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

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