Running in the “Constitution State” and finishing under the iconic arch will inspire you!
State #28 did not disappoint. The race was extremely well organized and the people were incredibly friendly!
Days before the race, I had a variety of different local media outlets reach out to talk about Run4Papa and ask why I specifically chose run in Hartford, CT. Below is a spot from NBC Connecticut.
As 1 of 8,000 runners, I was looking forward to hitting the streets of Connecticut and running in the 29th annual Eversource Hartford Half Marathon. This would be the first of two back-to-back half marathons this weekend.
Media interviews before sunrise
My alarm went off at 5:45 am. I picked up my carefully laid out race attire off the floor and made my way to the start line to meet Dylan Fearon and his team at CBS 3 for a live morning interview. Although this would take place several hours before the actual start of the race (8:00 am gun time), I will never turn down an opportunity to raise awareness for our mission to find a cure for Alzheimer’s and other related dementia.
Following our interview, I sprinted back through Bushnell park to my hotel, grabbed some food, warmed up, took a hot shower, threw back on my race gear, and walked to the start line in front of the state capitol.
I was ready to run in my 28th state for this cause.
Miles 1-3: From the Capitol to West Hartford
The race begins alongside the marathon runners before splitting just after Mile into West Hartford. The temperature was a crisp 45-degrees which is pretty optimum considering the average runner will feel approximately 20-degrees warmer while running. As I knocked out the first 5K, I was occasionally stopped by a handful of runners and supporters on the streets because they were inspired by the Run4Papa mission and had seen me on TV a few short hours ago. They wanted to capture a photo and add their face to this growing cause!
This is one of the most rewarding aspects of receiving media coverage because it literally helps compound our efforts to amplify our voice and message to a local audience. And since dementia is not relegated to any one city, state, or country, I am always grateful for these opportunities.
Miles 4-7: Rolling course through historic neighborhoods
The next three miles took me along a variety of different streets and through the suburbs of the city. I was treated to a few locals playing live music at G’Steaks and Grinders at Mile 4, an amazing solo guitarist strumming and singing the lyrics “dude, dude, dude, lookin’ out my back door” at Mile 6. As a runner, I always look forward to and LOVE creative signage. Here were a few hilarious ones I saw during this stretch:
-"No Time for Walken" with Cristopher Walken's Face next to this text
"On a scale of 1 to 10 you're a 13.1"
"This will all be worth it when you update your Facebook status"
And this gem below...
Miles 8-10: Elizabeth Park
The course wraps around the perimeter of the park which encompasses many garden areas, pathways, century-old Lord and Burnham greenhouses, lawns, bowling greens, tennis courts, a picnic grove, and a scenic pond.
Fun Fact: The border between Hartford and West Hartford has moved since the park was established, with the odd result that one of Hartford’s largest parks is now located primarily within the Town of West Hartford
Miles 11-13.1: Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch in Bushnell Park
The Memorial Arch is the crown jewel showpiece of this race.
The arches are on every piece of branding, on the medal, and even on my very own customized race T-shirt for a reason. It’s literally an eye-popping architectural masterpiece. As I made my way back through downtown Hartford, I saw this magnificent structure from a mile away! The arches honor the 4,000 Hartford citizens who served in the American Civil War, including 400 who died for the Union cause. It is notable as the first permanent triumphal arch to be built in America.
With a finishing time of 2:16:14 (even numbers obviously), I was proud to have completed #state 28! Of course, I made my way to Bushnell park and partook in the celebration with 8,000 of my newest running friends.
With 1/2 of the back-to-back in the books this weekend, I made my way to Rhode Island a few hours after the race to prepare for state #29….beginning in approximately 15 hours!
A FEW ADDITIONAL TAKEAWAYS:
–Stay close to Bushnell Park: when you book your stay, my recommendation is to stay as close to the park as possible it’s a short walk to the start/finish line. I ended up staying at the Capitol Hotel by Ascend
–Time limit: 3 hours for half marathoners which is a 13:44/mile pace
–Visit Mark Twain’s House and Museum: For those of you that are history buffs, this is a must see!
–Eat a Connecticut style lobster roll: Unlike the classic New England lobster roll (made up of cold lobster salad in a bun), the CT version is comprised of a top-split hot-dog bun stuffed with warm lobster tossed with a little melted butter.
–The Bling: I like the front, but the engraving on the back is pretty sweet!
To view more of my photos from this race, go to: 2022 Hartford Half Marathon