Tuesday, December 24, 2013

2013 Season Recap: Inspiring Moments & People

There are so many moments through the season that deserve a pause, a little extra time to take it all in. We typically find ourselves running in so many directions on race days, those moments can be hard to come by. But 2013 provided us with a lot to pause for.

Start line of the 20th Running of the
ING Hartford Marathon
One moment that meant a lot to me personally was the start of the 20th Running of the Hartford Marathon. The line of excited runners stretched as far as the eye could see, from the State Capitol well beyond Bushnell Memorial Hall – an amazing sight. The gun went off and for the next 10 minutes a sea of humanity passed by, each person with hopes and anticipation about the journey they were starting. Nineteen years of hard work swelled in the form of the crowd before me. In that moment, I felt so proud of the staff and volunteers, without whom I would never have made it to that point.

Another extremely poignant moment in our year was the ringing of the ship’s bell at the start of the Sandy Hook Run for the Families. When we planned the start ceremony, I was searching to set the right tone – one of remembrance, respect and hope. Governor Malloy, Newtown’s First Selectman Pat Llodra and Reverend Matt Crebbin of Newtown Congregational Church were confirmed to speak. The music appropriately reflected the mood – Irish tenor, Lt. Kevin McCarthy of West Hartford PD would sing the National Anthem and 250 sweet young voices of the OAKE National Children’s Choir and the Travelers Choral would sing America the Beautiful. Yet, I felt we needed something else.

Ken and I at the
Sandy Hook Run for the Families
My husband, Ken, suggested that we ring our ship’s bell and we decided it should be rung 26 times – once every 5 seconds. Ken went to our sailing club and unscrewed the 35 lb. brass bell from the wall, wrapped it in a blanket and brought it home. We practiced for a week, Ken ringing it upon my queue every 5 seconds. It had to be perfect. Race morning, we began ringing the bell. The sound was perfect: solemn, poignant, a beautiful tone. By the second ring, there was complete silence in the crowd before us of 20,000 people. Complete silence. Every 5 seconds, we struck the bell, each time envisioning an angelic 6-year old or the caring face of an educator. It took a very long time to ring that bell 26 times. It struck me deep in my soul and I believe the same was felt by everyone else at the start that day.

Steve Anastasio
In addition to my personal experiences and memories, I hear countless stories about how HMF races impact other’s lives and it truly is a humbling experience each time. In 2012, I met Steve Anastasio, a wheelchair athlete who was on our Elite Inspiration Team last year. We kept in touch as he trained this year, and I was honored to watch him cross the finish line to complete his first half marathon. It was such a wonderful moment for him, and we were lucky to be part of it.

We see love in the air at our finish lines every so often too. This past year we had one proposal at the finish line of the Surftown Half Marathon & 5K, and one of our blog’s followers commented the other day that she got engaged at the finish line of the Niantic Bay Triathlon! Another couple who live along the Hartford Marathon course took it a step further and revamped unused cowbells into their wedding favors.

Each year, we get to meet so many inspiring people and experience these incredible moments. May you each have many great moments to look forward to in 2014, happy holidays!

Friday, December 20, 2013

2013 Season Recap: Locations

Scouting race locations is an exciting behind-the-scenes job.  Each location presents its own unique benefits and challenges.  Besides the road conditions, turns, hills and scenery of the course itself, traffic flow, parking availability, safe crowd management and emergency services access are important race planning details.

Sandy Hook Run for the Families
An unprecedented location challenge in 2013, and arguably one of the most defining events of the year, was the Sandy Hook Run for the Families and its overwhelming capacity demand.  Registration for the race was skyrocketing and we quickly outgrew our first Danbury venue at Western CT University, then our second downtown Danbury venue.  Beyond course capacity itself, the limitations on every other aspect of race management required we move the race to downtown Hartford, where course and necessary runner services had proven to accommodate this demand.  Behind the scenes, we had vetted 3 different locations – meaning 3 different course designs, 3 different permitting processes and 3 different race plans – all in 60 days.  The incredibly hard work of so many people proved well worth all the location changes – the Sandy Hook Run for the Families was the largest inaugural 5K event in the world!

A Race to End Violence

Like everyone in the running community and across the US, we were thoroughly shaken by the tragic events at the Boston Marathon in April.  Beyond our personal sadness and the emotional effects of Boston, professionally we knew that day would forever change race planning and location assessment.

As a starting place, we wanted to offer a community run location for runners from Boston to come together.  We invited them to the following week’s Enough! A Race to End Violence as a small show of support. Many of them came to run with us through the streets of New Britain surrounding Central CT State University. It was a powerful and emotional day full of tears and resilience.  In the following weeks and months, we reviewed every detail in our security plans and assessed locations with a different perspective than ever before.  Many of you saw this along the course and at start and finish locations at our events this year.

Surftown Half Marathon & 5K
Outside of course safety and security, the innate limitations of great locations can create some logistic nightmares.  The increased participation and draw to the Surftown Half Marathon & 5K this past September culminated in some less-than-ideal traffic issues.  One of Surftown’s biggest draws is its gorgeous location – the course runs along Misquamicut State Beach and through the quaint streets in Westerly, RI. However, there are only two ways in and out of the area which created a long backup as our runners began arriving to the race site. We’ve already made new plans to handle this aspect of the race for 2014.  We love all the feedback we get from you and use it in all our planning to make races the best experience we can for our runners.

Any location/course feedback is welcome in the comments below!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

2013 Season Recap: The Elements

As New Englanders, we know that Mother Nature can easily change best-laid plans. As the snow keeps coming here in CT, we reflect back on the extremes in 2013.

Look - no snow!
Courthouse O'Putnam 5K & Wee Mile

Weather challenges began with our very first race: the Courthouse O’Putnam 5K & Wee Mile.  Days before the race, 24 inches of snow was dumped on Putnam so we needed to ensure the entire course was plowed, making it as ice-free as possible and safe for running was a major endeavor.  Kudos go out to the Putnam Public Works Department for working with us and getting our course cleared in time for race day!

Volunteer handing out water
Amica Ironhorse Half Marathon, 10K & 5K
On the other end of the spectrum, the Amica Ironhorse Half Marathon, 10K & 5K in June was one of our hottest races to date. The #1 priority driving extreme weather decision-making is runner safety, and behind the scenes it’s all about planning. The forecast showed temperatures around 80 degrees with humidity around 65-70%. We set up extra water stations along the course, urged runners to take it easy and listen to their bodies, and told volunteers to keep their eyes open for runners who might be struggling. We put plans in place for extreme heat with a color-coded system for runners. The race began at 7:30 a.m. and a little after 10:00 a.m., we called RED alert, which strongly suggested that those still on the course finish the race walking. It was a nerve-wracking day, but the safety precautions combined with runner awareness and great work by EMTs and Simsbury Fire helped keep everyone safe.

Our second X-Treme Scramble in July was another hot one. We do everything possible not to cancel races on our participants but we need to keep them safe.  We shortened the course, added some great services like dunk pools, ice bags  and cool water misters, and invited all registered runners to the post-race party even if they didn’t want to run in the heat.

Niantic Bay Triathlon

It’s not always day-of weather than can affect races.  We were forced to re-route the Niantic Bay Triathlon to avoid areas along the Connecticut shore that were damaged by Hurricane Sandy.   No course change or race decision is ever made lightly – we want runners to know we have always have their back, even when making the right call isn’t always the most popular.

We can’t know what weather patterns lay ahead in 2014 for our races, but we will spend the short off-season planning for all possibilities.  Have any ideas or feedback on HMF events, please share them in comments!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Manchester Road Race

The thing in my life that I am most proud of (after my children, of course) is my Manchester Road Race streak.  This year, I ran my 40th consecutive Manchester.  Yep, I am old.  My first race was the year I graduated from Manchester High School – 1973.  I ran after a loooong night of reconnecting with high school friends at the Hartford Road Café.  I was not a runner and in fact, had not ever been to the race even though it was in my hometown.  I was too interested in the high school football game played at the same time as the race.  So, in a no-sleep, foggy haze, I lined up at the start on Main Street on Thanksgiving Day 1973.  Females were not allowed to register for the race so I was running without a bib.  In fact, I didn’t actually get a bib until 1976.

By the mid 80’s I realized I had a tradition going.  In 1985, I was invited to view the Macy’s Day Parade as a guest of the parade organizers and I turned them down because it meant missing the Manchester Road Race.  About 10 years ago, I was asked to do the television color analysis with Fox, which was broadcasting the race for the first time.  I said “no, I have to run.”  Jim Balcomb, the Manchester race director agreed to keep the finish clock going and put my time into the results so I did the TV analysis and then ran the course by myself.  I did this for a couple of years and people living on the course stayed out to cheer for me.

In 1995, my brother, Peter, was living in California.  He loved the Manchester Road Race as much as I so I carried my cell phone and described every step along the way to him.

My family have been spectators in the same spot along the course for as many years as I can remember.  Snow, rain, freezing temperatures – they are out there to cheer us on.  It is the same along the rest of the course.  The same people standing in the same location year after year after year.  In one spot, I have watched a high school friend of mine for 40 years.  I saw Abby there during her college years, then standing with a man, then holding her babies and then standing alongside her growing children.  Her hair is now gray but she is still at the same spot on Thanksgiving morning in Manchester.

I now run with my own children, who I hope will continue my streak after I cannot.

There is no better place or time on earth as Thanksgiving morning in Manchester, CT.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Giving Thanks

Loving what we do here at HMF makes for a big list of things to be thankful for.  I am fortunate to be surrounded by so many incredible people and inspiring experiences.

To name a few…

I am thankful for…the Capital Prep Magnet School Boys Cross Country Team, named Class S State Champions!
Capital Prep boys XC team - Class S State Champions!
I have known these kids since they were in 8th grade.  They are now seniors and they are remarkable young men - talented, smart, articulate and promising.  Not to mention really great runners! They provide me an appreciation and reminder of the best of what the sport of running gives back to us all.  Credit goes to their coach, “W”, who wears his love and faith for each of them on his sleeve.

I am thankful for…the HMF staff, what an extraordinary group!  Josh Miller, Matt Anderson, Danielle Alt, Kim Neurath, Jill Hallet, Genevieve Lattimer, Diane DiBerardino, Tom Hutchinson, Ellen Smith, Lisa Butler, Sarah Roberson, and Shari Maglio.  (With special thanks to Ken Shluger.)

I am thankful for…great volunteers and an amazing Marathon Collar Crew! We could not do what we do at events and behind the scenes without the efforts of each and every one of them.

I am thankful for…the Manchester Road Race!  Being able to continue my streak of 40 consecutive Manchesters mean so much.  I hope to see many of you out there!

Wishing you all a very happy Thanksgiving, full of reflection and appreciation for the people and experiences you are thankful for.

Monday, November 25, 2013

2013 Holiday Events

We love holiday runs. They seem to take on a life of their own and are really about family, kids and festivities rather than about the race. Cold noses, colorful hats and lots of jingle bells – what’s better than that?

We have two holiday runs this year -  a brand new 5K that will lead into the annual Norwich Winterfest parade and the Blue Back Mitten Run, a holiday favorite.. Break out your reindeer antlers and snowflake sweaters and join us!

Our newest run is the Norwich WinterFest 5K, sponsored by Reliance House, Inc. on Saturday, November 30 at Norwich Free Academy.  Perfectly timed to run off your Thanksgiving feast! We’ll have face painting and other fun activities for kids. After the race, stick around for the annual Norwich Winterfest parade! Showers will be available for runners attending the parade.  Click here to register.

Race proceeds will benefit Reliance House Inc., which supports people with mental health disorders by providing life skills, including cooking, cleaning, personal hygiene, transportation and budgeting guidance.

Volunteers still needed! Click here for more info.

 On December 8th, you can join the party at The Blue Back Mitten Run and Kids Fun Run, sponsored by UnitedHealthcare, in West Hartford. The Mitten Run has magically become the unofficial start to our holiday season, perhaps because it gives us a great reason to celebrate the season.  Race proceeds and donations will go to The Town That Cares Fund, a program of the West Hartford Human Services Department. Please bring new mittens, scarves or hats to donate to people in need, and consider “stuffing the mittens” with a small cash donation (checks also welcome and made payable to The Town That Cares Fund).

Where ever you run this season, we wish you happy trails!
Blue Back Mitten Run

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thank You to our Veterans

Yesterday we hosted our annual Freedom Run 5K in Hartford to celebrate, thank and remember the brave men and women who serve our country. Race proceeds benefited Give 2 The Troops, Inc., an organization that sends care packages to troops overseas. From all of us at HMF, we want to thank our veterans for defending our freedom.

Lt. Kevin McCarthy sang the National Anthem

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Safety & Security at the ING Hartford Marathon

With every gathering of thousands, every time we bring people together in celebration of their goals achieved, we plan. We plan race course signage, potty stops, water stations, post-race refueling. We plan finish line set-up, participant parking, awards and entertainment. Of all the things we plan, one of the most important is likely never noticed – we plan in case of emergencies.

The safety of runners, volunteers and spectators is of utmost priority as we plan all Hartford Marathon Foundation events.  Our post-Boston Marathon reality has heightened awareness that even our beloved race moments can be vulnerable.

We have strong, long-standing relationship with Hartford Police Department as well as with the City of Hartford, supporting communities of East Hartford, West Hartford and South Windsor, Hartford Fire Department, emergency services and medical response teams from Hartford Hospital. All of this collaborative effort is integral to the successful implementation of safety measures.

We have great admiration and appreciation for our incredible partners for all they do to keep us safe – on race day, and every day!

Please meet Lieutenant Brian Foley of the Hartford Police Department.  A longtime runner and HMF supporter who is part of the security team for the ING Hartford Marathon.

What is being done to address runner safety?
Although we are unable to detail all of the specific security measures for obvious reasons, we want to assure runners, spectators and the community that extensive plans are in place to create the safest possible event.

What should participants be aware of?
We are asking spectators and participants to heed instructions to be aware of their surroundings, just as we hope they do everywhere in large group settings.  Please remember the “see something, say something” mantra.   There will be ample police support on site, direct an officer to anything that raises question.

What else can runners do?
We’re encouraging runners to use the free bag check service available and asking that everyone be mindful about leaving personal items at home or in their vehicles to avoid extra bags and belongings.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

2013 Aiello Elite Inspiration Team

How do inspirational people influence you, do they push you to do better, to be better?

I wish I could relay just how many truly inspiring people and acts we have encountered through the years.  Real people doing really great things for others, for causes or even for themselves without knowing how much an impact their acts would make.  This is why the Aiello Elite Inspiration Team was created!

Please meet the 9-member Aiello Elite Inspiration Team participating in the ING Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon.  We want to draw attention to great runners, not only the fastest runners, but those who motivate us all to do better and be better.  If you see them, or the many other incredibly inspiring people gathered on race day, give ‘em a high five or tell ‘em how awesome they are!

Carol Chaoui, Wellesley, MA 

Carol Chaoui
Carol Chaoui has been undergoing treatments for Stage 3 breast cancer since July 2009 and now suffers from an autoimmune response to cancer, which makes running difficult. Despite these tremendous setbacks, she has persevered and continues to run, raise money for charity and be an active member of her community. She helps organize community running, events including a Thanksgiving 5k/5miler that had 1,600 participants in its inaugural year. A Boston non-profit, RACE (Run Against Cancer Events) has recently named Carol the community liaison for the annual Turkey5 road race and she has also been elected to the Board of Directors of the Wellesley Cancer Prevention Project and will be in charge of community development. Carol serves as a true example of perseverance, positivity and philanthropic spirit.

Jeff DelGaudio, North Branford, CT

Jeff DelGaudio
Jeff DelGaudio is fortunate to have his health, and last year he made the selfless decision to assist someone else to regain theirs. Jeff heard that his daughter’s friend’s father, Joseph, was suffering from liver disease and needed a liver transplant. Jeff decided to test to see if he and Joseph were a match, and when the test came back positive, he made the decision to donate a portion of his liver to save Joseph’s life. Just eleven weeks after Jeff’s surgery, he ran the 2012 ING Hartford Marathon 5K on behalf of Donate Life Connecticut. He returns this year to run the full marathon.

Kelly Gallagher, Plantsville, CT

Kelly Gallagher
Kelly Gallagher is a multiple-time Ironman and motivated endurance athlete. In her passion for competition and achieving her idea of the “perfect racing weight,” she developed an eating disorder, body dimorphic disorder and crashed her metabolism. While these issues could cause many athletes to walk away from a sport they love, Kelly overcame her obstacles and emerged a true leader.  In the past seven years, as an athlete and race director, she has raised over $50,000 for charity and she currently coaches 14 athletes in various endurance disciplines.

Raechel McGhee, Somerset, MA 

Raechel McGhee
At 42 years old, Raechel McGhee weighed 330 pounds. A single mom with two children, Raechel decided to change her life and get healthy. She got gastric bypass surgery and lost about half of her body weight. Now 53 years old, Raechel runs daily and competes in community races with her son and daughter. She and her children are active members of My Team Triumph Massachusetts, a program in which racers push men and women with disabilities in jogging chairs so that they have the opportunity to hear the crowd’s cheer as they cross the finish line. Raechel’s determination, positivity and resilience make her a source of inspiration to her family, friends and community.

Chris Love, Glastonbury, CT 
Half Marathon

Chris Love (left)
Chris Love works selflessly on behalf of the Achilles International Connecticut Chapter to assist athletes with disabilities participate in mainstream events by serving as a guide and a volunteer. Chris has been instrumental in collaborating with the Hartford Marathon Foundation to expand guidelines for athletes with disabilities, resulting in more athletes with disabilities and visual impairments at the starting line of events. Chris and his daughter Bridget have raised funds to support athletes with disabilities looking to participate in races around Connecticut. Together they raised $2,700 on their journey to completing the Ironman Lake Placid Triathlon on July 28, 2013.

Megan Ross, Vernon, CT  
Half Marathon

Megan Ross
Megan Ross’s weight loss and fitness journey began three years ago when she was 80 pounds overweight. She began running to supplement her weight loss efforts.  Then last May, she received devastating news: her 3-year-old daughter, Meredith (Merry), was diagnosed with T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. While Merry was in treatment, Megan and her peers formed a Team in Training (TNT) to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). They managed to raise over $7,000 for leukemia and lymphoma research, while training for the 2012 ING Hartford Half Marathon.  Megan continued training, even while staying with her daughter during her bone marrow transplant in Boston, and was able to complete her first half marathon. While Merry's treatment and recovery then took priority over Megan's own fitness journey, she was able to return to running this spring.  This year Megan returns to the ING Hartford Half Marathon to raise funds for Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, with a lighter heart, as Merry is cancer free.

Jim Roy, Groton, CT
Half Marathon

Jim Roy
When Jim Roy’s running coach, friend and role model John J. Kelley passed away two years ago, Jim started a non-profit organization in Mr. Kelley’s name.  Jim’s been working tirelessly since then to secure funding for a life-sized bronze statue to memorialize the two-time Olympian, eight-time national marathon champion and Boston Marathon winner in Mystic, CT. Jim has reached just over one-third of his fund raising goal by embodying traits Mr. Kelley passed onto him, such as his belief in working hard for a worthwhile cause, encouraging participation and sharing his endless enthusiasm while maintaining a humble attitude. For additional information or to donate see www.JohnKelley.org.

Susan Werner, N Massapequa, NY
Half Marathon

Susan Werner
Susan Werner is on a quest to run 4 half marathons in 4 weeks this October – an inspiring feat for anyone, let alone someone who began running just one year ago. After taking care of her mother during her mother’s double mastectomy and her father during his operation just two weeks later, Susan began running and lost 54 pounds. She ran her first half marathon for her 30th birthday and fell in love with racing. This year, Susan will complete her 4 half marathons in a 4 week journey while donning a pink tutu and large pink ribbon with the names of breast cancer victims and survivors, and will work toward her $10,000 fundraising goal for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Beautiful Scenery in Connecticut

Being in Glastonbury, we are fortunate at HMF to have a gorgeous array of terrain and scenery at our front door and within an hour or so in many directions.  From the breathtaking, sun-sparkling water views across Long Island Sound or the fresh, unrefined trails canopied with lush green trees to the concrete jungle of metropolitan Hartford spilling out by the river, we've got a lot to work with. When we plan events, we try to take advantage of the gorgeous landscapes Connecticut has to offer. Here's a sampling of some of the beautiful Connecticut scenery from HMF events. All photos courtesy of Steve McLaughlin Photography.

Bluff Point State Park, Groton, CT - Bluff Point Trail Run
McCook Beach Park, Niantic, CT - Niantic Bay Triathlon
Bushnell Park, Hartford, CT - Sandy Hook Run for the Families
Elizabeth Park, West Hartford, CT - Red Dress Run for Women Presented by United Healthcare

Hartford, CT, X-Treme Scramble #3
Litchfield, CT - Litchfield Hills Olympic Triathlon & Duathlon
McCook Beach Park, Niantic, CT - Niantic Bay Triathlon
Wethersfield, CT - Old Wethersfield 5K & 10K
Westerly, RI - Surftown Half Marathon & 5K
Farmington, CT - Women's Triathlon

Friday, September 13, 2013

Medical Seminar for Runners

Medical response and emergency preparedness plans are vital aspects of every race we put on. We’re fortunate to have a long-standing relationship with Hartford Hospital for our ING Hartford Marathon medical team support. In addition to race day support, we’re working together this year to help our athletes better understand the impact of endurance running on their bodies BEFORE a medical need.

We are proud to announce our first ever Medical Seminar for Runners. Together with Hartford Hospital and the University of Hartford, we welcome runners to learn from and ask questions of a panel of well-informed speakers - Beth Parker, PhD, Doug Casa, PhD, Rich Wood, PhD, and Paul Thompson, MD. The afternoon symposium will provide insight into the human body and how it responds and reacts to running.

Medical Seminar for Runners
Friday, October 11, 2013

Schedule of events:
3:30-4: What Happens When We Run Long? Updates and Insights from Marathon Studies
Beth Parker, PhD, Director of Exercise Physiology Research, Hartford Hospital, and Director of the Center for Health, Care and Well-being, University of Hartford

4-4:30: Heat Stroke Considerations for Marathons and Medical Tents
Doug Casa, PhD, Professor, Department of Kinesiology, University of Connecticut, and Chief Operating Officer, Korey Stringer Institute

4:30-5: Feeding the Performing Muscle
Rich Wood, PhD, Director of Applied Exercise Science, Springfield College

5-5:30: For the Love of Running: Exercise and the Heart
Paul Thompson, MD, Director of Cardiology, Hartford Hospital

Cost: $10.00 (includes all four seminars) Click here to register today! 

This event is sponsored by the Center for Healthy, Care and Well-being in the Institute for Translational Research in the College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions at the University of Hartford, Department of Preventative Cardiology, Hartford Hospital, and Hartford Marathon Foundation.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

HMF Staff Spotlight: Josh Miller

All those kudos thrown my way for how well organized our races are? They all belong in Josh Miller’s lap. Josh is obsessed with detail and that is a good thing in our business. Between his passion for the sport and his attention to detail in his job, Josh is a dream come true at HMF. Oh yeah, he is also a really funny guy who never gets rattled.

Josh has been with the Foundation for over 7 years and has become an integral part of the HMF family. Josh’s current position is Technical Director- what does that mean exactly? Let’s just say he does A LOT! His main priorities are designing and implementing race plans to ensure the running and multi-sport events run as smooth as possible.

Role on race day – Overseeing venue and course set up, and race plan implementation.

More about Josh:

Are you a runner:
Retired middle distance track athlete, now I just try and get lost in the woods.

Favorite HMF race you've worked and why:
ING Hartford Marathon 2012; the stars were aligned, it was beautiful event.

Matt Anderson, Amby Burfoot and Josh Miller
All-time best race experiences:
Legends Run 2013 – Hanging out with Bill Rodgers and Amby Burfoot was a childhood dream come true.

Night before or race day prep ritual:
I always shower the morning before I race.

Most challenging race day moments:
Medical incidents – even with our well-developed medical plans, it is a scary sight to see one of your athletes in medical need.

Most inspiring race day moments:
Seeing people complete their dreams. The energy at the finish line of a race is contagious.

Oddest thing on your race day check list:
Do the Portalets have enough TP?

What most people don’t know about to make an event successful:
How much planning and thinking goes into every little detail… Should the race start at 8 AM, should the Portalets go here, vendors there etc.

If money were no object, what would be your ideal vacation:
A long back packing trip to Patagonia.

Running, mountain biking, hiking

Favorite post-workout snack:
A good IPA

All time favorite food indulgence:
Chips & Salsa

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Run for a Cause

Charity giving has been a part of the marathon since 1994 when we first created the Hartford Marathon Foundation. As runners, many of us are blessed with health and vitality and I feel we are responsible to pay that gift forward. With thousands of dedicated runners in the HMF community, we have a unique opportunity to bring people together to do good in very significant ways.

Camp Rising Sun at the 2010 ING Hartford Marathon
Our Official Charity program began as a way for us to motivate our runners to pay it forward. If a participant doesn’t have a particular cause close to his/her heart, we make it easy to find a worthy recipient. We screen and select Official Charities, usually with a local connection, that benefit a variety of causes, such as supporting people with physical disabilities, children’s health or advocacy groups and local veteran programs.

We support and promote the Official Charities and provide resources for fundraising through our page on Crowdrise; in exchange, each charity secures 30 volunteers to help during marathon weekend. These valuable volunteers are critical to help us produce and organize such a large-scale event. It’s a true win-win situation; the ING Hartford Marathon serves as a fundraising event for charities and charities support the event with their dedicated volunteers.

Our charity partners reflect a variety of interests and purposes in our community to help speak to the varying causes and passions that drive our runners. For example, Team in Training Connecticut  has been a partner for almost 15 years and has raised more than $500,000 since 2007 to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Many of our Official Charities provide running coaches and group training runs to team members, as well as t-shirts, a pre-race dinner and other perks. Team MAD (Making a Difference) has joined us for the past 7 years, each year choosing a different local cause for their running group to fundraise for and support. See below for a full list of Official Charities for 2013.

Lily's Kids Inc. at the 2011 ING Hartford Marathon
We are truly thankful to our participants who use their running goals to also raise funds for charity. As a ‘thank you’ we reward them with access to a special Charity Village tent in Bushnell Park where fund-raisers are allowed to gather, relax and enjoy refreshments before the race. We also give them access to private portalets -- nothing excites a runner like portalets without lines before a race!

As a non-profit organization ourselves, HMF does not have the funds to donate entry fees to charity; every penny of registration costs goes directly to producing the event. The Official Charities program allows us to foster donations to many incredible causes. We applaud our dedicated runners who spend weeks and months fundraising for charities and are proud to have them participate in the ING Hartford Marathon as a vehicle to support their cause.
Official Charities of the 2013 ING Hartford Marathon

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Niantic Bay Triathlon Photo Recap

Photos from the Niantic Bay Triathlon 2013

Participants waiting to begin their swim.
The men take off to begin their 1/2 mile swim in Niantic Bay!
Triathletes making their transition from swimming to the 12-mile bike course through Niantic and East Lyme.

A participant finishes the bike course to transition to the 3.2-mile run.

Amy D'Anna crosses the finish line with a time of 1:10:40!

Brendan Mims slows down after crossing the finish line in third place at 59:34.

A volunteer hands out post-race snacks including watermelon, banana, oranges, yogurt, granola, Pretzel Crisps and Farm to Heart organic oven baked bread with spreads!

Watch the video below for more images from the 2013 Niantic Bay Triathlon courtesy of Steve McLaughlin Photography. We hope to see you all next year!