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!