Christine Stuart photo
Beth Shluger, race director (Christine Stuart photo )

The Hartford Marathon and its new title sponsor, ING, are turning the race route both orange and green this year.

Race Director Beth Shluger said Monday that in order to set itself apart from marathon’s in New York and Boston, Hartford decided to become the healthiest and greenest marathon around.

Last year it was able to eliminate 10,000 plastic water bottles at the finish line with a 70-foot-long, 40-person water bubbler invented by United Technologies Corp. engineers, she said.

In addition to the bubbler, along the race course this year runners will drink from biodegradable cups made from corn and the race merchandise will be made from bamboo.

“This year, we’re excited that the Council for Responsible Sports is considering our event for certification and looking at it as a role model for all marathons,” Shluger said in a press release. “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.”

Christine Stuart photo

In its first year as title sponsor of the marathon, ING, has embraced the theme of going green and through the company’s ING Foundation, it donated $10,000 to Knox Park Foundation to plant 26 new trees along the marathon route.

Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez said the trees will help beautify the city’s urban forest and help clean 2,400 pounds of carbon out of the city’s air. And in case you were wondering there are 568,000 trees in the city, Perez said.

Aside from the greening of the marathon, officials unveiled a new orange street sign at the corner of Trinity and Elm Streets: “ING Hartford Marathon Way.” The corner is both the start and the finish for the race.

This will be the Hartford Marathon’s 15th year. The race is expected to draw more than 10,000 runners and give the local economy a $3 million boost.

The race will be held Saturday, Oct. 11, but there are a number of pre-race activities. Please check out the web site for more information.