Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Kicking off 2021 with 58,812 miles in January!

What compels you to get out of a warm bed or bypass your favorite Netflix binge to put on layers of workout clothes and be active every single day in January for three weeks straight? We learned some really interesting tidbits about participants in the Jack Frost Challenge last month that keep us inspired!

For TJ McKenna, a Boston University professor who logged the highest activity in the Challenge (481 miles!), a goal to do at least 10 miles for every hour spent in a Zoom meeting was just the beginning.  He and his wife both participated in the Jack Frost Challenge and they run in honor of Lindsay, his sister-in-law, as part of Team Be Happy and the Lindsay's Legacy Foundation.  Last year, they donated and shipped more than 600 face shields to those most in need and raised $10,000 for the Smilow Cancer Center at Yale New Haven Health.  The Challenge gave him a reason to tackle multiple long sets everyday and keep up training for triathlons.

Celeste Fong, who followed closely with an impressive 477 miles, wanted to start the year by pushing herself far outside her comfort zone.  She appreciated a January challenge like this to motivate people to turn a goal into a habit.
"I’ve seen the sunrise almost every single day. I’ve spent tons of miles walking and hiking with my mom. I’ve also explored a bunch of new trails. It’s been a fabulous month in so many ways."
While TJ and Celeste racked up impressive mileage, the volume of people committed to their goal was remarkably inspiring:

  • Of 1,012 in the challenge, an average of 820 participants submitted each of the 21 days
  • 17,230 total activities were submitted
  • 58,812 miles of activity were logged by the community
  • 3.41 miles per submission was the average

Jose Lugo committed to a 10K a day and early on had to strategize his time to run or walk 6.2 miles with warm-ups and cool downs around his full-time work schedule. He also paid more attention to the daily weather forecast than ever before!  A frequent HMF race participant, Jose misses the competition and appreciated being able to follow the leaderboard to get in the spirit of it more, compelling him to log more January miles than he ever has.

"The pandemic made me realize that I'm not meant to be indoors for a long period of time. The Challenge gave me goals and the fact that I surpassed my goals this early in the year gives me a great sense of satisfaction."
For John Bornhorst, a friendly face at HMF finish lines in a normal year, the Challenge forced him to get out and complete a 5K a day.  The option for indoor or outdoor activities was an initial draw, but the added challenge of managing the winter weather kept him outside to log his  miles.  He also encouraged a colleague and newer runner to use running and aerobics to successfully keep moving in January.

Congratulations to all Jack Frost Challenge participants and to the 21 winners of Daily Prizes from Fleet Feet West Hartford!  All winners were contacted by email directly about claiming their prizes.

Monday, January 25, 2021

$513,000 raised for charity in 2020

2020 was a tough year, no doubt.  Thankfully, there was also quite a bit of good stuff to be proud of - thank you for making it all happen...


Hartford Marathon Foundation Inspires Community Giving,
Fosters $513,000 in Participant Donations in 2020

With road races halted for the pandemic, non-profit creates new ways to encourage runners

The Hartford Marathon Foundation (HMF) pivoted its 2020 calendar of road race events to create virtual races, challenges and engagement programs for runners and walkers to keep active for physical and mental health benefits.  In the process, the non-profit race management company fostered $513,122 in donations from participants to support local causes.  Additionally, HMF collected almost 2,000 pounds of non-perishable food donations to benefit community partners, including FoodShare, Amazing Grace Food Pantry in Middletown and the Gemma E. Moran United Way/Labor Food Bank.

As the Foundation releases its 2021 race calendar and opens registration for its signature annual event, the Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon, operations staff is assessing all aspects and scenarios to address event safety.  Currently, a short-term refund policy is in effect to provide customers assurance of their registration investment while the logistics and safety procedures for the October 2021 event are thoroughly detailed.  Attention continues to be paid to community support initiatives that can be tied to 2021 virtual events, challenges, hybrid races and in-person events.

"The generosity, strength and resilience of the local running community inspires us to continue pushing through the arduous tasks of event planning through the pandemic.  We're working hard to provide events and programs that encourage people to set and reach different types of goals as we all wait with anticipation for a return to the grand finish line experiences we have proudly delivered for the past 27 years," said Beth Shluger, founder and CEO of the Hartford Marathon Foundation. "We are so appreciative of the participants and the generous sponsor partners that enable us to maintain our dedicated, professional staff and keep our non-profit operations solvent so the community can count on us when we all get to the other side of this."

The single largest HMF charity fundraising initiative in 2020 was the Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon. The virtual "Movement with Purpose" brought the community together to raise $420,712 for local charities with the support of Eversource and event sponsors.  In addition, targeted community driven efforts included:

•    $33,200 raised through the June 2020 UConn Health Half Marathon, 10K and 5K to benefit the UConn Health COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund

•    $18,197 generated through the virtual Johnson Brunetti 5K & OneDigital UnitedHealthcare Kids Fun Run for Hartford's Camp Courant

•    $7,000 provided to FoodShare in partnership with Stop & Shop for the March 2020 Lucky Run and $5,768 provided to FoodShare through the 12Ks of Christmas challeng

•    $4,283 raised for the Westerly Hospital Foundation through the Surftown 100 Challenge in September 2020

•    $2,960 and food donations for the Gemma E. Moran United Way/Labor Food Bank through the Hartford HealthCare Mystic Half Marathon and 10K

Learn more about upcoming events at www.HartfordMarathon.com and follow the conversations on Facebook at HMF Events, Twitter at @RunHMF or Instagram at HMF_Events.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

2021 Schedule Update: planning ahead

We are very excited to share the 2021 schedule of events with you and open registration for the 2021 Eversource Hartford Marathon, Surftown Half Marathon & 5K presented by Westerly Hospital, Harvard Pilgrim Middletown 10 Mile & Legends Walk/Run and Hartford HealthCare Mystic Half Marathon & 10K.  Look for registration opening for the 2021 Lucky Challenge in mid-February!
 
While we can’t predict exactly what is to come this year, we’ve been working on these race plans with multiple scenarios, all guided in our commitment to public safety and a hope to get you back to start lines when reasonably possible.

This schedule remains in the works, expect to see updates over the coming months.  The events included are those that have plans in place, discussions with partners underway and community connections made, however, they are still subject to change.  Understandably, towns aren’t issuing permits to us for any type of event at this point, so we’re doing everything we can to get ready for when they are in the position to do so.  

If you don’t see an event you know and love on this calendar, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not going to happen.  We just don’t have enough to work with yet to put a date out there for you.  Conversely, we can’t commit that every HMF event you’ve participated in will continue in perpetuity.  We have to make adjustments that will preserve the fiscal viability of our non-profit operations – limited fields and increased safety expenses will have an impact on how we keep our professional staff employed and our office lights on in the future.  Please know that even through this, we’re fully committed to bringing back the high quality HMF race experience you’ve come to expect.

While we continue to provide challenges and virtual events to participate in now, our planning efforts are focused on longer distance races first. 
Registration is now open for a number of fall events, we are building out details on them as quickly as we can. We’re also working hard on the UConn Health Half Marathon, 10K & 5K (scheduled for June 5) to provide detailed hybrid race options – again, movement on these community approvals will still take time.

So – why register early?  We’re going to protect your investment so you can guarantee yourself a spot in the limited field.  

A temporary refund policy is in effect for the following events.  Register by February 28 and know that you can receive 100% of your registration dollars back (less processing fees).  You’ll have until June 15 to make that request for any reason, ensuring the race details are available for your consideration before the refund deadline.  Register between March 1 and May 31 for these events, you can request refund for any reason and will receive 75% back (less processing fees).
 
A timetable for the UConn Health Half Marathon, 10K and 5K events will be laid out once details are secured and registration opens.

Additionally, if you have deferral credits from 2020 cancelled events, be assured that you have time to use them.  All codes issued in 2020 are extended for use until December 31, 2021.  Please review details on how-to check status and/or use deferral codes in our updated POLICIES.

Thank you and for your continued support!  While we can’t answer all questions, we do want to keep looking forward with hope and give you reasons to set goals in 2021!  



Monday, December 21, 2020

Planning for the new year, full of possibilities!

In a normal December, we would be buttoning up permits and brainstorming new challenges and changes to events to keep you excited about running in the new year.  We'd be releasing the race calendar and updating as many details as possible to open registration.  In a normal year, we celebrate the holidays with a clear path of what the next year will look like.

But this is 2020. Far from normal, and we still want to make sure we give you lots to look forward to.  What we're working on and how we're approaching 2021 will continue to adjust. We want to give you the best possible picture of what we're thinking.

2021 schedule
You can expect to see a race schedule released in January with planned dates for signature HMF events like the UConn Health Half Marathon, 10K & 5K; the Harvard Pilgrim Middletown 10 Mile; and the Hartford HealthCare Mystic Half Marathon and 10K.  The Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon always takes place the second Saturday of October, and we're assessing various scenarios to deliver as best we can on our flagship fall event.  Registration won't open all at once for events, as it has in the past, and we will be providing an updated refund policy for early registrations to in-person events.  Look for those details to be released by event when registration opens.  

There will be some annual events or charity partner races that will not be on that calendar just yet.  It could be that the partners need more time to determine the best-case scenarios to support their goals; or we don't have enough confidence that we can get a permit for a certain date approved early; or the event just might not be feasible.  We're providing dates for events to pencil in to your calendar based on info we know, industry predictions and a good deal of hopeful forecasting.  The goal is to proceed with optimism while not creating more questions than we answer.  It will all still require patience and understanding (please!).

We are hopeful that in-person events will return in the summer and fall, but anticipate adjustments will need to be made to ensure as safe an experience as possible for all - that could mean post-race parties look different, race capacities reduced, course changes, etc. There are a variety of possibilities we're exploring to bring races back, all with your safety as the top priority.

Before we make it back full circle to traditional in-person events though, we are looking at springtime options for hybrid events.  We're developing plans based on locations and resources available to provide timed race experiences with adjustments like start wave windows or rolling starts and open weekend events with some on-site experiences for limited groups of participants.

For the immediate future, we're going to keep you motivated with new challenges through the winter.  The Jack Frost Challenge in January is just the beginning of a variety of programs intended to give you a little something extra for lacing up your running shoes each day.   We're trying as best we can to encourage the community to tap in to the mental health benefits of exercise, reduce a little stress and set some positive goals to accomplish.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your continued support!  We are committed to being here for you on the other side of this pandemic and we are depending on your participation in the meantime to keep the lights on at HMF and our staff employed in a limited capacity.

We wish you a safe and healthy holiday season, cheers to 2021!

 


Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Nominate or share your story for 2020 Inspiration Team!

The 2020 Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon events compel a community-wide Movement With Purpose.  Help us highlight people that make a positive difference through service to their community.

We're accepting nominations for the 2020 Inspiration Team, presented by Bank of America.  Please share your story or nominate someone else participating in the event who deserves to be recognized for their efforts to support local charity, advance social justice efforts or serve their community during these difficult times as a first responder, military or healthcare professional.


This year, stories of the team will be shared via our social, print and video communications and may also be told through local media stories.  In addition to getting recognized for their service, team members will receive a special piece of team apparel and their $25 registration fee donation to charity will be matched by Bank of America to support an Official Charity of their choice.  Please note, because 100% of the $25 registration fee is a charity donation, there are no complimentary entries in 2020.

Submissions will be accepted through August 10

Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon 2020 Inspiration Team, presented by




Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Join the Movement With Purpose this October




2020 Eversource Hartford Marathon & Half Marathon

to be Staged as Communitywide Fundraising Movement

Race events will take place virtually from October 8-11

 

The Hartford Marathon Foundation (HMF) will create a large-scale community movement this October to raise funds for local charities and bring thousands together virtually for a shared purpose.  The 2020 Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon will take place from October 8 through 11 as a virtual event and include a new 10K race distance, the 5K race and three new multi-distance race challenges to engage widespread participation.  Every dollar in registration fees will be donated through the new HMF GIVES initiative to benefit the event's official charities, which support urgent local needs.  

 

In consideration of financial hardships many are experiencing, registration will be $25 for all individual race events.  The fee - a steep discount from traditional race events - was set to encourage participants who are able to donate further and to support local business with purchases of goods and services around the event.

 

Through the financial support of sponsor partners led by Eversource, all race participants will still receive a finisher medal and long-sleeve technical shirt to commemorate their race.  While the event will be virtual - meaning all participants run their race at a location of their choice - participants will receive training support materials and event experiences digitally, including race bibs, finisher certificates and custom race day playlists.  Participants also have the option to submit verified results following their race and appear in race results online.

 

Competitive runners and those looking for some extra motivation can elect one of three multi-distance challenges in the Sam Adams Challenge Series: the Tenacious 2 (5K and 10K), the Driven by Purpose 3 (5K, 10K, half marathon) or the Grit & Gutsy 4 (5K, 10K, half marathon and full marathon).  Participants who opt to add a challenge ($10 fee) will receive a special custom finisher medal for the challenge.

 

“While it's not possible to stage the Eversource Hartford Marathon in the exact same way this fall, it remains crucial for this cherished race tradition to have purpose and benefit participants, charity causes and the local economy as it has for the last 26 years," said Beth Shluger, CEO of the Hartford Marathon Foundation and Race Director of the Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon. "We are committed to making this an amazing experience that is uniquely special for the unprecedented times we're in.  We will continue to give runners and walkers of all ages, experiences, backgrounds and abilities positive goals to aspire to, we'll support them along their journey and celebrate them for their achievements.  Every single person involved will know they made a positive difference by participating in the 2020 Eversource Hartford Marathon."

 

“As our communities continue to face unprecedented challenges during the pandemic, we’re grateful for the opportunity to partner with the Hartford Marathon Foundation for our seventh year of this signature event that raises hundreds of thousands of dollars to empower local non-profit organizations,” said Eversource Foundation President Theresa Hopkins-Staten. “Our employees are looking forward to coming together virtually to give back to the organizations that are there for our customers and communities, now more than ever, and to celebrate the achievements of all the athletes participating.”

 

HMF consulted state and local officials and event safety and medical experts at length and assessed multiple event scenarios to align with current COVID-19 public safety protocols and anticipated considerations for the fall.  The community fundraising movement and virtual races ensure the health of participants, volunteers, spectators and partners remains top priority and that public safety and medical resources will not be diverted for a live event should urgent COVID-19 response needs surge in October. 

 

Please visit www.HartfordMarathon.com, Facebook at HMF Events, Twitter at @RunHMF or Instagram at HMF_Events to learn more.

 

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.

 

About Eversource

Eversource (NYSE: ES), celebrated as a national leader for its corporate citizenship, is the #1 energy company in Newsweek’s list of America’s Most Responsible Companies for 2020 and recognized as one of America’s Most JUST Companies and the #1 utility by Forbes and JUST Capital. Eversource transmits and delivers electricity to 1.25 million customers in 149 cities and towns, provides natural gas to 237,000 customers in 74 communities, and supplies water to approximately 198,000 customers in 52 communities across Connecticut. Eversource harnesses the commitment of approximately 8,300 employees across three states to build a single, united company around the mission of safely delivering reliable energy and water with superior customer service. The #1 energy efficiency provider in the nation, the company is empowering a clean energy future in the Northeast, with nationally-recognized energy efficiency solutions and successful programs to integrate new clean energy resources like solar, offshore wind, electric vehicles and battery storage, into the electric system. For more information, please visit eversource.com, and follow us on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn. For more information on our water services, visit aquarionwater.com.

 

Contact:

Elizabeth Cowles

CJ Public Relations

860-770-4622

ecowles@cjpr.com

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Professor Celebrates Retirement with Fundraising Run


We are overwhelmed with gratitude!  Thanks to your generous donations, the UConn Health Half Marathon, 10K and 5K generated $33,115 to support our local healthcare heroes.  The donation to the UConn Health COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund supports continued efforts to provide medical equipment and needed supplies.

A portion of each of the 1,272 participant registrations was donated to the fund, and many individuals made additional donations or bypassed their shirt and medal swag to double their donation.  In addition, many participants rallied fundraising efforts from their friends and family.

The single largest fundraiser, who raised nearly $3,000, took the opportunity to mark his retirement from the University of Connecticut by participating in the UConn Health Half Marathon to support the cause.  Meet Professor Hedley Freake.

Meet Professor Hedley Freake
For 32 years, Professor Hedley Freake has been a valued member of the University of Connecticut Department of Nutritional Sciences. The scientist and Fulbright Scholar recently spoke by video at the commencement ceremony for the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources after a long career of student-focused teaching.  Professor Freake has also worked toward improving general education programs and served multiple terms on the University Senate.

I have enjoyed thinking about the big picture and how we make a better institution.  I thought about diversity, equity and inclusion and was spending time to advance programs in those areas. 

As his retirement approached and the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way that the end of his tenure could be celebrated, Professor Freake saw information on the UConn Health Half Marathon that piqued his interest.


People want to do things in conjunction with the pandemic and Black Lives Matter.  We're all thinking about the important issues and what kind of society we want to be living in and there are events (like the race) that can bring people together for the common good.

The marathoner waited 30 years between his first 26.2 at the London Marathon at the age of 30 (which he ran i
n an impressive 3 hours and 9 minutes) and his next at the Hartford Marathon.  Professor Freake met his wife, Elizabeth Huebner, in London. In 1983, they moved to her hometown of Minneapolis before settling in Connecticut five years later when Hedley joined the faculty of the University of Connecticut. 

As a child I wasn’t an athlete of any kind. I grew up in London, liked to play football and cricket, but wasn’t really an athlete at all.  As I was approaching my 30th birthday in 1981, there was an article in the Sunday Times of London about how to train for a marathon in 26 weeks, couch potato to marathon runner. 

Coming up on his 60th birthday, Professor Freake's family thought it was time for him to do another marathon, which he obliged on the agreement that his sons would run the race in Hartford too.  With a little help and coaching, he learned about smart ways to approach running a marathon at 60 years old.

The Hartford Marathon Foundation's signature event spurred a renewed interest in marathons and he also began running with his three sons, Duncan, Matthew and Jacob. His Hartford Marathon in 2011 qualified Professor Freake for the Boston Marathon, which he ran in 2013.  He finished shortly before the bombings that rocked the running world and the city of Boston. He decided to run it again in 2016 after qualifying when running the Philadelphia Marathon with his son, Matthew.

He's trained for other races and encountered some common injuries that have hindered marathon pla
ns. At age 69, he feels running a half marathon is straightforward and enjoyable.

Running is for pleasure, I never worried too much about racing.  When doing races of that distance the achievement is to go out there and get a process going, get into a rhythm and pace where your body feels good.

Professor Freake had never run the UConn Health Half Marathon but felt it was a good way to mark the end of this era and raise a little money for the pandemic response. 

We couldn’t agree more.  Thank you, Hedley, for your selfless efforts and congrats on a great race!