Thursday, May 30, 2013

How it all began

Ever wonder what makes an otherwise sane person decide to be a race director? 

Our new HMF blog is going to share a little bit about our journey in founding HMF.  We will bring you behind the finish line to see the planning and execution involved in keeping thousands of runners, walkers, bikers and swimmers safe and happy each year.  And, we hope to give you a glimpse at the incredibly inspiring, motivating and rewarding people we meet along the way – you, our HMF community.

The short version of my path to create HMF began in 1992 – I was a chef, sommelier and manager running the Hartford Restaurant Association.  The national “Bud Light Triathlon” series wanted to come to Hartford and needed a race director. I raised my hand, I was a runner and had the skills needed to manage the event: attention to detail, ability to juggle lots of balls simultaneously and good customer service.   I also love Hartford and saw the value of bringing 1500 athletes to downtown on an August weekend.  But, I had no clue what a triathlon was.

I visited the Bud Light Tri in Baltimore and was hooked – so much energy, so many healthy, fit people. I wanted to not only produce a triathlon, I wanted to BE a triathlete.

After two years in Hartford, the national tri series was discontinued but I wanted to continue the momentum.  I had experience, passion AND a valuable database of 1000 volunteers.  The tri event was great for Hartford and showed athletes the city was a good destination for a big endurance event, but triathlons were still pretty elite.

I decided to continue the momentum and stage a marathon…and then added a half marathon, a team relay, a 5K and a Kids race at the same time.  A Hartford Courant reporter once wrote, “More intelligent people would not attempt what Beth does.”  We made it though - on October 1, 1994, the Hartford Marathon was run for the first time.

There are many stories to share from those first few years, including the loyal group of 12 people that made it happen then and still work closely with HMF every year to make the ING Hartford Marathon what it is now, in it’s 20th running.  They are now joined by 75 more people on the “Collar Crew”.  Why are they called the “Collar Crew?”  Stay tuned.

I look forward to sharing more about us and about you, our incredible HMF community and to hearing from you too.