This past Sunday I ran in the Harvard Pilgrim Middletown Half Marathon & 4 Miler. The race started in Downtown Middletown on Main Street, and it was the perfect day for a race. The sun was shining and there was a breeze. With just over 1,500 runners, there was a good crowd but it wasn’t too packed. I ran in the 4-mile race, which ran along the same course of the half marathon for the first 3 miles before they split off.
I didn’t check the course map and elevation before the start of the race, which turned out to be a good thing because the first mile and a half were almost all uphill! I’m not sure I would have been as excited for the race if I had known that. But it was a great course that ran through Wesleyan’s campus and the neighborhoods. It started and ended on Main Street, and I found great course support throughout. People in the neighborhoods came out, handed out tissues and cheered on the runners. There was also live music which is always fun!
Something else that I noticed during this race was an extra level of support runner to runner. Every time someone had stopped to tie their shoes or stretch, other runners yelled out to them to make sure they were OK. It happens during races, but there seemed to be extra efforts made during this race, which I thought was great.
And something else that doesn’t happen much during races, I made a friend! I’m not terribly social during races – I find it difficult to run, breathe and talk at the same time. But by Mile 3 another runner and I had been running near each other for almost the whole race, so I started chatting with her. I found out that her sister had signed her up for the half marathon, but she decided to downgrade to the 4-miler because she didn’t feel ready for the half. We ran together for the last mile and chatted, and it was great! Made that last mile fly by.
After the race I hung out at the finish line and cheered on other runners, and saw the first finishers of the half come in. I’m always amazed that someone can run 13.1 miles in the same time it takes me to run 6-7. Amazing. All in all, a great race that I’d totally do again!
Today, the Hartford Marathon Foundation announced the inaugural class of Team HMF – a group of runners from around Connecticut who love HMF, love running and love talking about racing in the region. And I’m super excited to say that I was chosen to be a part of this group! You can see the full list of awesome people (yes, I’m including myself in the awesome) on the HMF blog.
I’ve been a fan of the Hartford Marathon Foundation since I started running in 2010. My very first race was an X-Treme Scramble on the Hartford Riverfront (now called Riverfront Scrambles). They are super fun, quirky races to do. The 5ks aren’t traditional, they go over trails, stairs, fields and more. And the best part? Costumes, live music and local beer and food afterwards. It was an awesome start to my running and racing career. I’ve been in love ever since.
I’m excited to be a part of Team HMF because not only am I pumped to meet other fantastic runners in the region, but I’m also thrilled to be representing the back-of-the-pack runners in the area. I’m a slow runner (10+ minute miles), and I know how hard it is for a lot of runners to get past that. They don’t call themselves runners because they’re slow, or they get down on themselves when they get passed in races. I’ve been there. A lot. I want to create a community of kickass back-of-the-pack runners who will encourage each other in races!
Congrats to everyone on Team HMF, and we’ll see you out on the course!
My 3rd Annual Max’s O’Hartford 5k is in the books! My favorite race to start the year with, this race is green-filled and festive with a fabulous course through Hartford. The race begins on Trumbull Street in Downtown Hartford, winds up Pearl Street to Main Street, and runs for over a mile on Park Street. I love running on Park Street. It’s a street that’s so busy during the day with people and cars that I typically don’t include it when I go running in Hartford. But on race days, I can run in the street and see the beautiful shops and artwork on the street. The course continues onto Park Terrace, to Capitol Avenue and then down through the Arch and finishes on Pearl Street.
Everyone dresses up in green for St. Patrick’s Day for this race, and when running on Park Street, it’s just a sea of green and orange bobbing heads. This year, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade fell on Saturday and as much as I love Parade Day and having so many people come to Hartford, I love the O’Hartford even more. Parade Day for many is about drinking as much as possible starting at 8am. Maybe I’m getting old but that no longer appeals to me. The O’Hartford, while there is also drinking involved, is not the primary purpose of the day. I once heard someone talking about racing, and how amazing it is for so many people to come together for one purpose – to run a race or to cheer on someone else who is running.
For me the O’Hartford is about the start of race season, the promise of warm weather and a big group of people doing something fun and healthy. This year I finished in 33:46, which I’m very happy about. Congratulations to all of the runners, and unless I sign up for a race last minute, I’ll see you on May 3rd for the BlumShapiro 5k for Camp Courant at the Travelers Championship!
My friend Ryan McKeen is a local CT runner who is trying to raise money for Achilles International CT Chapter. He made these super awesome shirts, and you can get one if you make a $20 donation to Achilles CT!
I just got mine in the mail, and it’s pretty sweet. Get one for yourself! Tweet Ryan for more information – and to make sure you get a super cool shirt for your donation.