Brooklyn Marathon & Half Marathon

100 - 200 €
5.6

Location

8.0/10

Course

7.0/10

Atmosphere

7.0/10

Organization

3.0/10

Budget

3.0/10

Pros

  • The location
  • Beautiful medal
  • Optional services

Cons

  • Long queues everywhere
  • Too many mails, losing important info
  • Difficult to check in bags

Year of 1st edition:2011
World Athletics Label Road Race:No
Expected participants:20000 (42K + 21K)
Distances:42K, 21K
Type of race:City run
Time limit:6h 35min (42K); 4h 30min (21K)

The Brooklyn Marathon and Half Marathon is a young but very popular race, entirely run in the vibrant Brooklyn.

The number of participants has grown consistently and today the race hosts about 20000 runners, in the two classical distances of the full and half marathon.

This was my first participation to a race outside Europe, and I was curious to see the differences in the organizations, and the behavior of runners and spectators. From this perspective the experience was not disappointing at all!

The booking process

The website provides all necessary info and it is an easy booking process. I was surprised by the price, on the very high end, considering that a series of options – including VIP packages (!) with amenities like entry for yourself and one guest (not another participant) to a private post-race area on race day that includes tables, chairs, dedicated food and hydration for VIPs and guests only.

I went for the basic package that was already 135 $ in the moment I booked, several months before the event. In my view, very much on the high side.

I had to ask some info contacting the organisation via Email: the time to answer was extremely fast, and the replies kind and professional. One important thing: you will receive many Emails from the organization. These Emails explain in full detail what is going to happen, and provide some extra news. Unfortunately, the risk with this volume of info is that important details may be diluted, and lost. Remember to check the Emails from the organization, especially in the weeks before the race.

The organization

What I am going to say is clearly influenced by the Covid-19 rules, that affected the participation to the event. First of all, to participate, as well as to attend the expo you needed a proof of vaccination. Since I named it, let’s start with the Expo!

The location, the beautiful complex of Industry City at the harbour, is amazing also to spend time after picking up the BIB, with its local restaurants and bars.

The queue to the expo was extremely long, and slow. Before entering have to show a proof of vaccination, and to wear a mask. I believe (and hope) that the end of Covid-19 will improve this situation, but my warning is: the queues can be very long.

Let’s move to the day of the event. Something with high room for improvement is the split in different corrals. We were divided in three groups: Tier 1: all the marathon runners, and half marathon runners with a high pace. Tier 2 had the medium-paced half marathon runners (I was there). Finally, Tier 3 with slower-paced half marathon runners.

Since the start between groups were only 20 minutes apart, I hit the “wall” of the slow pace marathon runners after some kilometers. It would have probably been more logic to distribute runners of both distances, based on their paces (and maybe more corrals).

If you aim for your personal best, and your time is anywhere between 1:40 and 2 hours, probably this is not the best race for you.

The organization strongly recommended to avoid checking bags, and that bag check would have been unavailable after 6:15 AM. This is because the trucks have to move from the starting area to the finish area. 6:15 AM is roughly one hour before the start. Now, with 12 °C (54 °F) the choice is between going “light” to the race, or run too warm.

There was a third option: to discard clothes before the starting line, which are collected and donated to a charity.

Another a big problem with the corrals, and the start in general, was again the queue. The organization clearly anticipated there was an high chance of queues before the start. This was mainly due to the checkpoints by NYPD with metal detectors. The procedure was slow and I barely made to the anticipated starting time, even coming more than one hour in advance.

I hope these areas will be improved by the organization, but please check, check and again check this aspect if you plan to run this race.

 

Seriously, long wait without a chance to warm up

The course

The route currently ran in 2022 starts in hip North Brooklyn and winds around the waterfront taking under the historic Williamsburg, Manhattan, and Brooklyn Bridges while delivering eye popping views of Manhattan.

From there, the route heads up the grand concourses of Fulton Street & Flatbush Avenue before passing through Grand Army Plaza and into historic brownstone Brooklyn before finishing in Prospect Park.

We were able to run below the majestic bridges, including the iconic Brooklyn bridge. The experience was very good, cheered by the locals – and the always present and curious tourists. The start is in the McCarren park, while arrival (for both distances) in the beautiful Prospect park.

The course could be faster, as discussed, at least in the mid-group, due to the corral distribution. The route consists of many flat parts mixed with sudden changes of elevation. It cannot be defined as a flat course in my view. The total ascent for my half marathon was 150m (492 ft).

The location and availability of refreshment points were OK, no complains about that.

   

Participation

The crowd of people was numerically high. Except points where we were moving into less urban areas, there was always someone cheering and greeting. I have noticed a difference in the way of doing it, compared to Europe. My feeling is that people here wanted to be more part of the show, with messages full of humor and catchy. In some cases successfully providing a smile on my face 🙂

However the “noise”, the participation, the encouragement and maybe the empathy I felt in races like Berlin or Copenhagen, was uncomparable. Personal opinion 🙂 .

Personal sensations

The temperature and weather conditions were perfect to run. I had to run with my wind jacket to my waist, as I was unable to check the bag before.

I was running this race in preparation to the Copenhagen Marathon, three weeks later. Therefore my aim was to test the race pace, without pushing to the very limit.

It went well, I ran in a satisfactory (for me!) 5:27 km/min (8:47 miles/min) without too many problem (besides the slalom when I reached to slower paced marathon runners). Nothing against and huge respect, only I think it would be beneficial for all to even the pace along the way.

I am a medal collector and the medal is beautiful. Comics style, a bit different from the usual: this contrast fits well in my collection!

The medal of 2022 edition

My girlfriend also completed the race, and therefore celebrations were in order. We chose a nice brewpub in Manhattan. A cold IPA is the perfect option for both recovery and celebration!

Conclusions

Going to New York feels always great. I had a chance to meet good friends, and see a part of the world I like. This race is vibrant, and interesting. But there are some organizational hurdles that I hope at least slipping away from the pandemic will help improving.


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One response

  1. Great synopsis of your experience, Pietro.
    Very impressed by your passion for marathons and running in general.
    I hope to join you in participating somewhere in the not too distant future!

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