Friday, August 16, 2019

Help us choose the post-race marathon menu

Let’s pretend you’ve invited 10,000 people over for lunch. You have no running water, no stovetop or grill, a tight budget and you can’t order delivery because of some significant local road closures.

What would you make that has nutritional value (assume all of your guests just ran between 3.1 and 26.2 miles) and can satisfy varying tastes? Also, please be sure to accommodate gluten-free, vegan or dairy-free guests. Oh, and don’t forget to follow specific guidelines from your city’s health department and make sure to keep hot food hot and cold food cold for the duration of 4-6 hours. Did we mention your lunch party is outside too? It could rain, or be pretty warm, or kind of chilly – you won’t know for sure though when you plan your menu or grocery shop. 

So - what’s on your menu? 

Every year, we collect feedback from Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon event participants about what we cooked up on race day. Opinions vary, of course, but our number one goal is to provide the best overall race experience possible for each and every one of you. And we've got great insights and advice to share with you from an expert - Nancy Clark is a registered dietitian (RD) and board certified specialist in sports dietetics (CSSD), and author of multiple books, including "Food Guide for Marathoners".

So this year, we want your help to make some choices within the confines of what’s possible when it comes to post-race nosh. Generally, we make sure to provide a warm option, cold option, salty item and sweet item. 

Keeping all of the limitations in mind, please take a minute to respond to THIS SURVEY

We’ve had great success serving chili and soups, met with some enthusiasm and some criticism. We used to have access to oven space to cook 10,000 baked potatoes – that was a big hit but no longer an option to access, unfortunately. Likewise with mac and cheese – a local culinary school had the resources to cook, hold and help serve but without their resources, it’s impossible for us to provide. Apple Crisp, homemade donuts, bagels, bananas, Dole fruit cups and yogurt have all been met with pretty positive response. 

With successes have come some challenges too. The master plan to serve grilled cheese was unsuccessful because of the difficulty in ensuring consistent quality for the duration of the event. Pasta needs adequate commercial equipment and doesn’t hold well for a long time. The amount of people needed to cook, transport, hold and serve is a huge factor in feasibility. 

We’re always willing to go back to the drawing board though. We know you’re going to work hard to cross that finish line, we assure you we will work hard to provide a post-race spread worth running for! 


Keep in mind tips from Nancy Clark, RD, on the goals of the post-marathon menu:
  • Provide easy-to-digest foods that will settle well such as rice, pasta, sweet potato, etc
  • Refuel muscles with carbohydrate, either sugar or starch from grains, fruits and/or vegetables 
  • Rehydrate with fluids 
  • Replenish sodium as well as other electrolytes lost in sweat 
  • Start the healing process with protein to repair muscles
  • Offer flavor changes from the sugary-sweet sport drinks and gels consumed during the marathon
  • Provide sweets that will help boost blood glucose to feed the brain and promote mental clarity  
  • Offer gluten-free carbohydrates that suit the dietary needs of the majority of runners
  • Introduce runners to anti-inflammatory foods that, when eaten on a daily basis, can help fight inflammation and enhance recovery 

TAKE THE 1-MINUTE SURVEY HERE

We appreciate your feedback and will announce the final menu next month!

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