The Hartford Marathon
The conditions in Hartford were great, the course was nice, the support was awesome, the organization of the race was fantastic and Connecticut is gorgeous. I would highly recommend the race to anyone who wants to do a race in the US. The Hartford marathon is truly a 5-star event – and if you are not up for the 42K they also offer a half-marathon and 5K on the same day.
This was my second time running a marathon in New England. Last year I ended up running 4 miles too long at the Manchester City Marathon in New Hampshire courtesy of a police officer and my narrow “race mode” vision causing me not to realize the mistake before it was too late. Unfortunately, the Hartford marathon did not go as I intended either. I was hurting bad and ended up almost 12 minutes from my 2:25 target. However, I can only blame myself for that. I just hope my third try at a New England marathon, which will be in Boston 2014, will be more successful.
My good friend Will, who is living in New York, and I drove to his parents place in Bloomfield just outside Hartford. As the awesome supporters they are, they had made a good luck sign and put it by the road. They also organized a welcome dinner with a group of very nice people from their running community. Unfortunately, they were going away for the weekend and could not be out on the course supporting me, but they sure did everything they could in the days before the race. However, it is the US, so there were plenty of support along the course. Since Sweden is influenced in many ways by the US I strongly recommend that we adapt the culture of supporting all runners fast or slow. So next time you stand and look at a race make sure to make noise and support every single runner – not only the first and the few you happen to know. You will be surprised how much more fun it is to watch a race and how great it makes the runners feel.
The sign at the road
The EXPO before the race was great – race bib pickup was smooth and there was a good selection of different companies with giveaways and good offers. Moreover, as last year when running in New Hampshire I met one of the greatest marathon runners in the history – Bill Rodgers. He is a great man with a hart for running like no one else and it was a joy to get the opportunity to talk running with him. Thanks Bill – keep inspiring! To anyone who would like to get inspiration from Bill I would recommend buying his book. “The marathon man”.
Bill Rodgers (4 time Boston Marathon winner, 4 time NYC Marathon winner) and a wanna-be marathon winner at the expo
The Hartford Marathon together with the New England Runner Magazine also do a lot to support the best and talented runners of New England. They receive invitations to take part in the event and they Hartford marathon promote them at the EXPO and in the magazine. Furthermore, they will receive additional price money and bonuses based on their results.
Hartford marathon do not have the best elite runners in the world, but the organizers definitively made sure that the best runners in the field were treated, as they were the best runners. The best runners were given a VIP treatment worthy a world-class runner and I am very happy that I also got the opportunity to part of it. Many race organizers in Sweden could learn a lot from this. Simply treat the best Swedish runners, as they are the best Swedish runners regardless of what times they are running. They are after all the best there is and if we should have any hope of getting better runners I believe the race organizers should take their share of the responsibility and make some incentives for the runners. I definitely picked up a few things that I hope to be able to incorporate into Skärholmsloppet and Kistaloppet already next year.
All in all a great weekend in Connecticut despite the result. Do not get me wrong. I know that most people would be happy to run a 2:36 marathon, let alone just finish a marathon. To everyone out there running – keep it up. To those of you not running – get started. To all of you supporting the runners – be loud!