Since 1994, the non-profit Hartford Marathon Foundation has been organizing programs and events that promote health and fitness for tens of thousands of people each year. These events have brought millions of dollars into the Hartford area and have likewise raised millions for community charities. The ING Hartford Marathon relies on more than 2,000 volunteers each year to stage their full marathon (26.2 miles), half marathon (13.1 miles), 5K, Kids Race and Relay events, so it was no surprise to find approximately two dozen Pratt & Whitney employees hard at work in the chilly, wee morning hours of Saturday, Oct. 12, setting up a water/Gatorade station for marathon participants.
Under the direction of Shakira Ramos, who has volunteered at the event for the past nine years, and Denisha Clayton, the pair organized a smoothly-run, bucket brigade-type station for runners at the 9.7-mile and 24.4-mile marks (both at the same location at 657 Main Street in East Hartford.)
An estimated 15,000 runners participated in the race this year, including 2,695 that finished the full marathon, 6,586 finishers of the half and 1,967 in the 5K. Also this year, 26 Newton, Conn., residents ran in honor of the 26 killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings on behalf of the 12.14 Foundation, which is raising funds for a performing arts center in Newton.
The race, which began and ended at Hartford's Bushnell Park, wound through the towns of Hartford, East Hartford and South Windsor. Water and carb fluid stations were available at mile 2, mile 4 and every mile thereafter on the marathon and half-marathon courses. GU energy gel was located at mile 7 (for the half) and miles 8 and 17 (full). Course bicyclists also carried GU energy gel to be given as needed.
With the goal of becoming the most sustainable athletic event in the country, the ING Hartford Marathon has named former title sponsor, United Technologies, as their Presenting Green Sponsor. Since 2010, UTC has been promoting endeavors to make the marathon greener and more sustainable by promoting locally-produced and sourced food items, donating extra food to food banks, using recyclable water cups and other measures.
For more information and full race results, visit www.hartfordmarathon.com.