Runners and walkers prepare for the Hartford Marathon on Saturday

HARTFORD - The countdown is on to the 25th running of the Hartford Marathon and half marathon.

Over 11,000 runners and walkers are expected to hit the pavement Saturday morning.

Barricades have already been set up surrounding Bushnell Park as well as road blocks.

“We’ve got sunscreen, we’ve got bells, we’ve got things to hold money on our shoelaces, we’ve got ice packs of course very important for when you’re done,” said Bonnie Santoro of Bethlehem.

Santoro and her husband Gary were one of thousands of people who rushed to the XL Center to pick up their packets - a big, clear bag every participant gets before race day.

However, there was more to offer than the bag. People had access to an expo inside the XL Center that was full of vendors offering massages, healthy treats and there was even a bus that had words made up of former race participants.

Maggie Rose, a Hartford native said she is ready for the big day and has been training for several months.

“I feel ready. Trained since May and did four long runs, a distance of 15 miles or more and have stayed healthy so I feel pretty good. Nothing hurts!” said Rose.

It was the first full marathon for Samanta Music who also said she has worked with trainees to whip her body in shape.

“Confident! A little nervous. Definitely very excited. I can’t believe I’m here and I’m actually going be doing it now,” said Music of New Britain.

For avid runners like Ed Peters who has ran a marathon in all 50 states said he is ready to go.

“Hopefully it’ll be a nice day and all goes well and everyone will have a good time. If I can, I’ll help somebody along the way I can,” said Peters of Fairfield.

The annual race takes runners through Hartford, West Hartford and East Hartford.

It typically brings in thousands of people to the area. It is an opportunity for Manager Matthew Whitaker to open Chango Rosa Taco at 6 a.m. Saturday where he will be offering a brunch buffet for runners.

“We see an opportunity. We have a lot of people coming out in the morning and we want to make sure everyone in Hartford is well fed and it’s going to be a big day, so we want to make sure everyone is ready for it,” said Whitaker.

Participants still have until Friday at 9 p.m. to pick up their packets and register for the race at the XL Center.

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