Congratulations! You’ve been accepted to the soldout NYRR AirBNB Brooklyn Half Marathon! It’s one of the Five-Borough series that we’ll be “recaping” on this blog. Last year, we had a whopping 229 Whippets who finished the Brooklyn Half out of the 26,440 finishers. This race is for both men and women, has charity spots, can be ran for club points, finisher medals are distributed, is a marathon qualifier, there’s prize money for the top runners (first place is $1000), and it is scored.
This iconic half marathon runs through Brooklyn and is the largest in the country. It’s also one of the highly anticipated races (maybe because Brooklyn Goes Hard)! From the pre-party to the main event, it’s something to experience. The run starts at the Brooklyn Museum around Grand Army Plaza goes through Prospect Park where runners will complete one loop before exiting the southwest corner onto Ocean Parkway and ends on the Coney Island boardwalk. Hopefully this entry will get you prepared for this event if it’s your first time. If you’re a streak-racer, like me—the author, please provide your tips that we haven’t covered in the comments section. In this entry we’ll cover where to pick up your bib, preview the course, discuss what to wear, talk race-day strategy so feel free to scroll through or read on:
1. Where to pick up (there’s no race day pick-up)
Lately the bib pickup has been in Brooklyn most appropriately. It’s a good time and it pays to go early (there’s no bib pickup on race day). On Wednesday-Friday (May 18th-20th, 2016) the bib pickup will be at Pier 2. The address is 150 Furman St, Brooklyn, NY.
Click Here for Google Directions
There’s directions listed at the Brooklyn Bridge Park website.
More than likely, you won’t miss the location since there usually is a flow of runners heading to and from that location who might be able to point you in the right direction. In past years, NYRR has also done a great job of having volunteers with signs who show you where to go. You can find more information on the NYRR website about getting there and also about sending a proxy if you’re unable to do your own bib pickup.
PETS ARE NOT ALLOWED AT THE PRE-PARTY.
2. Preview the course
You’re welcome to join the Whippets for the initial course preview in May at our meetup event. Otherwise, be familiar with the elevation. There’s only one major (very minor if you’ve been doing the current Brooklyn Half Training Plan) hill in Prospect Park.
As you can see from the elevation it’s quite brief and it occurs partially into the park.
I like this hill, since it’s my sanctuary run in Brooklyn, it’s gradual and the best way I’ve ran it is by maintaining effort (not speed) it curves around and once your get to the top, keep pushing and get back into momentum with speed because there are tiny inclines and declines coming up. The rest of the run in the park should be fun because coming out there’s a downhill getting you to the second part of the course. This all works fine with negative splits and you shouldn’t be burned out if you trained well.
That second part of the route is fast along Ocean Parkway to a fun little incline onto the boardwalk that welcomes you prior to the last few meters.
Download the course here.
3. What to wear
Mother Nature has been unpredictable lately and last year there was a downpour towards the end for some runners (myself included although in the first wave). From 2010-2015 it has been anywhere from 55-62 degrees, humidity from 56-96% and the wind can be calm or up to 10 mph.
Not sure what this year’s unpredictable weather will be but it doesn’t hurt to bring one light removable layer. It gets warm once you start running but since the race is so large, it might take awhile before starting depending on which wave you’re in. Learning from last year’s torrential downpour, I’ve decided to bring a visor. I also wear buff gear that I use around my neck and head to trap my body heat and remove them if I get warmer (seems to help). For the past years it has been mild, with overcast skies while running (at the time I’ve started) but some others have had bright skies and warm temperatures.
REMEMBER TO BRING A CHANGE OF CLOTHING FOR THE END. One year that I did this, it was chilly at the end before I went to the after party.
4. How to get there
I do live in the best borough and have the convenience of not having to go very far to the race but some people commute from further. Your best bet is to get there early. For races that I have had to do outside of Brooklyn, it’s not abnormal for me to leave at 5am. It might have to be the same for others who do not live near here. Not only that, the finish is in Coney Island—that’s another adventure to discuss so plan accordingly! In the past, friends have stayed over or commuted together to make it easier.
Use any of the previously mentioned apps to figure out when to get there. The start time is 7:00am HOWEVER, this does not include dropping your bag to the designated corral trucks (THEY WILL LEAVE). So, once you got your bib, be sure to check the pamphlet and the NYRR website to see when the last bag check is. Best bet is to have more time than necessary to avoid faux pas—I’ve seen them.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE ARE DESIGNATED STOPS IF YOU’RE TAKING THE TRAIN.
You have to go through security so give that time also. Do bring a snack or pre-race fuel, if you need those, and relax before the race.
You might be waiting awhile if you’re early but NYRR has been great at ensuring that there are more than enough portable toilets.
5. Run your race
Personally, this is actually a great course for negative splits like I mentioned earlier. You can do that comfortable pace on the hill and coasting all the way through the end. If you’re targeting a goal, it helps to sign up for a pace group. Look out for the pace forms sent out for the Weekly Wag to sign up for your half marathon goal.
While running out there, be sure to look out for our fantastic photographers, like Ben Ko (if he’s covering the race), and marathon foto and give them a smile!
In the past years, as the race got larger, it started in waves. It goes quickly so you will likely see people moving up a little at a time. No worries there—the time counts when you cross the time mat.
Be familiar with the map if you’re targeting a goal.
There’s water stations between miles 1 & 2, a little after the 5K mark before mile 4, before mile 5, before 6, before 7 and at 8, 9, 10, 11, 12.
Once you’re headed out of the park at mile 7, you will be greeted by spectators so use that to carry you onto Ocean Parkway until you see more at stops. It’s a good time to fuel up by then if you use gels so taking note that the fluid station is before the mile 7 mark helps.
Medical is located at each mile mark out of the park but is located in two areas before you head out of the park (before mile 3 and at mile 6).
When you get on the boardwalk and cross the finish, keep moving after you get your medal and continue to the signs if you have a checked bag.
Last year it was convenient to have family members and friends wait for you by letters of the alphabet posted. Sometimes signal for cellphones are spotty in this area of the boardwalk (with the thousands running). The volunteers are quite efficient at retrieving your baggage once they see you approaching.
6. Check our meetup for Post-HM Afterparty!
In the past we’ve had a potluck/picnic/get-together at the beach, where we stockpile a car with various eats. So, look out for that!
Best of luck and wishing you PRs and a race well-ran! See you on the flyby on Strava! If you have any tips, leave them in the comments! We’ll edit between now and May 21st, 2016 and send you reminders via our social platforms like facebook, twitter and instagram.
Photos by Ben Ko