Runners are hours away from making their way to the starting line of the Eversource Hartford Marathon.
Saturday, thousands of them and spectators will be at Bushnell Park in Hartford, where preparations have been underway since Monday.
Josh Miller, the event's technical director, said they moved into the park at the beginning of the week.
"We start planning right after last year's race, we really pick up as the summer goes on and we move into Bushnell Park on Monday," Miller said. "[Friday] we have over 100 volunteers filling reusable water bottles, stuffing snack bags and they are just here all day getting things ready for the race on Saturday."
There are some important tips that physical therapists said runners should be doing to prepare themselves.
Ken Bruno from Hartford Hospital said first and foremost, they should start with a dynamic warm-up right before the race.
"Just to slowly the heat of the muscle and get you ready for running at the top speed that you're going to be carrying throughout the race," Bruno said. "You never want to take off on cold muscles."
He said it's very important to slowly build up as runners start the day.
Hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors and quads should be stretched and adequately warmed up.
Bruno said Hartford Hospital's rehab center will be in Bushnell Park after the race to give runners a post-race stretch to help prevent soreness and injuries.
Matt Arcata, who is part of the Total Fitness Expo at the XL Center, has participated in the event for more than two decades.
"I started with the 5k, gradually worked up to the half [marathon], to the full, now I've gone full circle back to the 5k," Arcata said.
He said it's the race's energy that brings him back year after year.
Eversource employee Laura Pawelec echoed that.
"Both me and my niece will be running the 5k and as soon as we're done, we're going to come down to the finish line and we're going to be handing out what the Hartford Marathon Foundation calls 'heat wraps,'" Pawelec said. "We call them super capes. It's just amazing what these runners do and they deserve a cape."
Pawelec said she's been part of the event for the last four years.
"It is an amazing experience," she said. "Some of these people, the runners, they're running sometimes three, four, five, six hours and to see them come across with so much emotion, some of them are crying, some of them just want a hug, some of them are so happy and ecstatic [that] all they want is their medal."
The race goes off just before 8 a.m. on Saturday. Several roads will be closed ahead of the start of the race and during the event.
More information on the event can be found at HartfordMarathon.com.
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