We won’t lie. (Ha. Actually we lie all the time. Who’re we kidding? Anyway.) We’re not lying now when we say that we used to hate running. We used to think that running was terrible. We used to think that running was the worst. But you know what? We were wrong. (It happens!) A few years ago, we actually got pretty into running and realized that there’s no greater thing that a person can do than exhaust their own physical resources in pursuit of a higher plane of pleasure. And running is one way of doing that! (Not, of course, the only way, but we’ll save that conversation for another blog post.) All of which is to say, we now love running. And runners. Which, you should too. And what better way to celebrate that love than by participating in some, or even all, of the festivities surrounding the 2014 Brooklyn Half-Marathon? None! There is no better way. So let us now guide you through said festivities!
So, let’s talk a little bit about this particular 13.1 mile race. And, no, we won’t be doing it Vox-style, i.e. “What is a half-marathon?”; “What is running?”; “What are sneakers?” But we do have some straight facts for you. First, the Brooklyn Half—taking place this Saturday, May 17—is one of the highlights of the New York Road Runners (NYRR) Five-Borough Series and, as per the NYRR Brooklyn Half website, “will take runners on a 13.1-mile journey through the heart of Brooklyn, from the rolling hills of Prospect Park through Grand Army Plaza, through a myriad of historical communities, to a one-of-a-kind finish on the world-famous Coney Island boardwalk.” This year, the race is expected to have up to 25,000 runners participating (a record!), which is no surprise to anyone who wanted to register and found that the race sold out incredibly quickly (we’re talking minutes!). But even if you’re not running it, there are still an abundance of ways to get involved with the fun. And if you are running it? Start living it up now, because by Saturday night, you’re not going to want to do anything except lie on your back with your feet up binge-watching, I don’t know, Enlightened. Anyway. Here’s everything you need to know:
Pre-Party Hosted by New Balance
This actually kicks off today! So get yourself over to Pier 2 in the Brooklyn Bridge Park where there will be live music (including Sinkane, Radical Dads, Porcelain Rafts, and Oberhofer), an outdoor beer garden, food provided by local restaurants and vendors (including One Girl Cookies, Morris Grilled Cheese, Chickpea & Olive, Palenque, and more!), and fitness classes. Plus! There’s a chance to participate in the excellent Recycle Your Soles program, in which you can donate your running shoes (no matter how lightly or heavily used) and receive a $25 gift certificate for New Balance (while supplies last). Oh, and this is also where you pick up your bib and other race materials if you’re running.
Location and Hours:
Pier 2, Brooklyn Bridge Park: 150 Furman Street, DUMBO
Wednesday, May 14: 12pm-9pm
Thursday, May 15: 12pm-9pm
Friday, May 16: 12pm-9pm
Run the City
Do you like discounted things? Of course you do. The NYRR’s Run the City Pass (which can be downloaded here) allows runners (and friends of runners!) to visit shops and restaurants all over Brooklyn and get great deals and discounts. Participating spots include JackRabbit Sports, Jacques Torres Chocolates, NOS Boutique, The Farm on Adderley, and Ruby’s Bar and Grill. Check out the full list here: nyrr.org
Where to Watch
So, let’s say you’re not running, but still want to cheer someone (anyone!) on? This is a great idea, really, because there’s no energy like race-day energy, and just like the runners feed off the goodwill of the crowds lining the sidewalks, spectators can also enjoy a pseudo-high because there’s just so much happiness and energy in the air that it’s contagious. Aahhh!!! But you’ll need a good place to set up camp, and we’ve got some suggestions. While the race starts at the Brooklyn Museum, the best places to see runners (and the points in the race where runners need the biggest energy boost from the crowds) will be along the Ocean Parkway stretch of the run. Sure, it’s gently sloping downhill, but these runners are probably tired after conquering the massive hill in Prospect Park. You could also stake out a place near the lake in the Park, which is close to where the runners exit before their straight shot down to Coney Island. Plus, from there, you’re right near the F train, which you can take down to Coney Island so that you can see the end of the race.
Surely there’s no better post-race atmosphere than that of Coney Island? You’ll be on the beach, enjoying the (hopefully) balmy spring weather, plus there will be discounted admission to the Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, Coney Island Tours, and Luna Park. Go on the Sling Shot! It’s the most fun. Or, just drink a lot at Peggy O’Neill’s. It’s up to you! You do you. See you at the boardwalk on Saturday!
All Brooklyn Half info can be found here at nyrr.org
Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen