25th Anniversary of Hartford Marathon is Saturday, and Several West Hartford Roads Will Close for Race

Hartford Half Marathon Route. Courtesy of Hartford Marathon Foundation

The 25th Anniversary Eversource Hartford Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K will be held on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018.

Hartford Half Marathon road closure schedule for 2018. Courtesy of Hartford Marathon Foundation

By Ronni Newton

The Eversource Hartford Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K kick off in Hartford’s Bushnell Park at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning, and even if you are not joining the estimated 10,000 runners who will be pounding the pavement for as many as 26.2 miles, you may still be impacted by the race.

Residents need to be aware that several major roads in town will be closed temporarily on Saturday morning because approximately six of the half marathon race’s 13.1 miles wend through West Hartford, and there will be thousands of half marathon runners on the route. Click here for a complete PDF map of the half marathon course.

West Hartford road closures will begin at 7:30 a.m., and roads will open and close on a staggered basis as the race proceeds through town. Impacted streets include Park Road, Whiting Lane, South Quaker Lane, South Highland, Boulevard, North Quaker Lane, Fern Street, Trout Brook Drive (Northbound lanes), Albany Avenue between Steele Road and Trout Brook (Eastbound lanes), Steele Road, and the interior of Elizabeth Park. All roads in West Hartford should re-open to traffic by 10:30 a.m.

A complete map of West Hartford road closures impacted by the half marathon can be found in PDF form below.

Runners love the support of cheering spectators, and several ideal spots to watch the half marathon race can be found within West Hartford.

Large crowds often gather along South Quaker Lane and Fern Street. At the 8.5-mile mark of the race, in front of The Mercy Community’s St. Mary’s Home at 275 Steele Rd., there is plenty of space to stand as well as accessible parking on area side streets.

This year the half marathon’s official “cheer zone” is in Elizabeth Park (around mile 9). Closer to mile 10 – when the half marathon runners really start getting tired and need crowd support as they are exiting the park and heading up Asylum Avenue back into Hartford – is another great (and much appreciated) spot for spectators to watch and cheer.

Eversource has been the title sponsor of the Hartford Marathon Foundation’s (HMF) signature event since 2014, and just before the 25th running of the Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon, the energy company announced that it would continue its commitment as title sponsor through 2022.

According to the Hartford Marathon Foundation, since 1994 the event has raised more than $7.2 million for local charities. There is also a huge impact on the local economy, with an estimated $14.5 million in economic value for the 2017 event alone.

Founder, Hartford Marathon Foundation CEO, and Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon Race Director Beth Shluger said that when she came up with the idea of the marathon while sitting at her kitchen table in 1994, she felt it was something that the region needed, but had no idea it would become such a major event for the area.

“The Hartford Marathon has endured because of the incredible support we have in the community, from our first sponsors and all of those companies that have contributed along the way to the thousands of volunteers and the communities, friends, and family that have helped each year,” Shluger told We-Ha.com. “Nearly 200,000 participants have contributed their energy, inspirational stories, and hard work to the event. That’s what makes all of this so special.” 

Shluger said that one thing that has changed the most since the Marathon began is the scope of activities that allows for the inclusion of participants with varied abilities. Between the marathon, half marathon, Team 26.2 Relay, Charity 5K, and HMF FitKids race, there’s something for everyone, Shluger said. There’s even an option for walkers to participate in the 5K. 

“We want to give anyone who’s interested the opportunity to run, walk, volunteer, or participate in the day by sponsoring or spectating. It has become a cherished community event that draws tens of thousands of people to the region each year,” said Shluger.

The half marathon has now become a major event for West Hartford as well. “Almost 10 years ago we changed the half marathon course to run through West Hartford, which has been a great update to accommodate growth in that race distance and show off the beautiful neighborhoods of your town,” Shluger said. 

In the past 25 years, technology has also transformed the race. Shluger said that in the beginning, timing was done manually and it could take as long as 45 days for participants to get their results – by mail.

HMF Runners Honor Roll mobile tribute in the 20th Annual Park Road Parade. West Hartford, CT. Oct. 6, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

In honor of the 25th anniversary year, the HMF has created the “Runners Honor Roll mobile tribute to celebrate the 194,370 finishers who have participated in the event since 1994,” Shluger said.

The van, which has a wrap that contains the names and finish times of participants from each year, has traveled to community events throughout the state, and made an appearance in last week’s Park Road Parade.

Shluger said that “spectator party kits” have been amped up in celebration of the 25th running, and include cowbells, noisemakers, and cheer cards.

The HMF has also added a new community partner program, to help small businesses be represented on race day. We’re proud that participants have raised $7.2 million for charities through the event and we want to see that impact keep growing each year,” Shluger said.

To hear more from Shluger about the 25th anniversary of the Hartford Marathon, click here to listen to an interview with her on the Connecticut ScoreBoard podcast on We-Ha.com.

On Saturday, Oct. 13, if you’re one of the estimated 65,000 people heading into Hartford to participate in race day activities or headed through the area for other reasons, be aware that the full marathon route will impact traffic in Hartford, East Hartford, and South Windsor. Be sure to check the Hartford Marathon website for additional information about road closures, parking, and CT Transit updates.

For full details about all of the events taking place on Saturday, visit the event website.

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