The Fun Doesn’t Stop at High School…

Howie Lam, Contributing Writer

Now, one may think, how much better can the sport of Track and Field be beyond high school in West Hartford? Well, there are many clubs, programs, and events hosted annually that attract hundreds to thousands of people!

A few may be familiar with local residents of West Hartford, but to those unfamiliar, popular road races include the early winter Blue Back Mitten Run, named after the town center that the race is run around; the St. Patrick’s-Themed Johnny’s Jog, whose goal is to raise money to benefit local non-profit children’s organizations; and the early-summer Celebrate West Hartford 5K, hosted during the Celebrate West Hartford fair that happens in an early weekend of June.

Road races like these provide for a lively experience and attract runners and citizens all across the Greater Hartford area! Ages range from young children to moms, dads, and grandparents. The atmosphere at these events is special. So special, that many are drawn back to attend all races to have a great time.

Not only are there road races, but there are track clubs in West Hartford. The Hartbeat Track Club covers the Greater Hartford area and contains a handful of very talented athletes. Everett Hackett, a two-time Olympic Trial Qualifier in the Marathon, currently is an assistant coach of the Hall High School Boys Track and Field team.

Tommy O’Gorman, another well-performing athlete who broke the course record at the Blue Back Mitten Run 2021, raced to an impressive time of fifteen minutes, twenty-one seconds, besting a record previously set by Everett Hackett in December 2017. Anna Shields, the top-female runner of the Hartbeat Club, holds a personal best of 2:03.5 in the 800-meter run, and one hour, fifteen minutes, and seven seconds best in the half marathon. Athletes from Hartbeat often race longer distance events, often in New England, and hold a Wednesday-evening workout weekly.

In addition, track clubs are hosted to encourage and teach track and field events to kids enrolled from elementary to middle school. MPower, a program designed to introduce the sport to new and experienced athletes, offers a wide range of events for children. MPower has field events; For example the high jump, long jump, javelin, discus, and track events such as sprints, hurdles, relays, and long-distance running. MPower meets weekly, on Sunday mornings at the Hall High School Track.

Zoomerangs, a running program hosted by FleetFeet for kids aged three to ten, also introduces young children to become the next generation of Track and Field. Lasting seven-weeks. The end goal of Zoomerangs is to have these junior athletes compete at the Celebrate! West Hartford 5K or the Kids K (Kilometer). Zoomerangs also welcome older kids if they love to run for fun, and parents if they would like to keep in shape or bond with their children.

If you or younger family members are interested in running or staying fit, then there are endless opportunities to participate in West Hartford.