This Saturday’s Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon — beginning near the Brooklyn Museum on Washington Avenue and extending to the iconic Coney Island boardwalk at Stillwell Avenue — is expected to draw 25,000 runners to the borough, including some of the area’s top elite runners.
Following the race, which is part of the New York Road Runners (NYRR) Five-Borough Series, athletes will have the opportunity to join their friends and families and reward themselves with hot dogs, beer, carnival rides and entertainment.
But before the runners set out on their 13.1-mile journey, they must visit Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 2 (150 Furman St.) to retrieve their race materials and enjoy some pre-race festivities.
Presented by New Balance, the Airbnb Brooklyn Half Pre-Party — expected to draw thousands of runners and their fans — is a free three-day festival that began May 13 and extends until Friday. On Thursday, the event is open from noon to 9 p.m.; on Friday runners can visit between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. The race commences Saturday morning at 7 a.m.
The pre-party waterfront location offers participants breathtaking views of Manhattan as they get pumped for the race with live music, snacks, fitness classes and the chance to pick up new running gear and apparel. Runners are required to visit with ID and registration forms in order to retrieve their bibs, but the event is open to the public.
Angela Im, a Brooklyn resident and Queens native who is running the Brooklyn Half Marathon for the third time this Saturday, is a seasoned long-distance runner who has run half marathons in each of New York’s five boroughs.
“Brooklyn has always been my favorite because of the time of year and the finish at Coney Island,” she told the Brooklyn Eagle on Wednesday. Im added that she loves the race because runners “get the gist of Brooklyn. It’s cool to see how [the race] is getting bigger and bigger, and [NYRR] is doing a great job of getting runners amped up for the race.”
Indeed, athletes are getting pumped for Saturday’s journey. Madeline Garber, a Manhattan resident who is also running the Brooklyn Half Marathon for the third time this year, told the Eagle she “can’t wait. To this day it’s one of my absolute favorite parts about being a New Yorker, finishing on that ramp in Coney Island.”
Allison Seelig, who lives in Park Slope and has been training for the race in Prospect Park, is excited that the pre-party offers the chance to visit a different Brooklyn neighborhood. “I actually haven’t been to Brooklyn Bridge Park yet, so I’m excited to check it out during the pre-party,” she told the Eagle.
In addition to having the opportunity to purchase accessories from an array of exhibitors, runners can also give back to the running community through NYRR’s Recycle Your Soles program. Running shoes and sneakers can be donated in exchange for a $25 coupon from New Balance (while supplies last), which can be used toward any purchase of $100 or more at the New Balance Manhattan store.
A variety of local food vendors and trucks are on-site, including the Mac Truck, Takumi Taco, Chickpea & Olive and others, along with local brewery Coney Island Brewing Co.
Other activities include local graffiti artists customizing race apparel, event postcard printing and an Instagram photo booth.
For the first time ever, the NYRR Kids’ Boardwalk Run at the Airbnb Brooklyn Half, part of the NYRR Youth Running Series, will bring 1,000 high school, middle school and elementary school students to Coney Island for a one-mile course along one of the most celebrated stretches of the boardwalk, beginning and ending at the Brooklyn Half finish line.
For more information on the Brooklyn Half Marathon, including a course map, visit nyrr.org.