*Editor’s Note: This is an event preview for the 2008 ING Hartford Marathon and refers to the event details and descriptions from that year.
Participants at the 2008 ING Hartford Marathon may notice things are a little "greener" this year. They may also notice a new orange street sign--"ING Hartford Marathon Way"--hanging at the corner of Trinity and Elm Streets near Bushnell Park.
ING, through the company's ING Foundation, announced that it has donated $10,000 for a tree planting initiative to coincide with its new title sponsorship of the ING Hartford Marathon. This donation will help further reduce the carbon footprint of the race and promote its status as a role model for eco-friendly athletic events.
Twenty-six new trees will be planted along the 26.2 mile ING Hartford Marathon race course which winds through the city of Hartford, as well as East Hartford and South Windsor. These trees will help beautify the course and support the long-term health of Hartford's urban forest. They are scheduled to go into the ground just prior to the race on October 11.
ING's donation will be commemorated by a tree planting ceremony at Bushnell Park with the Mayor's office. A new street sign--"ING Hartford Marathon Way"--painted in ING's signature color orange will also be unveiled that morning at the corner of Trinity and Elm streets, the start and finish locations for the race.
"This is our first year as title sponsor of the ING Hartford Marathon, and we're thrilled with how our partner--Hartford Marathon Foundation--is committed to making the race a premier event and an environmental leader," said Catherine Smith, CEO of U.S. Insurance for ING. "Although orange is ING's official color, we're also passionate about being green. These trees are ING's way to contribute to the race's sustainable initiatives while making a difference in the Hartford community. We hope they remind everyone participating to "Go Orange ... and Live Green."
"From our water conservation and recycling efforts, to our use of organic foods and earth-friendly materials, the ING Hartford Marathon is setting the gold standard when it comes to sustainable running events," said Beth Shluger, race director for the ING Hartford Marathon. "This year, we're excited that the Council for Responsible Sports is considering our event for certification and viewing it as a role model for all marathons. We want runners and spectators to know that when they participate in the ING Hartford Marathon, they'll experience a great race that is also doing its part to protect the environment."
"It's terrific to see ING and the Hartford Marathon Foundation making a positive difference in our community on many levels," said Mayor Eddie A. Perez. "The race is a great event for Hartford, bringing residents and visitors together for a fun and healthy activity. Now, we can also appreciate the marathon's commitment to the environment and ING's generous tree donation, which will provide a year-round benefit to the city."
Money for the trees will go to the Hartford-based Knox Parks Foundation, which will plant them on behalf of ING and the ING Hartford Marathon.
Several varieties of trees will be planted along the 26.2 mile route, including Pin Oaks, Ginkgo trees, Kwanzan Cherry trees and others. Each will have a 2.0 to 2.5 inch trunk diameter and be approximately 12 to 15 feet tall when planted.
Why is maintaining Hartford's 'urban forest' so important?
The city of Hartford has a relatively large urban forest, which is an asset to the city. Regular planting of new trees makes up for those that are lost and die off, and ensures the forest continues to thrive.
As a whole, trees within a city reduce urban air temperatures and contribute significantly to energy savings. They also make our environment healthier. For example, one tree can remove approximately 26 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year--and give off enough oxygen to supply a family of four.
According to a recent "tree canopy survey" by the Knox Parks Foundation, here are some facts about Hartford's urban forest:
- Number of Trees: 568,000
- Number of Larger Trees (over 20" in diameter): 55,000
- Most Common Trees: red maple, tree of heaven, black cherry, American elm and red oak
- Tree Canopy Cover: 26 percent
- Amount of Carbon Removed by Hartford's Trees Annually: 2,440 tons
- Amount of Major Air Pollutants Removed Annually: 73 tons
- Oil Saved due to Energy Reduction by These Trees: 2,400 barrels a year
- Replacement Cost for These Trees: $590 million
ING is a global financial institution of Dutch origin offering banking, investments, life insurance and retirement services to over 85 million residential, corporate and institutional clients in more than 50 countries. With a diverse workforce of about 130,000 people, ING comprises a broad spectrum of prominent companies that increasingly serve their clients under the ING brand.
The ING family of companies offers a comprehensive array of financial services to retail and institutional clients, which includes life insurance, retirement plans, mutual funds, managed accounts, alternative investments, direct banking, institutional investment management, annuities, employee benefits, financial planning, and reinsurance. ING holds top-tier rankings in key U.S. markets and serves over 14 million customers across the nation. For more information, visit http://www.ing.com
About the ING Hartford Marathon
First run in 1994, the ING Hartford Marathon consists of a marathon, half marathon, relay event, competitive race walk, 5K and children's fun run. The 2008 event will be held on October 11, 2008 and marks its 15th anniversary. To learn more about the ING Hartford Marathon and upcoming events, please visit http://www.inghartfordmarathon.com . The Hartford Marathon Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit organization founded in 1994 to create and manage fitness events to benefit the local community. Located in Glastonbury, Connecticut, the Hartford Marathon Foundation organizes more than 20 annual athletic events, including the ING Hartford Marathon. For more information, visit http://www.hartfordmarathon.com .