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Through the tremendous generosity of Dr. Susan Beris, a Southbury pediatrician, the Hartford Marathon Foundation (HMF) is greatly expanding its platform of youth running programs in 2022 under the umbrella of the Susie Beris, MD Youth Running Program.  With a mission to build lifelong runners, the expanded program will encompass the existing HMF FitKids offerings with additional resources and opportunities in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

The following new programs will be offered to reach more middle and high school students:

            Junior Team HMF (grades 6-8): new initiative to expand opportunities for select FitKids in School participants nominated by program coaches and then accepted to the team based on responses in personal essays. Team members will be provided a custom race shirt, free 5K race, volunteer engagement and mentoring, support and recognition opportunities

            HMF High School Program (grades 9-12): new initiative to support high school running programs and coaches in underserved communities with training resources for coaches, race entries for students and funding to support the purchase of shoes, transportation to events and an annual field trip to inspire a love of running for youth to reap health and wellness benefits in their future

The following will continue under the Susie Beris, MD Youth Running Program umbrella:

            HMF FitKids races (2-11 year old): in conjunction with select family-friendly HMF Events in 2022, FitKids races are short distance fun runs that allow children the opportunity to participate in their own race, complete with finish line and finisher medal.  Updated program launches Sunday, April 10, at the Middletown 10K and 5K Run/Walk.

            HMF FitKids in School (grades 4-8): the six week training program is supported before, during or after school with a culminating Susie Beris Medal Day celebration event or in-school program completion recognition

“We believe deeply in Dr. Beris’ commitment to build lifelong runners and are tremendously honored to carry out her mission by expanding the presence of HMF youth programs and resources,” said Beth Shluger, founder and CEO of the Hartford Marathon Foundation. “Through this generous donation as a starting point to build from, the Susie Beris, MD Youth Running Program will reach many more middle and high school students, providing them with the support and the inspiration to positively impact them today and in the future.”

A designated HMF program coordinator will work with local school contacts and engage within the running community to expand the reach of the youth program platform, particularly focused on engaging more middle and high school students.

“Running has been an important part of my life for a long time. I know firsthand that it can provide tremendous physical and mental health benefits for our youth – I want to share that as far and wide as possible,” said Susie Beris, MD.

Members of the HMF community will be able to share their passion and help build the love of lifelong running in youth.  The long-term success of the program will depend on engaging volunteers and on the continued generosity of participants and partners to make donations supporting program sustainability.

Learn more about the Susie Beris, MD Youth Running Program and upcoming kids events at Follow the conversations on Facebook at HMF Events, Twitter at @RunHMF or Instagram at HMF_Events.

About the Hartford Marathon Foundation

The Hartford Marathon Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit organization founded in 1994 to create and manage fitness events that inspire people to be healthy and fit.  Located in Glastonbury, Connecticut, the Hartford Marathon Foundation organizes more than 30 annual athletic races, including the Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon, and training programs for youth runners.  For more information, visit and on Facebook at HMF Events, Twitter at @RunHMF and Instagram at HMF_Events.