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11,100-plus athletes, 2,500 volunteers for 25th Hartford Marathon

BY Joe Cooper

10/11/2018
PHOTO | Hartford Marathon Foundation
PHOTO | Hartford Marathon Foundation
More than 11,100 runners and walkers will participate in the 2018 Hartford Marathon.
More than 11,100 runners and walkers are expected to cross the finish line at Saturday's 25th annual Hartford Marathon, which race officials expect to generate at least $14 million in economic value for the region.

The event, named Eversource Hartford Marathon & Half Marathon for the fifth year, has enlisted about 2,500 volunteers in addition to a team of public safety officials from Greater Hartford and South Windsor. A total of 300 police officers are slated to secure the race route in Hartford, West Hartford, East Hartford and South Windsor, officials said.

Racers for the 26.2 mile marathon, 13.1 mile half, 3.1 mile charity 5K and team 26.2 relay race will begin at 8 a.m. Winners will receive a slice of the race's $53,380 purse.

Over 75 local and national companies are sponsoring this year's event, which is titled sponsored by Eversource, which recently extended its marathon partnership through 2022. The Hartford Marathon Foundation (HMF), a Glastonbury-based nonprofit, is looking to raise more than $500,000 for local charities this year, a spokeswoman said Thursday.

HMF raised over $400,000 for charities last year and has generated over $7.2 million since its 1994 debut.

Race officials said this year's event could draw $14.5 million in economic value for the region, the same amount it generated in 2017. About 900 hotel rooms are booked for the weekend event, they said.

Last year, an estimated 71,780 spectators, participants and volunteers spent about $9.6 million on lodging, shopping and dining, among other spending, according to Avon research firm Witan Intelligence Inc.

Marathon crews have been prepping Bushnell Park and the race routes for much of this week, positioning two miles of steel barricades, 400 portable toilets and a 40-foot-long drinking fountain. Another 500 autumn mum plants are also lining the finish line.

About 250 participants are expected to cross the finish line every minute during the busiest portion of the race with volunteers handing out up to 11,287 finisher medals.

Runners and walkers will pick up their race bibs and information packets Thursday and Friday at The Total Fitness Expo in downtown Hartford's XL Center.

Essex resident Chris Zablocki won the 2017 Hartford marathon in 2:17:59 and Meseret Gebre Dekebo, of Ethiopia, won the women's race in 2:37:27.