On any given day, running through Brooklyn can be a real treat. The famous New York City borough is full of incredible sights—from the gorgeous foliage throughout the borough’s Prospect Park to the stunning architectural gems in its brownstones that line its iconic streets. But on Oct. 8, running through Brooklyn will be better than ever with the Synchrony Financial Rock ‘n’ Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon, thanks to a new course and several other key improvements to the overall racing experience.
Given some of the challenges participants experienced at the start last year, organizers immediately began working on changes that were needed to make this event even better, including adjustments to the pre-race experience before the starting gun sounds. The race’s start line will now be conveniently located outside the iconic Brooklyn Art Museum, and corrals will line up on Eastern Parkway, avoiding any congestion around the Grand Army Plaza area. Additional security screening checkpoint entrances have been added for a quicker and easier entrance into the corrals. And to minimize the stress of finding a bathroom before the start, additional porta pottys have been added in the start line village. Lastly, the gear check area has been moved closer to the start line on Flatbush Avenue near the library, for easy access to drop off items you’ll need post race.
Besides these key logistical improvements, the race has also undergone a slight course facelift. Course operations director Ted Metellus has been front and center with the new design and says the impetus for the change was to make the experience a better one for participants and their loved ones.
“We wanted to simplify the security screening process to the corrals at the start,” said Metellus, adding that the change was a win-win for everyone. “The NYPD and the Office of Special Events supported us, because the new course provides participants easy access to the start and gear drop.”
The key changes focus on the start and opening miles. Runners will line up next to the museum and then head out along the city’s tree-lined Eastern Parkway and then back on Kingston Avenue in the first two miles. Between the second and third mile, participants will make a left onto Washington Avenue and get some great visuals of the fall foliage in Prospect Park on their right.
Elevation is everyone’s friend at this point in the race. Runners will experience some nice descents at the start and right after the 2-mile mark (100-plus feet). By mile 3, Metellus says runners will be back on the 2015 course along Ocean Avenue filled with trademark NYC architecture of historic brownstones and beautiful apartment buildings. Elevation-wise, miles 4 to 8 are all about cruising on flat pavement and checking out the best parts of Brooklyn while jamming to entertainment along the sidelines.
The course begins to get challenging from mile 10 as runners turn into beautiful Prospect Park. A steep uphill awaits at mile 11, so runners should be sure to save “gas in the tank” for this final stretch, but the views of the park and the roar of the crowds near the finish line should help. The course flattens out in the final mile as a stunning finish line awaits everyone in the heart of one of New York City’s most charming green spaces.
“The Rock ‘n’ Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon course offers a little bit of everything in an urban course,” Metellus said. “It’s got its climbs and its descents. It has its straightaways and its turns. But during it all, you will be running down tree-lined streets and through a beautiful park.”
In addition to all the improvements this year, there are also a lot of great things from last year’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon that will remain the same. This race is one of the only running events to exclusively shut down major streets and landmarks in New York City’s most populous borough, which means runners will get an intimate and exclusive experience as they bound through parts of the Big Apple.
More good news: even more entertainment and cheer squads will be along the course than last year. So if you’re considering Brooklyn, don’t hesitate.