- 13.1/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon
- Road Race
What a wonderful race experience - the Hartford Marathon definitely plans with the runner in mind!
The expo was small but efficient and we had our bibs and t-shirts in no time! The race program and event day guide provided plenty of useful information for runners and spectators including directions, parking, course maps and even a pace chart so spectators could estimate when their runners should arrive at certain locations - very helpful for my mom and brother who were able to see me in several locations!
Downtown Hartford is easy to navigate and the start/finish area was all very centrally located. From my car to bag check was probably less than a 5 minute walk and bag check was conveniently located just about a block from the starting line!
The race itself was very well organized. The first 8 miles are in the downtown Hartford area and then go through some beautiful parks and along the river. Miles 9.5 to about 24 are a very long out and back through residential neighborhoods of East Hartford and South Windsor. Along the way the course was very well supported and I especially liked the "on-demand" support on bikes. The volunteers on bikes had gels, water and medical supplies and if they didn't have it (like when I asked for some vaseline), they biked ahead to an aid station got it for you and biked back to you on the course!
After crossing the finish line through the picturesque arch in Bushnell Park, we were immediately wrapped in heat sheets and had access to water at their unique "bubbler", a contraption with about 20 water fountain spouts on it. Just past that we were given our medals, a reusable "Finisher" water bottle filled with water and a reusable bag with snacks - I'm not sure I've ever seen such an organized and efficient finishers chute!
Bag check was a short walk from the finishers area, but it was up a hill which I wasn't particularly looking forward to…well, the Hartford Marathon folks had thought of that too! There was a line of golf carts at the bottom of the hill shuttling runners right to bag check - honestly, at that moment I couldn't have been happier to see those golf carts!
The finish line area in Bushnell Park also featured a athlete's food tent, the "Mile 27" beer garden, medical tents, a massage area and most of the vendors from the expo - it really just felt like a big festival, we put our heat sheets on the grass and hangout for awhile!
I really can not recommend this race enough, it was a great experience and the Hartford Marathon Foundation really does plan with the runner in mind offering some unique and much appreciated amenities such as the "on-demand" course support bikers and the shuttles to bag check. I'm really looking forward to checking out some of their other races throughout the year and am already considering running the Hartford Marathon again next year!