- 13.1 miles/Half Marathon
- Road Race
I know a lot of people love this race, but I am not one of them (don't ask why I keep signing up for it). There are a lot of positives, to this race, but a lot of negatives too.
Let's start with the expo. They advertise it as a huge party and they do try and make it one. They have food trucks and drink options. The merchandise available is surprisingly small, but it is honestly a hassle to get to. They hold it on the waterfront in Brooklyn, which allows for amazing views of the Manhattan Skyline, but also involves a 1-2 miles walk from any subway station to get to it. At least this year they did put up signs near the subway when you get off to let you find it easier (last year they did not). For the record, you can pick up other people's bibs provided you have their number and a copy (on paper or on your phone) of their photo ID.
This race is huge. It is one of the largest in the country. This leads to 2 different feelings. Excitement for being part of something on this scale and then annoyance for the hassle this causes. There are metal detectors the runners have to go through to get to the corrals which causes congestion. Once you get past there, there are 30 corrals divided into 2 waves. Depending on when your corral is, you could possible end up starting an hour after your wave started. Not to mention, once the wave begins, all the corrals are released at the same time so you have this slow moving herd to get to the start.
This race is often advertised as a nice flat course, which is true, after mile 5/6, once you leave Prospect Park. I don't know how it's possible but that park is entirely uphill. It's scenic and pretty and has great crowd support, but it's all uphill.
Once you're out of the park, you head down Ocean Parkway for pretty much the remainder of the race. Ocean Parkway is flat and wide open so crowding isn't an issue here. What is an issue is the water stops. There are plenty of them, but they are only on one side of the 4 lane road. And that one side is the side opposite of the side with the shade. So basically if you wanna run down the left side of the road, you need to zig zag the entire time (about 8 miles) to get to the water/fuel stops. As I mentioned, Ocean Parkway is wide so it's a little bit more of a bigger deal than usual to have to do this.
You end the race running on the Boardwalk at Coney Island, which is great and I love it and is my favorite part of the race. However, you spend about .1 of a mile running on the Boardwalk. I would love to cover more distance on the Boardwalk.
After you finish they give you a cup of water. Not a water bottle like every other race. A cup. So you can't re-hydrate at the end of the race at your own desired pace. This is a major pet peeve of mine.
Also, if you are planning on meeting up with someone at the end of the race, be very specific about meeting times and locations because there is no cell phone service at the finish line. All the phones are tied up and it is pretty much impossible for a phone call or text to get through when you send it.
Basically, this race is cool and has it's moments, but honestly, I can't say I would recommend this race. It's not cheap, not a great course, and rather poorly thought out in some aspects given it's size.