HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — For 25 years, runners have been packed into the starting line for the Hartford Marathon. This year, there are changes to the way the race starts as well as the course itself to alleviate pinch points.
“We have capped the numbers at about 50% of what we could normally handle, and with that, we have all sorts of protocols, the start is done in waves,” said Beth Shluger, CEO of the Hartford Marathon Foundation.
Last year, the marathon was completely virtual and still raised half a million dollars for charity.
Runners can return in person this year but hundreds are still running the race virtually.
“I am not taking away a space from someone else who really really wants to do it outside. I would prefer to do it virtually,” said Olive Tronchin.
People took advantage of free flu shots on Friday before the race begins this weekend. Some are running to raise money for charity or for personal reasons.
“Three years ago in 2018, my youngest child was diagnosed with Crohn’s. Since his diagnosis, he receives treatment at CCMC [Connecticut Children’s Medical Center] every seven weeks so I am running for him,” said Christie Pascavis.
After the race, runners head into the city to enjoy what Hartford has to offer.
“It’s very important, it’s one of our biggest crowds of the year. We are just really excited to see all the people and their faces, and the smiles,” said Heather Melesko of Bears BBQ.
Though runners missed the marathon last year, restaurants are excited to see the crowds and lines in restaurants return.
“It’s just upbeat, everyone is still on their adrenaline rush and it’s just a really fun time,” Melesko said.