Police beef up security as thousands are expected for Hartford Marathon

HARTFORD – More than 11,000 people will fill Downtown Hartford Saturday morning.

Volunteers have been working hard to get preparations finished before the big day and police are also prepping to make sure the run stays safe.

“We’re prepared for rain, shine,” said Josh Miller, Technical Director of the Hartford Marathon.

Mother Nature is expected to bring possible showers early in the morning, but it will certainly not stop the marathon from happening. It is expected to kick off at 8 a.m. where people from all over will be coming to Hartford just like Deborah Lazaroff.

Lazaroff has ran a marathon in all 50 states and said she ran the Hartford Marathon in 2009.

“It will be my 167th marathon so obviously I’ve got a few marathons under my belt. I shouldn’t be nervous, but the pressure I put on myself to do so for at 62, it’s there,” said Lazaroff of Jackson, Michigan.

There is something different about this year’s race: the honor roll van will be present and it is made up of over 200,000 names so runners and walkers can try to search for theirs when they reach the finish line.

“It’s a huge economic impact for the Greater Hartford region. $14,000  last year in an economic impact for this region which is just amazing. We have thousands of hotel rooms with people staying in the city,” added Miller.

However, with fun also comes safety. Lieutenant Stephen Zarger has spent the past several weeks planning for this – from road closures to security measures to where his officers should be placed.

To make things easier on them, he is advising everyone to not bring any bags and if they do to keep it minimal.

“The best thing to do is to clear bags or no bags. Bags left unattended creates more work for us to have to make sure there’s nothing of potential harm in them,” added Lt. Zarger with the Hartford Police Department.

Drivers should expect to take detours as road closures and travel delays will begin at 7:30 a.m. in Hartford, West Hartford and East Hartford.

“Most of the highway, the few extra ramps that we do close is closed about 7:30. A lot of our main roads for the marathon closes at that time but we reopen them as quickly as we can. There’s different zones. If you’re towards the west end, typically about 11:15,” added Lt. Zarger.

For more information on whether these road closures will affect you, click here for a detailed list of roads and highways closed.