Fast Races, Fun Times at the Synchrony Financial Rock ‘n’ Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon

The start of the Synchrony Financial Rock 'n' Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon on Oct. 8. Photo:

New York City’s most populous borough placed gracious host to thousands of runners at Saturday’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon. Smiles and high fives were never in short supply at the race’s finish line in beautiful Prospect Park amid the beauty and splendor of New York City in the fall.

The men’s race was a thrilling sprint to the finish among three New York City residents. Twenty-seven-year old Tadessa Dabi ended up edging out rival Tekeste Nekatibeb right at the line. Both runners clocked 1 hour, 4 minutes and 44 seconds. Fikadu Teferi, 23, was third in 1:04:51.

“The race was good,” said Dabi, who admitted afterwards that he edged out his fellow teammates from the local West Side Runners club. “The weather was great. It helped me run fast. New York is beautiful.”

RELATED: Photos from the 2016 Synchrony Financial Rock ‘n’ Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon

Fourth place was awarded to one of the pre-race favorites: Jared Ward. The 28-year-old Kaysville, Utah, resident had placed sixth in the Olympic marathon in August in Rio and had said before the race that he had lower expectations for his Brooklyn showing, given that his Olympic race was less than two months ago.

“This was a good workout for me,” Ward admitted afterwards.

After grueling weeks of running 120 miles, Ward had been taking a rest break and is now starting to get back into shape. After his half marathon on Saturday, Ward reflected on his amazing Olympic performance.

“I feel very blessed for my showing at the Olympics,” he said. “Wearing the USA jersey was motivating. They pulled me through the tough miles.”

But despite the fact that Ward didn’t make it to the podium in Brooklyn didn’t mean he didn’t have a good time.

“It was an awesome course,” he said. “It’s fun. I’d love to come back. The out-and-back nature of the course meant more people were cheering for me when I was coming back in. I got a lot of high fives out there.”

The women’s half marathon was a much more decisive affair with Bizuwork Kasaye breaking the finish-line tape in 1:17:22—more than 2 minutes ahead of second-place finisher Mihiret Anamo Antonius (1:20:04). Alex Roudayna De La Hau was third in 1:20:43.

Joining the participants in the race on Saturday was Nev Schulman the host of the MTV show Catfish, who PR’d on the speedy Brooklyn course.

“It was the best race of my life,” he said. “I wish I could have run slower so I could have enjoyed it longer,” he joked. Schulman loves the concept of running’s simplicity. “I travel a lot, so I stay in a lot of hotels and all I need is a pair of running sneakers and you can get out there in the morning. You can clear your head and start your day right. It’s really changed my life. Particularly the Rock ‘’n’ Roll races. You see all kinds of people out here. The energy is great with the bands. It makes it a blast.”

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