Thousands of runners are participating in Hartford's Virtual Marathon to support and raise money for a variety of causes this weekend.
COVID-19 altered this year's plan and forced runners to choose their own routes and locations. Participants have the chance to either take part in the 5k, 10k, half-marathon, or marathon up until Sunday.
Participants are able to take part in the annual run at a reduced fee of $25.
Neasa Waaler is one of the participants who is taking part in the virtual marathon. Waaler is running in honor of Ana Grace Marquez-Greene, a victim of the 2012 school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Waaler has also helped raise funds for CREC Ana Grace Academy of the Arts, a school set to open in Bloomfield in 2021.
"I wanted to continue doing things for the families that have been personally affected and just honor their loved ones," said Waaler. "We just thought this was a great way to honor Ana because she loved to dance and sing. Her whole family loved the arts and we wanted to represent the type of person that she was."
"Movement With Purpose" is the theme of this year's race. The foundation is focused on getting community out and about.
It will include a new 10K race distance, the 5K race, and three new multi-distance race challenges to engage widespread participation.
“We will still have a lot of people that have trained for the last several weeks and months and will take place in their event virtually but together," said Josh Miller, Hartford Marathon Foundation Race Director.
All proceeds will be donated to charities, which support urgent local needs.