Let’s preface this by saying we LOVE the Brooklyn Half and have for years. We’re a little biased.
If you read our tips for a great race, you’ll know this was Sirrah’s fourth and Katie’s third time running the race. Each year there are slight nuances that make it different, but mainly it’s your personal experience that really brings it to life.
Expo: We traveled by ferry which led to many tourist photos and much singing of “I’m on a boat.” Once there we were able to find the expo simply by following the other people from the ferry/walking the way the runners with packets were coming from. There were food trucks, craft beer, a human sized hamster wheel, NYRR insider lectures (which told us there were aid stations at every mile – very good to know!), race branded clothing and other runner essentials for purchase, a DJ, mini golf and many locations for photo ops.
In our race tips we mentioned that Ryan didn’t enjoy the expo last year when he went to pick up everyone’s bibs by himself. This expo was clearly meant to be enjoyed with friends. It isn’t particularly convenient to get to, but if you go with friends and leave yourself time to explore and get some snacks it is definitely a fun time.
Weather preparations: we all knew it was going to rain, it was just a matter of when the sky would fall out. For Wave 1 runners it dropped close to the finish, but for Wave 2 runners it was in the park. We ran 4-5 miles in the rain varying in degrees of downpour. For most of the duration it was a light rain, but twice it was a full on downpour. This caused runners to be more aware of their stride to be mindful of possible chafing. We had brought ponchos for the start (the rain had been forecasted for when Wave 2 was standing in the corrals), but these were no good for the race itself.
The rain was pretty refreshing and Katie felt like she was being baptized through the race. Sirrah didn’t love the rain quite as much but appreciated that the rain falling meant less humidity hanging in the air. She did realize during the second downpour that rain leads to chafing and three quarter length pants might have been smart.
The most impressive part of the weather is that volunteers and spectators were still out (some without umbrellas) and in GREAT spirits. Some spectators even had the forethought to bring clear trash bags to cover their signs. How smart is that?!
Our favorite spectators and volunteers are:
Mile 9: Brooklyn TNT Member in a speedo cheering everyone on. He’s been doing this for the past 3 years at least, and it puts a smile on everyone’s face.
Mile 10 NYPD officer: “SHOW ME YOUR 10 MILE SMILE!”
Mile 11.5 Dashing Whippets Coach: “Your race, your pace!” YES! Thank you!
Mile 12.5 TNT Coach: “The beer at the end isn’t going to drink itself!”
Post-Finish Line Father Looking For His Family: “You think you’re tired? I’ve been holding this sign since 6am!”
Race Price: 4 $85 for NYRR members.
Organization: 4– This race, like most NYRR races, was well organized and had tons of helpful, friendly volunteers.
Level of Communication: 4– Also very good. I appreciated the handouts they gave everyone at the expo that told them what time their waves/baggage check opened and closed.
Race Course: 4– I love this race for the finish, not so much for the overall course. Half the course is loops outside of and inside of Prospect Park and the other half is a straight line down Ocean Ave. The course it’s self is a little boring, but it is fast and there is enough energy from the spectators and other runners that is a really fun run.
Swag: 2- I’m giving them some points for organizing a pre-party that is unique and fun. Also, I have to say, I don’t expect swag at every race, and usually we don’t include a grade for this if there is none, BUT this race is clearly trying to gets it’s name out as a major event and as such, it’s surprising to not even find one of those seemingly ubiquitous mini Luna Bars that seem to grace every race bag ever.
T shirt: 2– I had two big problems with this t-shirt. 1. They ran out of women’s sizes by Friday, which I know is a hazard of going to pick-up on the last day, but I’m still going to complain about it. 2. It is black which is, in my opinion, always the worst color for any running shirt since we do a good deal of our running in warm weather.
Medal: 4– I like the 5-borough series medals a lot because they always depict some iconic local imagery – usually something you actually see on the course. They kind of feel like souvenirs from your run through the borough.
Post Race Swag: 2 – This was pretty bad. Apples, pretzels, and paper cups of water and Gatorade. Guys, where were the bagels?! Where was my free mini Luna bar at this end?! Where was a bottle of water to take with me while I navigate the chaos after the finish not to mention the hour + train ride home?! And for a race where rain was predicted days in advance, where were the heat sheets? [Katie did see heat sheets, but there were none to be seen when Sirrah, or either of our boyfriends finished]
Spectator Support: 5 – Awesome. Cheering all along the course, great signs, great cow bell. Thank you people of Brooklyn!
Overall Score: 3.5