Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Meet Junior Team HMF 23/24

We want to mark this Giving Tuesday at HMF by sharing gratitude to the community for what you have already provided to help bring our non-profit mission to life.  A highlight for us is your support of the HMF Susie Beris, MD, Youth Running Program and being able to announce the new Junior Team HMF members for 23/24, please meet them below.

When it comes to giving, it’s the participants who give us inspiring reasons that bring purpose and meaning to what we strive to do every day. And, the partners that enable making the mission a reality with the support of volunteers who help see it all through.  Also, the many donors who further the positive impacts of our work, on behalf of charity organizations as well as our in-house youth programs.

Our ability to support free and low-cost opportunities for youth is powered by donations within the registration process or as one-time contributions and by grants.  A few highlights of what your giving has enabled so far in 2023 to help build a love of running among youth:

·       Over 1,000 students in grades 4-8 participated for free in the HMF FitKids in School program, training for 5 weeks and then supported with a Final Mile celebration

·       Uniforms are being provided through the High School Program to ensure local cross country and track athletes with limited means are able to feel pride and be recognized as a unified team among peers and competitors

·       Nearly 1,200 children aged 2-11 participated in low-cost HMF FitKids races at our events, providing opportunities to celebrate their efforts for achieving shorter distance goals

·       More than 1,500 youth participated in reduced price 5Ks and 10Ks on our schedule, a chance to run/walk and compete while enjoying an experience with friends or family

·       The second class of Junior Team HMF this week welcomes 25 members, many we will see on Sunday at the CLA Blue Back Mitten Run.  Please give them a high five!


Alyssa Behnke  //  Haddam Killingworth Middle School  //  7th

Hazel Cuomo  //  Ana Grace Academy of the Arts Middle School (Bloomfield)  //  6th

Emma Dean  //  Pearson School (Winsted)  //  6th

Siri Denni  //  Martin Kellogg Middle School (Newington)  //  8th

Ava DiBella-Mills  //  WAMOGO Middle School (Litchfield)  //  7th

Tucker Ferretti  //  John Winthrop Middle School (Deep River)  //  8th

Faye Fischer  //  Amity Middle School (Bethany)  //  7th

Julia Fletcher  //  St. John Paul The Great Academy (Torrington)  //  6th

Deacon Gascon  //  Tolland Middle School  //  8th

Nate Glidden  //  Tolland Middle School  //  8th

Natalie House  //  Sage Park Middle School (Windsor)  //  7th

Sydney LeBlanc  //  Smith Middle School (Glastonbury)  //  7th

Caitlin Leska  //  Dodd Middle School (Cheshire)  //  8th

Lyla Lopez  //  John Winthrop Middle School (Deep River)  //  7th

Emily Lund  //  William J. Johnston Middle School (Colchester)  //  6th

Brennan McAvoy  //  Southwick-Tolland-Granville Regional School (MA)  //  8th

Tatum Milanese  //  Torrington Middle School  //  7th

Cormac Neely  //  Suffield Middle School  //  7th

Payton Oler  //  Homeschool (North Granby)  //  6th

Stephen Quealy  //  East Hampton Middle School  //  6th

Nathan Settevendemie  //  Mabelle B. Avery Middle School (Somers)  //  7th

Ivan Shapiro  //  Tolland Middle School  //  6th

Mia Shea  //  Sage Park Middle School (Windsor)  //  7th

Violet Spooner  //  Tantasqua Regional Junior High School (Fiskdale, MA)  //  8th

Colton Strong  //  Horace W. Porter School (Columbia)  //  6th

Iain Verbickas  //  Torrington Middle School  //  8th



Thank you, thank you, thank you!  We appreciate your continued support and hope you have a blessed holiday season.


Donations can be made to support HMF youth running programs at any time through the year HERE

Members of Junior Team HMF 2022/2023

Thursday, August 24, 2023

2023 Inspiration Team at the Eversource Hartford Marathon


It's an honor each year to be able to share the amazing stories of the Inspiration Team at the Eversource Hartford Marathon.  This has become one of our favorite annual traditions, putting the spotlight on a small group of incredible people in hopes of encouraging others. We only wish we could highlight more of you, there's no end to your inspiring feats and we truly appreciate you sharing them with us.

Please look for stories to come and profiles of each member of the team in the race Insider's Guide published in September.

2023 Inspiration Team Selected for

Eversource Hartford Marathon & Half Marathon


East Hartford, CT – August 2023 - The Hartford Marathon Foundation (HMF) announced the honored participants chosen to represent the 2023 Inspiration Team at the 30th running of the Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon. The eleven members of the team represent the types of resilience, motivation and kindness found within the running community and those that have made the race tradition so special since its inception in 1994. Inspiration Team members will be participating in the 26.2 mile marathon, 13.1 mile half marathon or the 3.1 mile 5K on race day, October 14, 2023. 


“Each year, the Inspiration Team provides us the opportunity to highlight a sampling of some of the most incredible people that have overcome obstacles, risen to challenges or found ways to give back and honor those around them,” said Josh Miller, President of the Hartford Marathon Foundation. “We are honored to be marking our 30th running milestone this year and look forward to celebrating the achievements of all the participants who will cross the glorious finish line under the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Arch on race day.”


2023 Inspiration Team members:

Rachel Berkowsky, Windham - Half Marathon

Rebecca Boncoddo, Mansfield - Half Marathon

Christina Carmon, Windsor - Marathon

John Garde, Westfield (MA) - Charity 5K/volunteer

Ron Gold, Saddle River (NJ) - Marathon

Debra Lombardo, Waterbury - Charity 5K

Jose Lugo, Hartford - Half Marathon

Erin McDonald, Waterford - Charity 5K

Steph McKenna, Ellington - Marathon

Anthony Rykowski, Naugatuck - Marathon

Jennifer Zarrilli, Wallingford - Half Marathon


Members of the 2023 Inspiration Team will be profiled within the Eversource Hartford Marathon Insider’s Guide and receive complimentary race registration, the PRE Perks hospitality experience, finish line hospitality access and custom event apparel.  The inspiration team concept was initially developed by the Hartford Marathon Foundation in 2011 and has been celebrated annually since.


Learn more about the Eversource Hartford Marathon events, register now or sign up to volunteer at www.hartfordmarathon.com.  



Monday, May 22, 2023

Meet the Official Charities of the 2023 Eversource Hartford Marathon

Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon
Official Charities to Raise Funds and Awareness at 30th Running

More than $8.9 million has been raised for community causes through the event

The Hartford Marathon Foundation is proud to launch a robust Official Charity partner program for the 2023 Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon, Team 26.2 Relay and Charity 5K. The 30th running of the premier marathon event in Connecticut will take place on Saturday, October 14, 2023, providing 25 Official Charities an opportunity to rally participants, supporters and volunteers to raise funds and awareness.

Official Charities support community and philanthropic initiatives across the region, offering participants a built-in platform to bring deeper meaning and greater positive impact to their race. Companies and organizations also have a variety of opportunities to engage in the event and support charity. The unique HMF Community Partner Program provides event visibility and employee engagement benefits while also directing a donation to an Official Charity of choice.  

2023 Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon Official Charities:

Achilles International-Connecticut Chapter

Alzheimer’s Association

American Cancer Society

American Red Cross

Arthritis Foundation

Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford

Chrysalis Center, Inc.

Connecticut Children’s Alliance
Connecticut Children’s Medical Center

Donate Life Connecticut

Elbowbumpkid Inc. & JDRF

For All Ages

Girls on the Run Greater Hartford

Healing Meals Community Project

Hospital for Special Care

Joe Andruzzi Foundation

Megan Schulman Memorial Foundation

Operation Paws on the Ground

Postpartum Support Intl, CT Chapter
Ron Foley Foundation
Salvation Army Greater Hartford Division

Susan G. Komen New England

Team M.A.D & Jordan Porco Foundation

The Riley Farm Rescue

Tighed Together

“We are excited to celebrate our 30th running with a strong line-up of Official Charity partners that support meaningful causes and initiatives to benefit our community,” said Josh Miller, President of the Hartford Marathon Foundation. “We encourage event participants and local companies to get involved with charity partners on race day, their efforts amplify an incredibly positive day for the greater Hartford region, made possible through the support of Eversource and our generous sponsor partners.”
More than $8.9 million has been raised for charity through the event since its inception in 1994. Last year’s Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon generated an economic boost of $6.1 million for the community.

Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon registration is open and the 2023 HMF race calendar is available at www.hartfordmarathon.com.  For more details on the HMF Community Partner Program, contact deb@hartfordmarathon.com.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

We’ve moved – what you need to know

Welcome to the Hartford Marathon Foundation in East Hartford – we’re excited to see you here!  Our new space is located right on the East Coast Greenway and just down the road from trail system access along the river, a perfect fit for us.

What it means for you:
Don’t show up in Glastonbury to pick up your race packet for Mystic this weekend or UConn Health in a couple weeks, we definitely won’t be there.  Our new office space in East Hartford is on Goodwin University property, giving us great access to their facilities to host pick-ups and other small events, here’s what’s coming up and where:
Mystic Half Marathon & 10K packet pick-up
Thursday, May 18, 4-6:00 pm: Goodwin University, Riverside Drive, East Hartford (near the corner of Ensign Street)
UConn Health Half Marathon, 10K & 5K packet pick-up
Thursday, June 1, 4-6:00 pm: Goodwin University, Riverside Drive, East Hartford (near the corner of Ensign Street)
Global Running Day – NEW!
Wednesday, June 7, 5:30 pm: Stop by for giveaways and say hello, then head out for a fun run along the river on your own time or with a group. Sign-up coming soon (free event).
Somewhere between the O’races in March and the Middletown event, we made this move and are still settling in. Our office address is copied below, so if you are headed to pick up an award in person or have some other reason to visit, put that in your GPS please.  Our phone numbers and emails are all unchanged.




Look forward to seeing you soon!

Thursday, March 9, 2023

HMF Can expands in the community

As we start out the race season, we're excited to share some updates to our HMF Can initiative, which always kicks off strong with the four-event series of O'race 5Ks in March.

Thanks to your generosity, HMF Can has thrived through the years, giving back in real ways to the communities we run in. With the premise that together, we can make a bigger impact, HMF Can has rallied race participants to donate non-perishable foods or other supplies to support community food pantries and local agencies since 2015.

For the past few years, those efforts have been amplified through our partnership with Stop & Shop, helping to bring awareness as well as recognize and thank race participants for their donations. Everyone who donates at the March races can pick up a free reusable shopping bag with thanks from Stop & Shop. Those that donate at the O'races will also be eligible for an extra token of thanks, one gift card will be raffled off from each of the following partners at their respective races: Sauced at Kinsmen, Courthouse Bar & Grille, Five Churches by the Bay, and Trinity Health Of New England Orthopedics (entry to Middletown 5K).

New this year, HMF race participants will have the opportunity to contribute to support the needs of students through school pantry programs in select communities, kicking off on Sunday, March 19, at the O'Hartford 5K. The Stop & Shop School Food Pantry Program has expanded to more than 165 schools across five states, with Hartford Public High School joining earlier this year.

Hartford Public High School "Grub Pub"
The Grub Pub aims to bridge the hunger gap during the evenings and weekends when students do not have access to school meals. Providing access to nutritious options and basic necessities to students and their families during off-school hours has improved student mental health and alleviated financial strain on families.

The food pantry will also be used to help students learn critical job roles. Students will help stock shelves, manage food inventory and run the pantry while serving the community.  

Stop & Shop associates will be on site at O'Hartford to support the drive and volunteer their time to show their thanks to you. Let's all step up in a big way to make this a great contribution for the students!

HMF Can initiatives in 2023
Please join us in donation drive efforts at all of the following HMF Events. Check Final Instructions emails (also posted on event Web sites) during race week for details on any specific needs indicated by the beneficiaries:

  • O'Shenanigans 5K: Bread for Life
  • Courthouse O'Putnam 5K: IHSP - Daily Bread
  • O'Niantic 5K: Gemma E. Moran United Way - Old Saybrook Schools
  • O'Hartford 5K, presented by Trinity Health Of New England Orthopedics: Hartford Public High School "Grub Pub"
  • Middletown 10K and 5K Run/Walk: Amazing Grace Food Pantry
  • Burlington to Collinsville Classic 10K: Canton Food Bank- Trinity Episcopal Church
  • Mystic Half Marathon & 10K: Gemma E. Moran United Way of Southeastern CT
  • UCONN Health Half Marathon, 10K & 5K: Hartford Public High School food pantry, summer food service
  • L+M Hospital Summer Stride: Three Rivers Community College food pantry
  • Thirsty Thursday 5K, presented by Stanley Black & Decker: Capitol Community College food pantry
  • Old Wethersfield 5K & 10K: TBD
  • Surftown Half Marathon, Relay & 5K, presented by Westerly Hospital: Jonnycake Center of Westerly, RI
  • Blue Back Mitten Run: Town That Cares Fund (hats, scarves mittens etc.)

Thanks to your continued efforts and generosity in joining us in the race against hunger!

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

2023 race schedule

The release of the schedule is always an exciting time for us at HMF, a time to look forward, think creatively on new ideas and improve on what we've done in the past.

This year comes with a different exciting element - the transition of leadership to Josh Miller, who will take over as president of the Hartford Marathon Foundation on January 1. Currently serving as vice president, Josh has a long history with HMF. Having volunteered with his dad at the marathon since his early years, Josh then served on the race operations team during events and eventually as an intern in college. He started working in a full time role more than a decade ago and hasn't looked back since - you're certain to know his familiar face from events through the years!

You'll be hearing from him over the next few months as we communicate detailed plans on each of the 2023 events. In the meantime, expect a focus on the race traditions you know and love, with the return of signature races, including:

Mystic Half Marathon & 10K - May 21

UConn Health Half Marathon, 10K & 5K - June 3

Surftown Half Marathon, 5K & Relay, presented by Westerly Hospital - September 10

Our flagship event will be celebrating its 30th running this year, the Eversource Hartford Marathon, Half Marathon, Team 26.2 Relay and Charity 5K on October 14.

In an effort to ramp back up to full speed for enthusiastic participants and inspire those who may have lost their running bug, we're excited to bring more options in challenges and series:

Lucky Challenge - O'fficially kick off the 2023 season with four festive St. Paddy's themed 5K races to run or walk in March. Participants in all 4 (in-person or virtual combos) earn the blingy O'race medal and the luck of the Irish, with cheers from HMF at every race finish line. Slainte!

Bunch of 10Ks - Ramp up spring racing with a three-race 10K challenge in April, May and June. The bunch theme makes a change from bananas to grapes in 2023 - a healthy nod to running a bunch of great races and proudly donning a special medal after the third.

Crabby Challenge - Choose any distance in each of three beautiful shoreline races in May, July and September. These scenic courses all feature picturesque water views to fuel you through your race, with a fun medal awaiting after the third finish.

Connecticut Double - The ultimate state challenge...work up from half marathon in June to full marathon distance at the Eversource Hartford Marathon. Get support and encouragement through the journey and then celebrate after your iconic finish line moment under the Arch in Hartford with an extra special medal.

Happy Trails Challenge - Go off-road in this two-race summer adventure. Enjoy your race off the beaten path in Hebron (any distance offered) and then along the river in Hartford and earn a custom shirt for participating in the June and July trail runs.

Progressive Challenge - Start at the 5K in June to kick off the three-race feat, with a 10K in August to take on as the second race. Get weekly plans and training support to work up to the Eversource Hartford Half Marathon in October and enjoy an amazing finish line moment under the arch, with a special challenge medal to celebrate the accomplishment in Bushnell Park post-race.

You'll likely notice the omission of a couple events from this preliminary schedule. We won't be starting the year with the Resolution Run, we hope to keep you motivated to move in January through the Jack Frost Challenge.

At this time, the RiMaConn Relay remains a question for 2023, though registration historically doesn't open until April. A number of factors are involved in determining if the 3-state relay is viable in the coming year. As we weigh those factors and look to create new epic adventures to rally participants, we'll be certain to keep you updated. We will continue to assess what the community is looking for and how we can best honor traditions of Hartford Marathon Foundation events while bringing new opportunities to motivate.

We so appreciate all of your incredibly kind words and show of support for Beth Shluger, founder of HMF in 1994 and our fearless leader for nearly 30 years. We all wish her well as she enjoys her retirement after such dedicated years of service to our community.

Registration will be opening next week for many 2023 events. Secure your spot early for the best pricing deal and look for more information through race web site pages next week!


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,