On Saturday morning, tens of thousands of runners were off to the races participating in the 26th annual Hartford Marathon.
Their journey began early with some taking part in the main marathon while others ran the half marathon, 5k charity run and the marathon relay pass.
During the 26th edition of the Eversource Hartford Marathon, more than 10,000 runners racked up an estimated 336 million steps, a slog that required 9,400 gallons of water to slake the participants' collective thirst.
This year’s course ran through downtown Hartford, then moved into East Hartford and South Windsor before circling back to the capital city.
Saturday morning marked Jill Knowlton’s first ever marathon race, which made for a pretty special moment when she crossed the finish line.
“It’s really good and it’s such a great accomplishment,” said Knowlton. “I cried when I crossed the finish line and it’s definitely a great example of self-empowerment to know that you can push yourself.”
Knowlton said her motivation during the race was the thought of helping local charities.
“It’s nice to give back to the community and what not,” said Knowlton. “It’s always a good gesture to give back and know that you’re helping someone else.”
For the 6th year in a row, Eversource has helped sponsor the event. The goal is to raise millions of dollars and generate money for the local economy.
Jim Judge is the CEO of Eversource and said the goal is to bring the community together to help the city.
“This is an event that raises an awfully lot of money for the community,” said Judge. “We bring about 14 million dollars of economic uplifting to the Greater Hartford area and local charities.”
After crossing the finish line, runners were honored with medallions paying homage to their hard work and providing extra motivation to come back next year.
Katheryn Martin lives in New Jersey and made her way to Connecticut to partake in this year’s event.
“I loved it and the support is amazing from those on the sidelines,” said Martin. “After participating in my first race, it’s propelled me to want to do a half-marathon next and challenge myself.”
Hartford Marathon Foundation, Inc. is a not for profit organization whose mission is to encourage individuals and families to adopt and maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. The organization promotes fitness to all ages and all abilities through community running events, school based programs and community collaborations.
The Hartford Marathon Foundation also brought back the 2nd annual Pedal to the Medal to Hartford during the early, early hours on Saturday with an entirely new bike route along the CT Fastrak bus lanes.
The ride began at 3:00 a.m. and ended at 5:00 a.m.
It started and finished at the Eversource Hartford Marathon iconic finish line under the Memorial Arch at Bushnell Park and traveled on the CT Fastrak from Hartford to New Britain and then back to Hartford.
The ride totaled 18.8 miles of no cars, just lighted bikes and costumed riders.