The next Hartford Marathon, on October 11, 2014, will run under a new lead sponsorship banner, that of Northeast Utilities. Last October, more than 15,000 runners, tens of thousands of spectators, more than 1,200 volunteers, and 30 bands and local entertainers, flooded into the Capitol City for the annual ING Hartford Marathon. It was the last time they did so under the ING banner, as the company did not renew its sponsorship of the race following their sixth year as title sponsor. Prior to ING, United Technologies had been the title sponsor, following Aetna in the lead role in the marathon's early years. The Hartford Marathon has served as an increasingly impactful economic stimulus to Greater Hartford, helping to fill hotel rooms, bars, restaurants, and other tourist attractions throughout the region. NU will be the new sponsor through at least 2016, officials said.
In 2013, the marathon - in its 20th year - brought in at least $14 million of economic value to the Hartford area, according to an analysis done for the Hartford Marathon Foundation by Avon-based Witan Intelligence Inc. Race attendance was up 5.6 percent to 75,000 in 2013, based on police department estimates.
“We are thrilled to partner with Northeast Utilities, a New England company that shares our mission to support both the physical and economic wellness of our communities,” said Beth Shluger, Executive Director of the Hartford Marathon Foundation and Race Director of the 2014 NU Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon.
ING U.S., with major operations in Windsor, ended its association with the state’s signature running event as it separates from its Dutch parent and is rebranded into a new company — Voya Financial. ING U.S. also ended its title sponsorships of races in New York and Miami. The Miami race was run earlier this year without a title sponsor.
The Hartford Marathon Foundation had originally hoped to have a title sponsor in place by the end of 2013, but the search and negotiations took considerably longer, and some race materials for this year's race have already been circulated, in print and on line. They are being revised and updated, as bright green becomes the new bright orange, as NU succeeds ING.
In addition to more than a dozen major sponsors drawn from the ranks of Connecticut’s leading corporations in recent years (including United Technologies, Hartford Hospital, Power Station, legrand, Aetna, Travelers, Baribault Jewelers and Executive Auto Group), volunteers include staff members from Connecticut businesses, community groups and organizations that devote volunteers as a group service effort.In past years, staff volunteers from the title sponsor have taken the lead in anchoring water stations, handing out material (including medals for participants), and assisting in various capacities.
Hartford’s Post-Race is “one of the best in North America,” according to The Ultimate Guide to Marathons. The event has also developed a national reputation for extensive greening initiatives, and was certified as a "green race" in 2009 by the Council for Responsible Sport. New last year were collaborative efforts with the UCONN EcoHusky Club and EcoHouse Learning Community and Hartford’s Knox Park. Officials indicated that increased support services for runners will be provided in 2014, including special accommodations for active military and veterans. This year’s event will introduce solar power in Bushnell Park, a mark of its continuing commitment to sustainability, an important platform for both the Hartford Marathon Foundation and Northeast Utilities.
A month ago, the Hartford Marathon Foundation added Oz Griebel, of the Metro Hartford Alliance, and Robinson & Cole lawyer Andrea Donovan Napp to its 15-member board of directors. The Hartford Marathon Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit organization founded in 1994 to create and manage fitness events that inspire people to be healthy and fit. The Hartford Marathon Foundation organizes nearly 42 annual athletic events, including the Hartford Marathon, and 25 training programs.