Hartford’s Bushnell Park is busy in the days leading up to Saturday’s Hartford Marathon as preparations are made. Runner supply packs were assembled, sponsor hospitality tents erected, and thousands of registration packets were distributed at the XL Center.
Nearly two years after the last in-person Hartford Marathon was held, runners are starting to feel the adrenaline.
“I’m very excited, and nervous at the same time,” said Ellington’s Cecilia Sivo.
Before Saturday’s marathon, many were sprinting today, directly to a running supply store.
“A lot of people are coming in for nutrition and last-minute gear,” said Alex Norstrom, the social media director for Fleet Feet of West Hartford.
Among the runners Saturday will be Kelly Galeota. She’ll be running, with plenty of inspiration. Galeota formed a team to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation in honor of her mother who is fighting breast cancer. The group, named “Team Sue,” is about 20 people strong.
“So many people have cancer throughout their lives,” she said. “We wanted to make a difference in any way that we could,” explained Galeota.
Saturday’s run includes a 5k, a half marathon, and full 26.2-mile endurance run. It will impact streets in Hartford, East Hartford and South Windsor. A full list of street closures is listed on the Hartford Marathon website. Organizers say they are trying to limit the traffic impact as much as possible.
“We try to do a rolling opening as we go through different communities and will have police out there to help residents get to where they need to go,” said race director Josh Miller.
Hartford’s events come on the same weekend as the Chicago Marathon Sunday and Boston Marathon on Monday. A tough decision for New Haven’s Steve Allen who is saving himself for Boston.
“It’s the 125th anniversary year. You had to qualify for it and after running it virtually last year, I want the real thing,” he said.
Sivo though, is staying close to home. After running Hartford virtually last year, she is looking forward to the real thing.
“This year, it’s going to be great to have everybody out there, cheering us on. I’m very excited,” she said with a glowing smile.
Among the reasons why some people aren’t running Boston is because it is difficult to qualify. The Hartford Marathon, however, can be used as a qualifier for next year.
Organizers say there are nearly 7,000 registered runners. Unregistered runners will not be permitted.