I know you all have been asking me for a post like the one I did for the NYC Half/Marathon, but I don’t think we need something that long for this race, but still, here you go… Not sure I am an expert on this one (I don’t go to Brooklyn enough!) but this will be my ELEVENTH Brooklyn Half in a row, and all my GPS data matches, and I do have a bunch of years of race reports I can check back on (which helps a lot to write this!).
First, get excited, here’s a few of my pictures, more on the links below.
With this cheating sheet you won’t be surprised or have any reason to fade off in the second half. This course is easy to take on, quite similar to the NYC Half actually, but faster (there’s less hills, no wind in the second part, and a faster last mile -NO TUNNEL!)
- Green is DOWNHILL (fast!!!)
- RED is UPHILL (careful!)
- and YELLOW is FLAT (you got this!)
This is what the elevation profile looks like:
If you want to click on the course elevation and get more details (so you know exactly where everything is on the map) that’s all here. I compared the last two years and I got the same (160.65 ft elevation vs 162.03 ft, but pretty similar).
HOW to run this race?
Race starts (awesome sight of the Brooklyn Museum) downhill, for a half mile, then up for another half mile while you run towards the Grand Army Plaza (which you’ll run around), then up and down again. Something to look forward to on the second mile is the rest of the runners in front or behind you. I love turnarounds, heeeey heeeeey everyone!
These red parts are not big HILLS ok? Nothing to worry about, check up the elevation on the chart above, and you’ll see. Very very manageable and sweet.
Course is very scenic and pretty quiet until you get to the Prospect Park Hill (there’s only one) (does it even have another name???) a bit after Mile 4.5. It’s looong and you can’t see where it ends but it’s also not super bad. Check the elevation above again (almost comparable to Harlem Hill). You have a nice down after the hill another tiny bump in the course and then you’re in the clear. All downhill or flat from here. Seriously, the bumps (can’t call them anything else, they’re NOT hills!) are done before Mile 6!!!
Part 2 is when you crank up the heat (STFU!). The race is flat or downhill past mile 6 so you have a lot of room to play with. I’d run the first part very carefully (aka slowish) so you can spread your wings in the second part. You could start part 2 right after the hill in Prospect Park, right before Mile 6. I like to start when I exit the park because, mentally, it’s an easier break. Park: slow. Not Park: FIRE!!!
Once you exit the park (Mile 7), you will be in Ocean Parkway all the way until the last mile of the race. There’s a steep downhill into the parkway, be ready for it! Just past that, it’s OPEN, it’s wide, there’s tons of space and people to chase down. This is the best part, because you can really go crazy here. Some people will tell you it’s boring and there is nothing to look at, etc. It’s a highway, it might be… There’s less spectators than in the park, it’s quiet and it’s just a STRAIGHT LONG road to the finish. But it is, to me, an amazing opportunity to zone out, drive hard and bring it in. Choose a runner ahead (not the one right there, the other one!) and focus. Or count down the avenues (they’re lettered!). Once you make the right turn, you’ll have about half a mile, you make a left at some point, go up a ramp, and a right into the boardwalk to run about 200 meters (in the boardwalk!) straight to the finish line!
Other tips and things you should know:
- Pre-Race Party is a blast. Bring your friends. Come with time to enjoy BK (pics here and here from 2016), there’s food vendors, drinkies, and cool Brooklyn gear to buy (start saving now!)
- On race day, take your time to get to the start. Weekend trains can be more sporadic so plan for it, ok? If you don’t want to plan: leave early and follow ANY runner. We are all going to the same place. No Race Before The Race!
- Every year they’ve had portapotties inside the corrals. Lifesaver.
- Last year they had these big water dispensers at the start. Bring your own bottle!
- Course is really fun. you’ll see a lot of locals and teams cheering. Holla back!! Have your own party on the road.
- It can be crowded in the first few miles. Please be careful and try to not use headphones. It really really spreads out in the second part and you might miss the coziness of the park.
- Bring sunglasses, or a hat/visor: the 2nd part doesn’t have a lot of shade.
- Boardwalk running can be tricky so please watch your step and pick your feet up a bit more than usual, ok?
- Don’t trust your cell phone to find people after the race. Make specific plans on where to meet people as cell service might be spotty out there in old Coney (worst for some than others based on your provider).
- Also bring swim-wear, a beach picnic is a must after you pick up your medal and some funnel cake (or hot dog from Nathan’s Original store if you will!)
It’s tricky. Either it’s great to race in (40s, 50s) or great to have a picnic at the beach after (60s and over). Either way, it’s a win win!!
Historical data for reference:
- 2016: 58 degrees, humidity 60%, wind 5 mph
- 2015: 62 degrees, humidity 76%, wind S 5 mph
- 2014: 58 degrees, 67% humidity, wind NW 10 mph.
- 2013: 59 degrees, 72% humidity, wind SE 3 mph
- 2012: 58 degrees, 56% humidity, wind calm.
- 2011: 55 Deg., 96% Hum., Wind 5mph
- 2010: 58 Deg. 86% Hum. Wind 6mph
If you go to the corresponding race report (below) you’ll see what I wore each year (and if it was a “racing or beach” year!)
It’s here. Adjusted for the course, though you can adjust it as you like.
More and more here:
- 2016 Airbnb Brooklyn Half Pre Party and 2016 Airbnb Brooklyn Half – a race to remember
- 2015 Race Report with lots of pictures and info. At the bottom you’ll see why you have to start slow, I have a comparison of times of all the people who finished around me, and where they were at all times. It’s crazy.
- 2015 What the expo looks like omg the fun!!!!
- 2014 Race Report which is more like an official Race Review, plus a lot of examples of how to have a picnic in the beach after, if the weather is nice.
- 2014 Expo, it was a different venue then, but also fun
- 2013 Race Report, also a lot of race details and photos. Plus another example at the bottom of how people start too fast and fade off. UGH.
Questions? Comment know below and I’ll answer!
Am I missing something? also lmk below!
Can I ask you for something? After the race, would you come back and let me know how it went, or what went right/wrong, or what you’d add to these tips?
Great summary. Have you ever run the Montreal Marathon
I had a really good run at Philly Broad Street on Sunday, and now I’m psyched for the Brooklyn Half, so for a change, I’m planning. This post is *brilliant*, and I’ve used your excellent Excel sheet to produce my own pace band. Thank you! Between your strategy and the pace band, this might be a big PR for me. We’ll see . . .
Glad to hear that Joan! Happy to help!!!! Definitely come back after the race and let me know how it went ok???
So exciting, love your blog! My brother Kevin helped me get into the NYC Half and now the Brooklyn Half! Your NYC Half tips were so much fun to read and this time I will pay closer attention to your pace sheet for Brooklyn, now that I got all the jitters out with my first half. I’m no where near as fast as you and Kevin, but I’m just happy to be a part of these races!!! You are a gem in the running community, thank u so much for sharing your priceless input. Hope to meet u someday!!! ❤
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Didn’t we meet somewhere?!?!? Was it at the NYC Half expo????? I think so!!!!!
speed is not the most important thing, that you have fun is. I think knowing what is coming up helps us plan and relax, right? Hope I see you again soon, maybe on the course in two weeks!??!?
omg How could I not remember meeting YOU?!!! So sad I missed you on Saturday but I had an amazing time too!!! I will keep seeing you on IG for now, love all your posts!!! xo
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I remember Kevin was taking pictures (isn’t he always???) thank you!!!
I’m coming from France for my first half-marathon ever and it will be Brooklyn in 10 days.
I was a bit stressed when I find you blog and your tips to the BK half.
I just want to say THANK YOU. Reading you this morning makes me want to be get there and enjoy the run.
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Sure!!! Enjoy!!! hope you have a great race! Viva La France!!
I really wanted to thank you for your blog but never took time to do so.
The 2016 BK Half was my first race. I tried to remember to begin slow. Well, I forgot as soon as I crossed the startline! I beat my 5 and 10K PR that day!!!
My objective was not too high (2h) because I really didn’t know what to expect after mile 10. I managed to finish in 2h03 and 26s. What a pleasure to run in Brooklyn!!! I hope I can be here next year.
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This is great. Congratulations on the PR!!
Love the summary!!!! I will memorize it! First time brooklyn half for me, this is so helpful. Love it
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i am sure you’ll be amazing!
I found you on Instagram and I’m thankful for it because this is my first half marathon ever.
The article took away some of my worries as well as my nervousness.
And now I have found a new blog I can Bing read 🙂
Good run this Saturday 🙂
Thanks Daniela! glad to help!
you’ll love this race, you’ll see. it’s so much fun! Let me know if questions and come back after and report back!
Great details on the course! There is a small uphill around Avenue J. It’s relatively tiny but since it’s around the 8.5 mile point, any uphill can be a bit of a drag. Also want to point out that Avenue Z is not the end! It’s fun to countdown the alphabet but don’t think the race is over just because you’ve run out of letters.
Yes and yes, two GREAT points! thank you!!!!!!!!!!!