I used to call NY my home. For almost 10 years I lived in Battery Park city pre 9/11, then Hells Kitchen and the East Village after moving back from the West Coast once the dust had settled. I lived a good life there and love it. It is my home from home. I moved back to London in 2010 and only took up running two years later and so my races in the States have been limited. Still, I did enjoy them, although it is a long ass way to go for a race no matter how unique it is. Until this trip my US races had been limited to:
North Carolina Half – Around a NASCAR arena in 5 inches of icy water. You can’t get more fun that that.
Crescent City Classic – New Orleans, humidity that was so bad a stop in a portlaloo was akin to a day in a sauna, and someone was giving away free beer whilst charging a buck for water
Disney Wine and Dine Florida – a truly surreal race starting at 10.30pm during which I saw a platoon of Stormtroopers, and the photographer ruined my photo with Lilo and Stitch.
It is expensive to go all that way for a race, when I ran Disney I ran New Orleans 6 days later, to cushion the financial blow and so, with a spot for me at the Chicago Marathon the week before I decided to run the Brooklyn Half the following Saturday (although I was tempted by the full).
Chicago had taken a lot out of me. I was still ill going into it and my new shoes and post Tring Ultra hip thingy didn’t help either and it showed in the race photos.
Still, I had 6 days to recover before Brooklyn, deblister the old trotters, defailure the mind and, for want of a local term…
The race is part of the NYC Runs Series, with the Staten Island race the week before, and starts and ends in Prospect Park. It has a bit of a down at the start, a bit of an up at the end and, from the look of the route map, the Marathon would be a two lapper and, leading into the Chicago week I would not rule out upping my distance to the full.
The EXPO was in Brooklyn, a short Q train to Dekalb. It is housed in a small shopping centre with Trader Joe’s and artisanal food fayre on the lower level. Of course I went to both. Trader Joe’s is my joint. Who doesn’t want to blow $70 on 2 tubs of olive tapenade, a balsamic glaze and a fucking pumpkin? Upstairs is a Tar-jay (Target) and at street level you can buy 4 pop-up greeting cards (as seen on Shark Tank) for $40 and a book on building your own hydroponic tank to grow herbs.
The EXPO, in it’s own little area, was a bit minimal for what the race actually is, for all intents and purposes, a marathon with several thousand runners in one of the major cities in the world. Bib collection table, free tee collection, small stall for merch (I got the bobble hat after missing out on one in Chicago, a tee with the route on it (useful if you get lost) and a sticker for my suitcase). The rest? A few charity tables. There may have been a nutrition stand, but I don’t recall with certainty if there was one. Still, in and out in 5 minutes. So can’t complain.
HOW I DID or Zzzzzzzzzzzzz!
It was a 7am start for both full and half in Brooklyn meaning a 530am alarm call for me in Hells Kitchen after a Theatre District beer session the night before at Tootsie. Although the early start didn’t really matter as I suffer from terrible jet lag and was up all night anyway. Yup, you guessed it, there was…
I have always wanted to run in NY. I will get to the marathon there at some point. This was a nice taste of running in the 5 Boroughs. I recommend researching a second race when you fly all that way. Extending your trip by a few days and you could be running another race unlike those you get back home.
And if you choose Brooklyn, I would recommend the half but not the full. If I had run it the race would have scored pretty low. Free tee (tick) and the medal (tick) but the route was poor for them, little to no support for most of the course, no photos, and half of it going around the park dodging half runners and walkers.
I would not recommend wearing the free race tee as it chafed one of my nipples (righty) almost clean off.
WOULD I RECOMMEND THE BROOKLYN HALF? Yes.
WOULD I RUN THE BROOKLYN HALF AGAIN? No.
Given the night before, theatre, and a beer session in Hell’s Kitchen at my old haunts, I hadn’t eaten since lunchtime on the Friday. So come the early morning start, pre breakfast, I had nothing in my belly until the third Gatorade stop. Then the fifth. The 8th. They were generous with the water and Gatorade and it did energise me all the way to the end. After finishing though, grabbing by warm clothes and a mouthful of dry bagel, walking through the Grand Army Plaza monument to the 2 train I started feeling really unwell. Nausea took over, cold sweats and a stinking steaming subway. I thought I was going to throw up, pass out or both, so got out 2 stops down the line, sat on a bench on the platform and let it pass. I had been unwell leading up to the trip and I should have looked after myself better. Am a dumbass. Do not follow suit.