Race Recap: Greater Hartford 1/4 Marathon

Today I, and a big group of friends, braved the terrible weather to race in the  2012 Greater Hartford Quarter Marathon. Hosted by the Hartford Track Club and benefitting Blazeman Foundation for ALS, this was the 6th running of this great race.

I woke up this morning to less than ideal race conditions – 37 degrees, sleet, and some “wintry mix” accumulation. Not to be deterred, the running husband and I set out to meet up with friends so that we could all run the Greater Hartford Quarter Marathon. We arrived at the MDC Reservoir in West Hartford to find that a lot of people must have been too wimpy for the weather – the parking lot was nearly empty. We wisely waited in the car with the heater running full blast until the last possible moment.

At race time, the weather had not improved. It was about 38 degrees, with a rain/sleet mix. Thankfully, the wintry mix had lessened and it was more of a misty sleet. The race course is a two-loop course run around the paved trails in the MDC Reservoir in West Hartford. It’s a gorgeous course. I wish I had pictures of the beautiful course, but it was raining and cameras don’t like rain.

The reservoir is beautiful and the woods surrounding it are lovely. This morning, steam rose from the reservoir and the attached lakes, making a particularly beautiful scene. The first couple (and middle couple since it’s a loop) miles have a number of what we New Englanders call “rollers”, gradual hills that make for a smooth up and down experience.

About 2 (and 4.5) miles into the race, the course comes around a bend, giving runners a picturesque view of the runners ahead as they pass beyond a lake and around a curve. It was gorgeous. And, on the second loop, gave me a view of how close my husband was – just close enough to catch him at the end. Yay!

The course was extremely well marked, with accurate mile signs and sand markings noting the course direction. It would be difficult to go the wrong way given that the course is a well-planned loop on paved trails. A runner would have to work hard to get lost in this one. The wooded views were magnificent and the lakes, ponds, and reservoir areas were the picture of New England beauty.

The finish line chute was well organized – runners were ushered along to get medals and to head over to the food area. There was a nice spread of homemade baked goods, including cookies, cupcakes, muffins, and the best rice crispy treats I’ve had in ages. There were bananas, bagels, and Nutella, too. I am pleased to note that I didn’t wait in line for food and all the volunteers were friendly (for which I give them a lot of credit – I wouldn’t be terribly friendly standing out in the sleet for hours). The medal and t-shirt were pretty cool.

The race was well-organized, it had a beautiful course, and it was fun to run. The race benefitted the Blazeman Foundation for ALS, a great cause. This year’s event raised over $6,000 for Blazeman. All in all, I highly recommend the Greater Hartford Quarter Marathon.

Picture courtesy of Greater Hartford Quarter Marathon

On a more personal note, I had a great time running this race with a good group of friends. What really made the race special for me, though, was seeing one of the RDs, my old running coach, HDH (check out his website if you’re local-ish and looking for a coach). I worked with him last year, just after I was given permission by my medical team to start running. He’s a nice guy, and someone who genuinely loves running and runners. Seeing him at the 2/4 mile water stop brought a smile to my face. When we first met, I could barely run 3 miles on the treadmill. Today, I ran my way to a good time in a 6.55 mile road race without knee pain. It really was a reminder of how far I’ve come.

Official race results are here, at Platt Systems, who did a nice job of timing, as usual.

Race results, pictures, and other goodies are here, at Purring Hedgehog .

To check out the pictures from the event, head on over to the event’s Facebook page.

Details for Rachel’s outfit, above: Lululemon Go For It pants (DWR coated pants were definitely the right choice for this weather!), Nike Vapor Jacket (the similar jacket now is the Nike Cyclone Jacket), ancient Nike hat and headband, lots of layers you can’t see…