Thousands of runners return to Hartford for in-person marathon after event went virtual during pandemic

Hartford

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Thousands of runners descended on the Capital City on Saturday for this year’s Eversource Hartford Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K. Many celebrated its return after the event was virtual last year because of the pandemic.

RELATED: Runners, local businesses get ready for Hartford Marathon’s in-person return

“The energy of this event, and all of the people, charities, the individuals coming together as a community, is just an incredible feeling,” said Rachel Papke, who ran the 5K for the Jordan Porco Foundation.

Runners News 8 spoke with said it felt good to be back, running and raising money for the organizations and charities close to their heart

“It was nice getting to win today!” said Chris Helminski, winner of the 5K. “We had a nice pack going for the first few miles.”

Additional measures were in place to keep everyone safe. This year, there was a health advisory committee, which included a crowd scientist.

“[They] specialize in looking at race management and how to spread people out around the course,” explained Elizabeth Johnston, Marketing Director for the Hartford Marathon Foundation. “That was a big piece of the planning.”

They also capped the number of participants to about 7,000.

“We had to have a lower capacity to be able to meet with all the mitigation strategies we had planned,” explained Johnston. 

With the race being held in-person this year, the surrounding area saw a boom in business. 

“We’re excited to have everyone out here and also help the city with some great economic impact,” said Johnston. “People in the city, people in hotels. Really just the vibe downtown has been great this week.”

To check out the race results, click here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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