Thursday, December 1, 2022

Message of Thanks from Beth Shluger for 29 years of memories

At the end of a rewarding career, I'm trying to find the right words.  Trying to express gratitude for you - for friends, colleagues, supporters and volunteers who helped me - helped us, really, to build this community of runners with a purpose beyond running.

How far we have come, since the days of these infamous hours-before-race-start stories:

1994 – 2:00 am: My husband Ken and I painted 42 miles of streets with directional arrows, year one of the Hartford Marathon.

1995 – 3:00 am: I constructed a balloon arch in the garage of City Place and trailed it through Hartford to adorn the start line.

1996 – 3:30 am: Ken and I snuck into the dark, quiet hotel kitchen to "borrow" a dozen coffee urns and make coffee for 400 volunteers.

And it continued, for 29 years.

In 2022 – After just 3 hours of sleep, the Operations team of 12 rose at 2 am to start the day's work at the Eversource Hartford Marathon.

Thank you for the memories from all of those finish lines…the marriage proposals, the many moments of pure joy, of fathers with daughters, sons with mothers, friends supporting each other.  I got to witness it all – the father carrying his disabled young son across the finish, thanking friends who raised funds through the race to purchase a wheelchair van. We witnessed our heroic medical team saving a life at the 2022 finish line.

So many people and so many moments, including one of the greatest privileges of my life: the 2013 Sandy Hook Run for the Families.

From the sweet voices of the children singing America the Beautiful, to our friend, an Irish tenor, delivering an emotional National Anthem, we strived to set the right tone - one of respect, and hope and remembrance.  And so, we brought our ship's bell and rang it 26 times – once every 5 seconds – the solemn, poignant, beautiful sound enveloped the crowd of 15,000 in complete silence.  Every 5 seconds, the bell reminded us of an angelic 6-year-old or caring, selfless educator. The sound and the significance struck us to the depths of our souls.

You all have touched me in ways I will forever cherish.  My thank-yous, in no particular order, are as earnest and genuine as all of you have been.

Thank you to all the runners, who demonstrated over and over the power and compassion of the human spirit.  Who unfailingly took their time to share stories of how they got to the finish line, literally and metaphorically. Thank you for loving what we created for you.

Thank you to the newbies, those first timers who took that first step with HMF. Through the power of inspiration, you got moving for your own health and encouraged me to create new opportunities to embrace more like you.

Thank you to the amazing people who rose in the dark of night to drive to a new place - perhaps 60, 70, 80 miles away - to join us in the labor of staging races. Through rain, cold and heat, nothing stopped those volunteers. You are part of the HMF family and honor us by making the HMF family part of yours.

Thank you to all those who said yes
when I asked 30 years ago for help, especially Chris and Peter Andrews, for being "all in, in all ways, at all times". To Art and Judy Snyder, our first and most loyal volunteers. To Jill Hallet, for being the first HMF employee, who's still with us and celebrating her 25th year. To the rest of the team, Josh, Matt, Ellen, Nancy, Liz, Genevieve, Sarah, John and the dozen more past and present employees, whose passion and commitment to our work equaled my own. Thank you.

To David Polk and Aetna for first funding this dream. To those who followed their lead to keep HMF going and growing: United Technologies, ING, and especially the people of Eversource, the best partners I could ever imagine.

Thank you to my family – mom and dad, my brothers, my children David, Olivia, Jacque and Cam.  And most of all, to Ken.  For 29 years, he has risen with me at 3 or 4 am to load trucks, fill water jugs and set traffic cones for more than 400 races.  HMF is as much his as it is mine.

And this is where I end. You have all moved me to the depths of my soul.

Thank you,
Beth  



 

Friday, August 19, 2022

Introducing the 2022 Inspiration Team


2022 Inspiration Team of Eversource Hartford Marathon & Half Marathon Celebrates The Power and Resilience of Runners

Glastonbury, CT – August 19, 2022 - The Hartford Marathon Foundation (HMF) announced the honored participants chosen to represent the 2022 Inspiration Team at the Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon.  Highlighted for their strength and resilience in the face of adversity, the twelve members of the team are joined by the collective of Eversource employees who volunteer at the event, empowering thousands to cross the finish line on race day, October 8, 2022.
 
“The Inspiration Team is a beloved tradition that brings a small sampling of some amazing participant stories to light. It’s a wonderful opportunity to highlight people that have dedicated time and efforts to power through challenges; they inspire us to do our best to celebrate their achievements and all of those who cross the finish line on race day,” said Beth Shluger, CEO of the Hartford Marathon Foundation. “We are also so excited to celebrate the volunteers at Eversource who have come out for years to make race day a great experience for all involved, encouraging participants with smiles, cheers and incredible support.”


2022 Inspiration Team members:
David Buono – Unionville, CT (marathon)
Megan Christensen – Windsor, CT (half marathon)
Neil Connery – Derby, CT (half marathon)
Kathy Flaherty – Newington, CT (5K)

Michael & Haleigh Guerrera – Avon, CT (half marathon)
Samara Johnson – Lebanon, CT (marathon)
James Joyce, Team Mason – Bristol, CT (half marathon)
Malcolm Little – Hartford, CT (marathon)
Michael Lo Presti – Norfolk, CT (marathon)
Racquel Lunser – West Hartford, CT (team relay)
Delmace Mayo – Jamaica Plain, MA (half marathon)
TEAM Eversource volunteers

 
Members of the 2022 Inspiration Team will be profiled within the Eversource Hartford Marathon Insider’s Guide and receive complimentary race registration, PRE Perks experience and custom event apparel. 
 
The inspiration team concept was developed by HMF in 2011 and the purpose behind it motivated the creation of the new Who Powers You campaign of the Eversource Hartford Marathon.  The appreciation campaign allows all race participants a chance to submit the name of someone who inspires them to cross the finish line in Hartford on October 8.  Recognition will be given on the course and throughout Bushnell Park for the person who powers them. The campaign kicks off September 12 and is open through October 7 for submissions.
 
Learn more about the Eversource Hartford Marathon events, register now or sign up to volunteer at www.hartfordmarathon.com. 
 
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 http://www.HartfordMarathon.com and on Facebook at HMF Events, Twitter at @RunHMF and Instagram at HMF_Events.


 

Monday, May 9, 2022

Official Charities of the 2022 Eversource Hartford Marathon

 

Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon Official Charities to Raise Funds and Awareness this Fall

More than $8.5 million has been raised for community causes through the event

May 9, 2022, Glastonbury – The Hartford Marathon Foundation proudly announces the 16 Official Charity partners of the 2022 Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon, Team 26.2 Relay and Charity 5K.  Through their participation in the premier annual fall event on October 8, 2022, Official Charities will benefit worthy causes in the community by rallying participants, supporters and volunteers to raise funds and awareness.

Official Charities support community and philanthropic initiatives across the region, offering an opportunity for individuals as well as companies to make their event participation have deeper meaning and greater positive impact. 2022 Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon Official Charities:

Achilles International-Connecticut Chapter
Healing Meals Community Project
Team M.A.D & Jordan Porco Foundation
Hospital for Special Care
Chrysalis Center
Circle of Care
Connecticut Children’s Medical Center
Donate Life Connecticut
For All Ages
Girl Scouts of Connecticut
Girls on the Run Greater Hartford
Operation Paws on the Ground
Ron Foley Foundation
Salvation Army
Susan G. Komen New England
United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut

Companies and organizations also have a variety of opportunities to engage in the event and support charity.  The unique HMF Community Partner Program provides companies with event visibility and employee engagement benefits while also directing a donation to an Official Charity of their choice.  

“Each year, we are inspired by our participants who make their race even more meaningful by supporting one of the worthy causes in our Official Charity program," said Beth Shluger, President and CEO of the Hartford Marathon Foundation.  "We are grateful for the continued support of Eversource to enable this valuable tradition, helping to empower community partners to keep up their incredible work in the community.”

More than $8.5 million has been raised for charity through the event since its inception in 1994. Last year’s Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon generated more than $326,000 for charity and $4.8 million in economic boost for the community with a scaled back production hosting 6,000 race participants.

The 2022 race calendar is available and registration is open at www.hartfordmarathon.com.  For more details on the HMF Community Partner Program, contact beth@hartfordmarathon.com.

About the Hartford Marathon Foundation
A nonprofit organization founded in 1994, the Hartford Marathon Foundation (HMF) mission is to promote healthy living through fitness and physical activity for people of all ages, abilities, ethnicities, gender identities, orientations and experience levels, and to use HMF events to support charity, sustainability, tourism and economic growth in communities. Located in Glastonbury, Connecticut, the Foundation organizes more than 30 annual races, including the Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon and youth training programs. For more information, visit www.HartfordMarathon.com and follow on Facebook at HMF Events, Twitter at @runHMF and Instagram at HMF_Events.     

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Rocky Neck Relay course info from an insider

An active member of the running community and experienced local coach, Chaz Koch is providing his inside scoop on the new Rocky Neck Relay event. Chaz is also part of Operation Paws on the Ground, the event charity partner and a wonderful local cause to get to know!
 
By Bjturon - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,  
Tell us about the courses, what can we look forward to?
Rocky Neck State Park is built to hold relay and endurance style events and I could not think of a better way to highlight all the park has to offer than HMF’s Rocky Neck Relay. 
 
The main loop around the perimeter of the park and campgrounds is approximately 2.5 miles and offers every type of scenery you could ask for. The blend of road and trail routes is a unique quality, for every mile of road to enjoy there’s an equally beautiful, peaceful section of trail.   
 
The road loop is paved and well maintained. The trails offer twists and turns that keep you focused on your surroundings while traversing the landscape. Gentle rollers and ocean breeze set the scene for the countless species of wildlife you can encounter along the trails. 
By Carole J. Buckwalter - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
 
You’ll have the chance to cheer on teammates and other competitors from multiple spots on the course. Or you can take a break and go dip your toes in the water!
 
How does Operation Paws on the Ground benefit the local community and how can participants get involved?
 
On average in the US, 22 veterans commit suicide and over 1,800 dogs are euthanized daily. Both of those statistics are absolutely unnerving.
 
The mission of Operation Paws on the Ground (OPOG) is to help create healing bonds between veterans and rescues, ultimately saving one veteran, one dog and healing 2 hearts at a time. As a veteran and rescue parent, Operation Paws on the Ground speaks to me on a number of levels. I have experienced firsthand the healing and the bond that takes place between vets and dogs that have been through a trauma.
OPOG
 
It costs approximately $3,000 for Operation Paws on the Ground to pair a veteran and rescue dog. We are asking teams to fundraise a minimum of $500 to help sponsor future pairings - for every 6 teams that meets the goal, we can bring another veteran and rescue together to help each other heal. 
 
On top of being part of that important journey, teams that fundraise $500 or more will receive a custom OPOG hoodie for each member.
 
Check back for video previews and more to come on the Rocky Neck Relay courses soon! Secure a spot for you or your team now at Rocky Neck Relay.
 


 


Wednesday, January 12, 2022

New non-binary division

To further our commitment and mission for HMF Events to be inclusive to all, we're happy to provide new registration options to better reflect the diverse individuals participating in races.  Starting with 2022 events, the option for non-binary or "prefer not to say" are within what has traditionally been offered as male or female categories.

All participants will continue to be included and displayed within overall results.  With the updated options, those selecting non-binary will also be viewable as a division with participants eligible for non-binary division awards.  Those that select "prefer not to say" will be included in overall results but not eligible for division awards.

Runner up in the non-binary division in Sunday's Resolution Run 5K, Jess Reed of Southington shared their thoughts on the experience:

Jess Reed, right

I think it's awesome that HMF now has a non-binary gender option when registering for races.  In the past - I've often felt that I've had to misgender myself when registering for a race, by only having male or female to choose from. For some people having to pick either male or female can cause dysphoria.  I think it's wonderful that HMF is being inclusive and is encouraging diversity.

At Sunday's race, there were two non-binary people who raced and were division winners, and I hope that number will continue to grow as more people see that there is a non-binary division being offered. 


We appreciate the feedback from our community to make this change happen and we welcome participants in the division in future events!


Wednesday, December 22, 2021

New refund protection option during registration

The realm of the unexpected has been taken to a whole new level these past two years.  We’re constantly seeking new ways to keep our customers running happy while we balance the many variables of race planning and keeping our non-profit operations strong.

To provide participants with more options to help handle those curveballs in life, a new option for Refundable Registration Protection is available for 2022 events.  Available only for purchase at the point of event registration within the haku system, the protection will provide a 100% refund of entry fees if participants are unable to attend for a wide range of covered scenarios.

Those that do not opt to purchase the extra Refundable Registration Protection during registration will still have the ability to defer their race registration up to 14 days before an event and receive credit for use in a future race.  Transfers of bibs through the haku registration system from one participant to another person may also be done no later than one week before an event.  POLICY DETAILS

We hope providing many options will help our customers have more assurances about clicking the “Register Now” button in advance of race day.  Note that for all events, the earlier the better in terms of fees!  Check event site page details for any deadlines for things like shirt size selection or optional add-ons such as Mail My Packet for applicable events.

Registration is now open for the Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon and Charity 5K on October 8, 2022.

Also, get in on the popular St. Patrick’s Day themed O’race 5K series, registration is open with special early pricing!  New registration options allow in-person or virtual participation for any of the four races, making it simpler to take on the 4-race Lucky Challenge and earn the flashy challenge finisher medal.

Check the 2022 race schedule to set some goals and learn more about updates and changes in store HERE 







Tuesday, December 14, 2021

2022 Race schedule is here!

Get those calendars out and plan some race goals for 2022! 


We are excited for the 2022 season to bring us back to a more predictable schedule.  We're ready to refocus on course updates, on supporting competitive spirit and inclusive race opportunities and on delivering the extras to make those events unforgettable. SCHEDULE

 

Of course, health and safety will continue to be top priority; it is and always has been fundamental to our race planning process.  Look for some updates on policies as well as expanded programs to help keep you motivated. 

 

Race registration will open on a rolling timeline, starting December 20 with the March St. Patrick's themed O'race 5K series opening December 20 along with the Eversource Hartford Marathon race events, scheduled for October 8, 2022. 

 

April and May events will open in mid-January, with the Middletown race remaining 10K and 5K distance and the Hartford HealthCare Mystic Half Marathon & 10K making a return to its traditional May weekend.  A unique new relay is also in the works for participants to enjoy trail and road miles with a team along the shoreline of Rocky Neck State Park in East Lyme.

 

June and July events, including the Saturday, June 4th running of the UConn Health Half Marathon, 10K and 5K, will be opening in February.  The L+M Hospital 10K and 5K will continue with the Summer Stride theme in mid-July and some updates are being made to the Thursday evening race in Hartford, now known as the Thirsty Thursday 5K at the Riverfront, presented by Stanley Black & Decker.

 

In August, we expect to bring back the epic 3-state RiMaConn Relay, presented by Webster Bank, with registration opening around Earth Day again.  We're also planning some additional opportunities connected to the Surftown Half Marathon, Relay & 5K, presented by Westerly Hospital.  Think beach weekend of running!

 

While the Niantic Bay Triathlon remains on the schedule, at this point the Women's Triathlon in Farmington is not scheduled to return in 2022.  Absent a title sponsor and suffering from low participation, it's simply not feasible to produce the event, unfortunately, but we remain open to future considerations.

 

Fall running in New England is always headlined with the Eversource Hartford Marathon, Half Marathon, Team 26.2 Relay and Charity 5K on the second Saturday in October.  A return to the West Hartford half marathon course is welcome news to local residents who want to cheer the throngs of runners through their neighborhoods and will help us accommodate more participants to return to finish under the Arch.

 

Another new event in the works, a point-to-point 10-mile race will explore the beautiful Norwottuck Trail from Amherst to Northampton.  Look for details and registration opening in summer 2022 for that one, followed by the cap off of the year in December with holiday running.

 

Thanks for sticking with us through this past 18 months, we truly appreciate you and can't wait to see you out there again soon!