With just three weeks left until the Brooklyn Half Marathon, it’s time for me to talk about the course.
I love this race because it runs through the borough of my birth and saw the birth of both of my parents. And, when running down Ocean Parkway, we run near my father’s high school as well as other sights from my childhood that remind me of hanging with my grandparents. It’s literally a run down Memory Parkway, if you will.
If you’re running this race for the first time, some knowledge essentials include that fact that this race is huge. With more than 26,000 finishers last year, it’s the largest half marathon in the country! And, as if I need to write this, it’s crowded at the start. It’s also pretty flat for most of the race (which I’ll get into below), but once you’re out of Prospect Park, you’re pretty much home free.
Brooklyn Half Marathon: The Course
Line up is on Eastern Parkway with the race actually starting at the corner of Eastern and Washington Avenue.
Brooklyn Half Marathon Miles 1 – 4
The course starts with a half mile trek down Washington Avenue and then U-turns onto Flatbush for an out and back around the arch at Grand Army Plaza. Washington Avenue is a slight downhill while Flatbush a slight uphill (less than 70′ over 0.5 mile). So what you drop on Washington, you gain back and then drop again on Flatbush (since it’s an out and back).
From Flatbush, you run some of the perimeter of Prospect Park down Ocean Avenue and Parkside Avenue and then U-turn into the park. The course is pretty much flat here with some very slight undulations.
Brooklyn Half Marathon Miles 4 – 5.5
The course starts to rise slightly at just about the mile 4 mark and in another half mile (at 4.6) kicks up for about 3/4 of a mile. This is the only significant uphill in the race. Once you’re past this, you’re practically home free!
Brooklyn Half Marathon Miles 5.5 – 7
You get to relax for the next 1.5 miles as the course is flat and when you hit 6.25, you actually lose all the altitude you gained at the 5.5 mark. Meaning, you lose about 110′ over ~3/4 mile – it’s a downhill! The only significant one on the course.
Brooklyn Half Marathon Miles 7 – 12.5
Once you exit the park, you drop down onto Ocean Parkway and follow it straight down to Surf Avenue. The second half of the race is pretty much a straight shot down Ocean Parkway and is either flat or a slight downhill the entire way; you drop 50′ over this part of the course.
Brooklyn Half Marathon Miles 12.5 – 13.1
Take it in, this is the most fun part of the race and it only lasts about six tenths of a mile. Follow the flat road onto the arc that takes you to Surf Ave, follow it to the right turn at the world famous Cyclone and then the short (and what feels like steep) ramp onto the boardwalk for less than 1/10 of a mile. Keep in mind that the boardwalk is springy and will either help with your aching joints or exacerbate them.
Here’s the full elevation chart:
If you’re running, look for me at the finish line. I’ll be there for a while after my race filming people as they cross for my video.
Remember to smile and have fun!
Here’s my video from 2014 (my all time favorite) to get you excited!