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Mitten Run Brings ‘Frozen’ Runners and Characters to West Hartford Streets

Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

More than 2,200 registered for the Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, a fundraiser for West Hartford’s Town That Cares Fund, that took place Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014.

One runner clicked his heels for joy as he high-fived Santa at the finish line. Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

One runner clicked his heels for joy as he high-fived Santa at the finish line. Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

By Ronni Newton

“Frozen” was the theme of the day for more than 2,000 runners and thousands of spectators who braved strong winds and below-freezing temperatures for the 2014 Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, which kicked off Sunday with a serenade by none-other than Elsa, the crown princess of Arendelle and star of Disney blockbuster “Frozen.”

The race, the final event in the Hartford Marathon Foundation’s 2014 season, was also a fundraiser for West Hartford’s Town That Cares Fund. Many participants donated new mittens, as well as hats and scarves, to the social services organization that supports needy West Hartford residents.

“We’re so grateful. It make a big difference, and you’re really reminded on days like this,” said West Hartford Community Partnerships Manager Suzanne Oslander as she collected the donations from bins at the registration tent.

Brendon Coen of the West Hartford Hartford Fire Department had the privilege of escorting “Elsa” up the ladder of Quint no. 3. Elsa sang the “Frozen” hit “Let it Go” for the runners prior to the start, while her sister Anna as well as Olaf and Kristoff got the crowd going.

Hartford Marathon Foundation Director Beth Shluger said she got the idea to include “Frozen” as part of the race theme on a recent trip when she realized how crazy the kids were about the movie and its characters. “People have been calling all week to find out if they can come to the race just to meet Elsa,” Shluger said.

All of the volunteers wore “Frozen” sweatshirts and “Olaf” hats, and Shluger said that a woman in Indiana made “Olaf” carrot noses for the 200 kids who participated in the Mitten Run’s 1-mile “FitKids” event.

Costumes were popular among the runners as well, especially Santa hats and reindeer antlers. Some were decked out in full Santa attire, and others chose “Christmas morning” pajama outfits which kept them toasty as they battled 20-plus m.p.h. winds on the 5K course.

West Hartford resident Bobby Giuluiani, 23, was the first-place finisher in a time of 16:07. Giuliani, dressed in a Fleet Feet team uniform rather than a holiday costume, holds the course record of 15:50 set in 2013, and said the wind was a factor in Sunday’s race.

Megan Jaswell, 27, of New Britain, was the first female finisher with a time of 19:07. Terry Deveney, who crossed the finish line in 19:58, was the top West Hartford female runner.

State Sen. Beth Bye was running her first road race since 1979. “I am so proud of myself,” Bye said after crossing the finish line.

Bye said she had lost some weight last spring but wanted to do more, so she joined Fleet Feet’s “No Boundaries” group. “What a great social enterprise,” she said of the experience. Bye’s time goal was 33 minutes, and results showed a chip time of 32:10.

See the gallery below of scenes from the event.

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Conard High School runners (from left) Matt Thomasa, Isaac Oda-Bayliss, and Alec Ferguson-Hull were dressed in style for the race. Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Conard High School runners (from left) Matt Thomasa, Isaac Oda-Bayliss, and Alec Ferguson-Hull were dressed in style for the race. Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Participants donated mittens, gloves, hats, and scarves to The Town That Cares Fund. Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Participants donated mittens, gloves, hats, and scarves to The Town That Cares Fund. Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Participants donated mittens, gloves, hats, and scarves to The Town That Cares Fund. Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Participants donated mittens, gloves, hats, and scarves to The Town That Cares Fund. Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

About 75 members of the Girls in Stride program ran in the Mitten Run, according to program leader Glenn Marcella. Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

About 75 members of the Girls in Stride program ran in the Mitten Run, according to program leader Glenn Marcella. Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Elsa gets strapped in before climbing the ladder of Quint no. 3 to sing to the race participants. Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Elsa gets strapped in before climbing the ladder of Quint no. 3 to sing to the race participants. Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Elsa on Quint no. 3. Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Elsa on Quint no. 3. Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Elsa sings "Let It Go" from high atop the ladder of Quint no. 3 before the start of the Mitten Run. With her is firefighter Brendon Coen. Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Elsa sings “Let It Go” from high atop the ladder of Quint no. 3 before the start of the Mitten Run. With her is firefighter Brendon Coen. Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Olaf at the starting line. He got out of the way just before the start. Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Olaf at the starting line. He got out of the way just before the start. Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Gingerbread Man. Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Gingerbread Man. Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Santa waits to high-five finishers. Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Santa waits to high-five finishers. Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Bobby Giuliani of West Hartford was the first-place finisher in a time of 16:07. Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Bobby Giuliani of West Hartford was the first-place finisher in a time of 16:07. Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Mick Hains, 16, of West Hartford, is a junior at Kingswood Oxford. He finished 17th overall and third in the 15-19 age group. Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Mick Hains, 16, of West Hartford, is a junior at Kingswood Oxford. He finished 17th overall and third in the 15-19 age group. Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Paul Connery (center) ran with his daughters Micaela (left, the founder and former executive director of Unified Theater) and Keenan (right), decked out in Christmas pjs. Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Paul Connery (center) ran with his daughters Micaela (left, the founder and former executive director of Unified Theater) and Keenan (right), decked out in Christmas pjs. Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

State Sen. Beth Bye was so excited about running her first race in more than 30 years. Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

State Sen. Beth Bye was so excited about running her first race in more than 30 years. Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Runners enjoyed hot chocolate at the finish line. Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Runners enjoyed hot chocolate at the finish line. Annual Blue Back Mitten Run, West Hartford, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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