- 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon
- Road Race
The Hartford Marathon is iconic in Connecticut as one of the only real marathons the state has to offer. Luckily the race doesn’t rely on being the only one in the game as it’s only draw. The Hartford Marathon Foundation does a great job of working to improve this race year after year. This 20th Anniversary running was my third time running this race, and it definitely has its ups and downs.
For a fall marathon, you couldn’t ask for a more scenic course. Taking runners straight through downtown Hartford and out into neighboring East Hartford and South Windsor, these 26.2 miles are hugged by some amazing fall foliage, and some great and supportive crowds. The Hartford Marathon isn’t just a race – it’s an event.
The race starts off right in front of the capital building taking runners all through Hartford for the first seven miles before heading outside the city and into the quieter neighboring areas. During a long stretch of an out and back from miles 7-25, runners will see all kinds of Connecticut neighborhoods and farmlands all while being cheered on by the great crowd that camps out in front of their homes watching the event with great enthusiasm. The course can become a bit monotonous, especially when heading from the mile 14 to mile 20 section which is a direct out and back. Mile 17 is the turnaround and provides a sense of relief knowing you’re in the single digits on your way back to the finish line.
And the finish is truly spectacular. As runners re-enter Hartford, the crowds reemerge to energize them through the last mile. You’ll have to take on a gradual incline on the highways of Hartford, but when you come around the last turns and see the Arch at Bushnell Park in view, your amazing journey will be complete and it will all be worth it.
The course support is good, with water stations about every two miles. Medical aid is provided at both tents and by medical personnel on bikes. Some areas of the course are very inner-city feeling, but a lot of the course provides some beautiful scenic views. Being New England, the weather and temperatures can change drastically during the course of the race, so it’s best to bring disposable layers. The medals make this race, with some really unique designs.