and consultation with the appropriate authorities we believe it is in the public's and runners' interest to do so.

We will work closely together to select another date as soon as possible.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

HMF Frequent Miler 2016

We were happy so many of you cashed in on your HMF loyalty and got some fun freebies through the Frequent Miler Program.  For 2016, we want to keep the momentum going with cool swag and free races – but also provide VIP treatment for our Frequent Milers.

Introducing Barnum Financial Group Frequent Miler Village at the Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon on October 8. In order to be eligible for the FQM Village, you must be signed up for the Frequent Miler 2016 program, and have participated in at least five 2016 HMF races before September 15.

On September 15, all eligible Frequent Milers will receive an invitation, to reserve their spot, via email. Space is limited to 400 runners so respond quickly! Reservations will be accepted until September 30, or once the 400 slots are filled.

How it Works:
Sign up for the 2016 Frequent Miler Program here and participate in a minimum of five HMF events in 2016 (check the calendar!) – you will earn one point for every mile you run with us! Accumulated points can be used in the Frequent Miler Shop for special merchandise – everything from magnets and hats to technical shirts, jackets and race registrations.  The more HMF miles you run, the more points you earn.  We will tally your mileage through registration data in December 2016 after the Blue Back Mitten Run, points will be awarded for use in the Frequent Miler Shop in early 2017.

The Details:

  • Participants must register for the program by December 5, 2016 (participation in the 2015 program does NOT enroll you for 2016).
  • You must be a registered participant in at least five HMF events in 2016 to earn points per mile.
  • Promotional race entries (giveaways or comp entries provided through HMF or HMF partners) do not count toward event or points per mile credit.
  • Race credits are only earned with minimum participation of five HMF events within 2016, points will not carry over.
  • Triathlon and Duathlon running miles will also be tallied toward total mileage (bike and swim miles will not be included).
  • Points are not transferable.
  • Points can only be used within the Frequent Miler Shop within the designated time, to be determined and provided to all participants in advance.
  • Please enter the same exact name and email to register for all events and to register for the program to ensure points are assigned correctly.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Run, eat, drink & party in green at the O'Hartford 5K

The O’Hartford 5K has become a downtown St Patrick’s Day tradition, now in its 12th year.  We’ve always got the festive spirit with costumes and green galore, ice cold beer and delicious food.  The one thing we just can’t seem to control is the weather!

After years braving the elements – with whipping winds that took out Port-a-Potties last year - we assessed how we could deliver a more comfortable post-race party for runners.  So, we’re bringing the party inside the XL Center, changing up the food – but still delivering refreshing Hooker beer (21+, don’t forget ID!).

Some highlights:
-With slight course modifications, we’ve got our start and finish line on Trumbull St near the XL Center entrance for easy access.

-Irish stout ice cream – yes, I’ll say it again…Irish stout ice cream, handmade exclusively for the O’Hartford party by Shady Glen in Manchester.

-Warm pretzels served with Irish stone-ground mustard.  Yum!

-Free iRewind personal race video with option to purchase a premium downloadable race video capturing your personal race experience from 6 cameras ($9.99 in advance).

-Use #OHartford on social media to have your photos shown on video screens throughout the post-race party.

-We’re keeping some of the favorites, like custom glass beer steins for division awards.  And, our overall winners will enjoy another homemade element, with roots ingrained in rich Irish heritage.  I’m digging out my grandmother’s almost-famous Irish soda bread recipe and baking it up just for the occasion.  

-In the spirit of food, please don’t forget to pack some non-perishable food for the HMF Can drive to benefit Foodshare.  It’ll make you feel good to give back!

-Need secure storage? The Mobile Locker Company offers  starting at $5 (reserve in advance at or pay onsite).

Thank you for continuing to make this race such a fun annual tradition - we look forward to seeing you out there on the 20th!

Friday, February 26, 2016


We introduced the HMF Can initiative last year, asking you - runners, volunteers and spectators - to bring nonperishable foods to race events. You delivered. Thank you! With your help, we surpassed the goal of collecting 10,000 pounds of food, and are excited to up the ante to 12,000 pounds in 2016! Please see the release below to learn more about this most important race of all, the race against hunger.

            Hartford Marathon Foundation Aims to Donate 12,000 lbs of Food in 2016              Race organization facilitates food, clothing and supply donations across CT

The nonprofit Hartford Marathon Foundation (HMF) is asking runners to help collect 12,000 pounds of non-perishable foods at HMF race events this year. Introduced in 2015, the “HMF Can” initiative encourages runners to bring donations on race day to be provided to food banks within the communities that race events are held.

More than 10,000 pounds of food was donated in 2015 through HMF Can donations. Last year, 900 pounds was gathered at the Harvard Pilgrim Middletown Half Marathon to benefit the Amazing Grace Food Pantry, reportedly their biggest ever one-time donation.  HMF is hoping to beat that record at the April 3, 2016, Middletown event.

The 2016 HMF Can drive will be kicked off on Friday, February 26 from 3:00-6:00 pm, and Saturday, February 27 from 9:00 am-noon during the HMF Apparel Warehouse Sale at 41 Sequin Drive in Glastonbury.  Everyone that brings 3+ pounds of non-perishable food to donate will receive a free HMF race shirt (while supplies last).

“Runners appreciate when communities open up their roads for races and HMF Can provides a simple way to give back, just by adding a few cans and boxes of food to their race day rituals,” said Beth Shluger, Executive Director and CEO of Hartford Marathon Foundation.  “We’re committed to producing races that show off the best of these communities; it’s important to us that the only thing we’ll leave behind after an event is a positive impact.”

In addition to hosting HMF Can drives, HMF also donates food leftover from race events to local groups.  The Eversource Hartford Marathon, HMF’s largest event with approximately 14,000 participants in 2015, produced a total donation of 4,129 pounds, from apples and bagels to loaves of bread and bananas.  Recipients included Open Hearth, South Park Inn and Food Share.

The Foundation is committed to sustainability efforts and proactively seeks opportunities to donate, reuse or repurpose as part of post-event operations.  Approximately 460 pounds in compost materials and 6,360 pounds of recycling were produced at the Eversource Hartford Marathon.  Clothing donations from the event totaled 1,700 pounds.  Donate Life CT supported the effort, with volunteers stuffing 35 bags of discarded sweatshirts, hats, gloves and other layers shed by race participants along the race course.  Donations went to local shelters and charities.  Another 440 pounds of clothing was donated from the HMF Warehouse to Goodwill to be distributed to 14 store locations across Connecticut.

For more information on the HMF Can initiative or to register for 2016 events, please visit