Race Day Planning For The United NYC Half Marathon!

So you are running the United NYC Half Marathon? Congratulations are in order because this race is not easy to get into! Now that you have gotten into the race, running and completing the race is not the only thing that you may have to worry about. Preparing for this race physically, mentally, emotionally and logistically can be a huge task. The version of this course was run in 2018 for the first time, so even if you have run a lot of races in New York City, this race may still be relatively new to you!

At this current time, I am hosting a United NYC Half Marathon Facebook group and as we did last year, each day we are discussing so many topics about this race. From training, to travel accommodations, to diets, to race prep, to holding local group runs and even hiring a few coach buses to take some of us to the start line of the race! We’ve been covering so much in this group and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it! (side note, we have similar groups open now for the Popular Brooklyn Half Marathon and the New York City Marathon!)

So I thought I would put this article together for everyone to benefit from the discussions that I had last year in the group. As time goes on I will be updating this post with new developments or changes to the race.

This post is heard towards out of towners running the race but there is definitely info in here for native New Yorkers as well. It’s a long read but I think there is something for everyone in here!

Getting Your Race Day Bib and the Expo

Getting your bib at the Expo is only the beginning of the fun!

Whether you are traveling in from out of town or whether you live here in New York City, you will have to make your way to the Half Marathon Expo. For those that live in the New York City area who are accustomed to picking up their race day bibs at the NYRR Run Center, that will not be an option this time around. Further, you will not be able to pick your bibs up on the morning of the race either! That makes it super important that you plan some time either on the Thursday (11:00am – 9:00pm), Friday (11:00am – 9:00pm)  or Saturday (9:00am – 6:00pm) before the race to make it down to the Expo. The Expo is located at 125 west 18th street, New York, NY 10011 (between 6th and 7th avenues).

* Note the times listed above for the expo were the times that the Expo was open in 2018. The hours of the expo have not been listed yet but will likely be listed a couple of weeks before the race. It is likely they will be similar but check back here closer to race day for the exact operating times of the Expo!

When heading to the Expo, give yourself some time to be there. Getting your bib and race shirt should be quick, but there is usually a lot of fun little things for you to see or do there. A race pacer booth will be set up so that you can speak with race pacers to talk about strategy to meet your desired goal time. I was able to confirm with NYRR that you will be able to pick up a “race pace” bracelet at the expo to help you keep pace with your desired goal time. These are several different bracelets each with a different goal time. The bracelet then tells you the mile splits you will need to hit in order to run that bracelet’s goal target time. Among other things to do at the expo is look for your name on the wall of runners, take some pictures or do some shopping from the racks of merchandise they are sure to have! The official race day gear sponsor New Balance will be on hand and sometimes you can score some free giveaways! Whatever it is, just give yourself some time at the Expo! You won’t regret it!

If you can’t fit some time in to get to Expo yourself, there is an option to send someone as your proxy to get your bib. That involves having your proxy bring a copy of your photo ID, with your name matching the name attached to the bib. Your proxy should also have a copy of your race day confirmation form. Your race day confirmation form can be found by logging into your NYRR account. This will be available a couple of weeks before the race so don’t panic about having that yet! While this is an option, you will miss all of the fun at the expo!

Know Your Transportation To The Start Line!

This is the first year that the course will start in Brooklyn and end in Manhattan. As such you will have to plan out your traveling plans in order to get to the starting line on time! The race is on a Sunday morning which means New York City subways will be operating with less trains than they usually do during the week. Further, the NYC MTA has a tendency of doing a lot of track work on weekends. This means give yourself lots of commuting time if you will be riding the subways to the race that morning. Last year,  New York Road Runners Club released a detailed diagram of Prospect Park and where runners will need to go to enter the starting corrals. Based on that diagram below, it looks like the Q, 4 & 5 trains are the preferred subways to take the start of the race. One important thing to note, even though it is advertised that the race will start in Grand Army Plaza, runners will have to enter the corrals on the other side of the park over by Flatbush Avenue & Empire Blvd. Make note of that and make sure you travel to the right location! Traveling to the Grand Army Plaza station will only make you walk all the way around to the start of the corrals.

Diagram of the starting line for the United NYC half!

One thing that I STRONGLY urge you to do is check out the service advisory section of the MTA website. They are notorious for scheduling track work or other maintenance that can severely affect train service on the weekend. The last thing you want to do is be on your way to the race, only to find out that morning that the train you planned on taking that morning was not working! Plan ahead! To assist with that, the MTA actually has a “Trip Planner” available. This trip planner takes into consideration any service advisories that may be in play that day. I tested this a couple of weeks back when I did my trial run of the course (click here to read my review of the course!). The day I used the Trip Planner, there were service advisories for the subway lines I used that day. The trip planner told me about them and factored them into my traveling time. I got to the starting line to meet my group for the trial run on time with no issues just as the trip planner had planned it out for me! For reference the name of the subway stops you can travel to are in the graphic above. Enter those subway station names into the trip planner along with the station you are traveling from.  It works – use it!

Aside from subways, NYC taxi cabs, Uber & Lyft are an option. Just keep in mind, traffic to that area will be heavy. Further street closures in Brooklyn leading up to the park may snarl traffic. Give yourself some time if you plan on taking some form of car service to the start! As for driving yourself, I strongly suggest against it. 25,000 people will be heading to the start area. I tried to park at Prospect Park a few weeks ago for a race that only had 5,000 participants and it was chaos on that day! Imagine having 5 times the number of runners and trying to look for parking! Leave your car at home!

Planning Your Day Before The Race

Many folks will be traveling into New York City specifically for the race. If you are like many of these folks, you might be getting to New York on Thursday, Friday or even Saturday. If you are lucky enough to get in Thursday or Friday, do your moving around the city those days. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be held on Saturday March 16th because St Patricks Day falls on a Sunday this year. The Catholic Church will not allow the parade to occur on a Sunday so the parade will be on Saturday instead! With that said, Manhattan is full of parade goers and party goers looking to seek a celebration or two in honor of the famous Irishman! The festivities always seem to end up in an abundance of alcohol being consumed so if you had your heart set on going to a restaurant or bar in Manhattan on this Saturday, just know that it may full of festive party goers enjoying St. Patricks’s Day. Further, getting around town may be tough on the day before the race as the parade route goes right up 5th avenue, smack dab in the middle of Manhattan. As I mentioned, plan your day on Saturday accordingly to work around the St. Patrick’s Day congestion.

There is no question that the St. Patrick’s Day Parade is the most popular parade in New York City and one to enjoy if you are ok with having a couple of drinks. But for the person who has trained for weeks in preparation for 13 miles on Sunday, you might want to skip the festivities this year. If you need to unwind with some beverages, seek out hotel bars or lounges who will likely not allow St Patrick’s Day revelers into their establishments. Better yet, by a bottle of wine or a 6 pack and sip comfortably and responsibly in your hotel room if you absolutely must, although personally, I recommend you save it for AFTER the race!

Dressing For The Race & Bag Check

What to wear come race day morning?

Weather in New York City in the month of March is extremely unpredictable. There have been 70 degree days in March and there have been insane snow storms in the month of March. In 2017, the race was run on the heels of a pretty strong snow storm during the week leading up to the race. The temperature at the start of the race was 30 degrees. In 2018 while there was no snow on the ground, the wind chills had the temperature feeling like 20 degrees. While the temperature could be cold at the beginning, it could warm up rather quickly as the race progresses as well. So how does one dress??

I suggest to wear some layers to the race that you will be comfortable parting with. There are close to 25,000 runners competing in the United NYC Half Marathon. This means that the bag check won’t be close to the starting line. In fact if you look at the graphic of the starting area above, the bag check is before you even enter the secure zone. Think hard about what you want to check in and what you will be able to bring with you thru security and to the starting corral. Keep in mind that you can only check in a clear bag. NYRR wants to see the contents contained in your bag. Also, I have confirmed with NYRR that your bag will be transported via courier to the finish line at Central Park so don’t worry about having to come back to Brooklyn to get your stuff! Check your bag in with confidence!

In terms of other items allowed past security, water bottles in excess of one liter will not be allowed. Camelpacks are also not allowed either. To be honest, those likely aren’t even needed. The race course will have a water station just about every mile along with some water stands that will include Gatorade. There is even a “Powebar Gel” station along the Half marathon route!

The security check point will include a metal detector and you will pass thru it like you do at an airport. Your cell phone, keys, money, etc., will go in a dish and then they will wand you and you will go thru a metal detector. All of this means that if you’re checking items into the bag check, you will have to do it early to give yourself enough time to get thru security. This could cause your wait in the corral to be anywhere from 30-60 minutes.

Going back to how you should dress, you will want to stay warm in the corrals for this period of time. This is where the extra layers come into play. Remember, it will be anywhere between 7am – 8am when runners start since there are two waves. Once your wave starts, you can peel a layer or two off and part with them by placing them in one of the several donation bins that will be lining the starting line area. That’s right, you won’t be seeing those items again, so plan accordingly!

Going back to checking in your items at the bag check, one thing to consider when packing your check-in bag, is that it may be cold or rainy this day. Consider packing a dry  or warm change of clothes in your check in bag for after the race. The last thing you want to have happen is to be standing around after the race in cold or wet clothes. You can easily duck into a portable john to get out of those wet clothes if you choose after you retrieve your checked in bag. If you despise portable bathrooms like some folks do, you can head over to the New York Road Runners Run Center (320 West 57th street b/w 8th & 9th avenues) which is not too far from the finish line to use some of their changing rooms there.

As of the editing of this article, we are still three plus months away from race day. Its impossible to know the weather but I will update this post a week before the race with the 7 day outlook weather wise and what I would wear to the start that day!

Get To Know The Course

img_0822Finally, the course itself! As mentioned earlier, last year New York Road Runners Club decided to change the course route that had been in effect for several years. The race last year started at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn and finished in Central Park. The reason for the change is because the race is getting bigger each year and they are looking for a wider course and one that has a larger finish line and finish area. Logistically also, finishing in Central Park allows them to keep the finish area open longer so that runners don’t have to worry about having to finish their race under a certain time.

The course map is just above. If you have run this race before you will notice that this course has a lot more hills than the previous version of it. What make it worse is that a lot of the hills are towards the end of the race. If you look at the elevation chart at the bottom of the below graphic, miles 8 thru the end of the race are a series of climbs most of them which will be in Central Park. Just before that there is a stretch of 7th avenue from 42nd street up until the entrance of Central Park which is all up hill. If this stretch may look familiar to those who have run this race before thats because the race used to run the opposite way down 7th avenue after you exited the park. This year, you are running a slow steady climb for 15 blocks before you get into Central Park! If you haven’t thrown in hill work into your training, now may be the time! For a more comprehensive review of the course, you can read the review I wrote up after I did an actual trial run of the course last year. You can find that article here! I will be doing another trial run of the course now in January and February along with members of We Are NYC Running Club. Check back on this site for more details on when that will be happening!

The Finish Line.

You made it 13.1 miles to the finish in Central Park – CONGRATULATIONS! You’re not done yet! Once you are done with the race, you will still have about a half mile walk. During that walk, family will not be allowed in this half mile are as it is considered a “runners only” area. Family can watch you finish the race during the last mile. See the graphic above and note that they can enter the park on the west side the park via two entrances. They will not be able to meet you however on there other side of the finish line.

Once you have crossed the finish line, you have approximately a half mile walk that will lead you to the southern exit of the park close to Columbus Circle. I highly suggest, that you meet with family away from the park after the race. The area around Columbus Circle will be pure chaos. During your half mile walk you will get your recovery bag, water, and of course, your well deserved medal! There will also be stations set up to take post race pictures with your medals or your friends. Medical tents and bathrooms will be available during this half mile walk as well. It may be a half mile, but trust me, it will pass by really quickly!

Speaking of medals, make sure to get your medals ENGRAVED after the race! I confirmed with NYRR that medal engraving will be available immediately after the race at the NYRR Run Center on Sunday from 10am – 5pm. If you are not in the mood to stand on line to get your medal engraved after the race, medal engraving will also be available at the run center on Monday 3/18 from 12pm – 7pm and on Tuesday 3/19 from 4pm – 7pm. Unfortunately medal engraving is only for NYRR members. However there is nothing stopping you from becoming a NYRR member before the race to not only take advantage of free engraving but to also take part in their future races. Of course as an alternative to all of this, you can also get your medal engraved else where.

In Closing

I am a stickler for logistics. I put this together because so many of you worked hard to prepare for this race and I don’t want to see you throw it away because you thought you could pick up your bib on race day morning or you took the wrong train to the start or your dressed incorrectly. You deserve better than that! Now go out there are crush this NYC Half Marathon!

If you found this information helpful, then I am glad I could help. As I mentioned earlier, if you happen to be running either the Popular Brooklyn Half Marathon or TCS New York City Marathon, I have similar group discussions going on now. Here is the one for the Brooklyn Half and here is the one for TCS NYC Marathon Why not join these groups and get in on all of the information being exchanged there!

For more information about running in general in New York City, make sure to follow me on Instagram @catrunsnyc_2018 or on Twitter @catrunsnyc ! Also while you are at it, check out our running club We Are NYC Running Club! It is a running club that is open to all levels of runners with one common bond – that they simply love running in New York City! You can also follow We Are NYC Running Club on Instagram @wearenycrc

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It awaits you!

Upcoming WE ARE NYC RC Runs!

Happy hump day to everyone out there! The sun hasn’t come out in New York city that much the last few days but that doesn’t keep this group from running. So many of our members continue to post their “rainy days” run since they keep gaining their motivation to run in the rain from the group itself! Another benefit of being part of a running community like ours!

With that being said, here are some of our upcoming group runs that you all can partake in to keep that motivation going! Hope to see you at one of these!

Club Members At Last Weekend’s 5th Avenue Mile!

WEEKLY GROUP RUN IN CENTRAL PARK! (all paces are welcomed!)

• WHAT- Weekly group run (5-6 miles)

• WHERE- Central Park – Meet At NYRR Run Center (320 West 57th street, NY, NY)

• WHEN – Thursday, September 13, 2018.

• TIME-Meet up at 6:00pm, leaving run center at 6:15pm

Taken at the last workout led by club member Tobias

5 Mile Run & HIIT Training!

• WHAT- 5 mile Central Park Loop/HIIT workout 10 mins of high intensity interval training, followed by a one mile run to a location in central park. Repeat 5 times for a total of 5 miles and 50 mins of HIIT. Led by one of our club runners Tobias!

• WHERE- Central Park – Meet At NYRR Run Center (320 West 57th street, NY, NY)

• WHEN – Saturday, September 15, 2018.

• TIME-Meet up at 8:00am at Run Center

Members at the NYRR 15 Mile training series! 18 Mile one coming up this Sunday!

NYRR NYC MARATHON TRAINING–18 MILE RUN!

• WHAT- 18 mile training run. While this is a NYRR run, you can run this together w/ a club member! After all, it is an 18 mile run!

• WHERE- Central Park – Meet by 102nd transfers on East side by softball field 8.

• WHEN – Sunday, September 16, 2018.

• TIME-Meet up at 6:30am, run time 7:00am!

This Thursday – Special Queens Group Run!

Hey running friends! I wanted to jump on here to tell you about a special group run this Thursday!

For this one week our club is heading on over to Flushing Meadow Park in Queens. Why? One of our original members who came to the first ever group runs and was a regular many of the early group runs has become one of the heads of the NYRR Open Run at Flushing Meadows. Melanie will be hosting her first NYRR Open Run on this day and she asked if her club could be there to support her on her first official NYRR Open Run. I think it would be nice to do this so we are headed to Queens!

The loop in the park is a 5k but she says runners do it multiple times to get their miles in. There are bathrooms on site and volunteers on hand to watch people’s bags. You can either drive there or take the 7 train. It may be a bit of a commute from the city but its a one time deal for a team member, so hoping folks can troop it out there this one time!

See you all there!

• WHAT- Weekly group run (3-6 miles)

• WHERE- Flushing Meadow Park close to the Children’s Carousel

• WHEN – Thursday, August 30, 2018.

• TIME-Check in is 6:45pm, run starts at 7:00pm!

NYRR asks that you signup for the group run by filling out the below form prior to coming to the open run!

https://openrun.nyrr.org

Thursday Run & The Weekend Rundown!

We will be back at Central Park Thursday Night!

Good morning to all of you wonderful and motivated runners out there! We have made it to Wednesday and now it’s time to get over the hump! Sometimes you need a little push to do that and we have that for you! Let’s put some running on your calendar for the rest of the week!

Thursday – Central Park Run!

It’s become a staple every week with We Are NYC Running Club since the beginning of 2018. This Thursday we get together once again. We’ve dubbed this run “Positive Vibes, Smiles and Miles” because that is what you can come to expect when you come to one of these! We will be doing anywhere from 5-7 miles in the park on Thursday. As always all paces are welcomed and we will be running rain or shine!

• WHAT- Weekly group run in the park (5-7 miles)

• WHERE- Meeting at NYRR Run Center (320 West 57th street, New York, NY 10019)

• WHEN – Thursday, August 16, 2018

• TIME- Meet at Run Center at 6pm / depart for run at 6:15pm

• OTHER INFO- Lockers are available at the run center. No lock is required as lockers are smart lockers. Please bring your own water. Run should be over by 7:45pm

Saturday – Running Tour of NYC

Start from the top of Manhattanan and run to the bottom (Photo Credit – Tobias)

One of our members had a vision for years of running from the top of Manhattan Island to the very bottom of it. His dilemma was he wasn’t quite ready to do that and he didn’t want to do it alone. Since joining We Are NYC Running Club, our member Tobias has gotten faster and has built his endurance to be able to tackle the miles needed to carry out this run. Now he wants to share it with you all!

The run stats at 7:00am on Saturday at 9th avenue and Broadway starting at the Broadway Bridge. The closest MTA subway station is the 1 Train vía the 225th street station. The run will snake thru Manhattan while hitting several landmarks and nice photo opportunities. The run will culminate at Bowling Green. Total mileage is expected to be around 17 miles. You can join us for the whole thing or for just a portion of it. As always, all paces are welcomed!

• WHAT- Running Tour of NYC (approx 17 miles)

• WHERE- Meeting at Broadway Bridge (Broadway & 9th avenue)

• WHEN – Saturday August 18, 2018

• TIME- Meeting at 6:45am and starting run at 7:00am

• OTHER INFO- With as much as 17 miles expected to be run, bring your own nutrition and hydration. Since we are running thru Manhattan you can always stop in at a store to buy water/gatorade.

More info on the route that this run will take will be posted on this site by Friday. One thing you can be sure of is that you will get your miles in and you will see some NYC sites while doing it!

Tobias along with some of the members during the First Running Tour of Manhattan Run!

 

Sunday – France Run Central Park

On Sunday, New York Road Runners will be sponsoring an 8k race called the France Run in Central Park. The race is sold out but you can still come out and cheer on those runners that will be tackling the 8k! Race time is 8:00am!

Finally, if you want to sport a team shirt or tank top, those are always available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week on our team store!

These nice race day tank tops are on sale now in our team store – see link above!

This Weekend – Run With Us!

It’s Friday and the weekend is here! The general population is looking to see what parties and other weekend plans they can get involved with, but at We Are NYC RC, we are looking to see what runs we can get into! And this is the life of a runner!! (haha)!

View of Park Avenue from a previous “Summer Streets”

Don’t worry, we have ya covered! But be warned, both of our offerings will require you to wake up early so if you were looking to catch up on zzzz’s this weekend, do it after you run!

Saturday 8/11 – Summer Streets Run (led by Marjorie!)

Each year in the first three weeks of August, New York City shirts down certain portions of the city for recreation and fun. This Saturday, Park Avenue from 72nd street down to Centre street by City Hall will be closed to traffic. We are having a run that will run thru the closed streets. The entire stretch is 7 miles but if you need to do more you can always run back or a portion back. Bring some cash and a metro card to buy water along the route. Meeting details below! Run will happen rain or shine!

  • When- Saturday 8/11/18
  • Time- 7:15am (Run happens rain or shine!)
  • Meeting Location- Chase bank (corner of 72nd street & Lexington Avenue)
  • Route- Start at 72nd st & Lex, go over to Park Avenue, go left on Park Avenue and run straight downtown (approx 7 miles!)

 

Ready for 15 miles on Sunday!

Sunday 8/12 – TCS Marathon Training Series – 15 mile run sponsored by New York Road Runners

If the weather holds up, join us and thousands of other runners as we do three loops of the 5 mile loop in Central Park as the preparation continues for the TCS NYC Marathon. As of the writing of this post, there are still spots open for this training run. Sign up here if you are interested!

Over 30 of our members have signed up for this training run and we will be meeting before the race in “Race Day Central”. More info below!

  • When- Sunday 8/12/18
  • Meetup 6:15-6:45am / Race starts @ 7:00am
  • Location- Central Park 102st Tranverse and East drive
  • Route- 5 mile loop in Central Park 3 times!
  • Meetup Location- look for softball field 8- we will be on the concrete path on the 3rd bass/left field side of field 8
  • Hope to see many of you this weekend and if not, have a great RUNNING weekend!

NYRR Manhattan 7 Mile Run!

Group shot 4

Tomorrow NYRR will host its first ever 7 mile race, the Manhattan 7 Mile Run. Our club runners will be out there in full force tomorrow as they will look to set personal records as this will obviously be the first time they have run this distance!

If you are looking to meet up with the team we will be in “Race Day Central” across from the Bandshell in our usual location starting at 7am!. Stop by and share a laugh and unwind before the race!

Not running the race tomorrow but still want to get in on the action? No problem! Come and be part of our cheer squad! We assemble on 76th street and the West Drive right alongside the Lake! Our club takes pride in cheering not only for our club runners but for all runners in the race!

Good luck to all of the runners running the Manattan 7 miler on Sunday!

Tidbits & Insights For Saturday’s Popular Brooklyn Half Marathon!

Well New York City, this weekend BROOKLYN takes center stage!

This Saturday May 19th New York Road Runners will be hosting the largest half marathon in North America when 27,000 runners are expected to be set loose onto the streets of Brooklyn to wind up on the boardwalk at historic Coney Island! Its time for the Popular Brooklyn Half Marathon!

Getting into the race can be a task as this year’s race was SOLD OUT in just a few hours! So if you got in and will be one of the 27,000 participants – congratulations! However now you have to run this race and here you are in the home stretch of preparations. No worries, I’m going to try and help you out!

BIB PICK UP & EXPO

The Brooklyn Half Marathon Expo is set up and ready to go! (photo credit – NYRR)

Unlike most NYRR runs, you won’t be able to pick up your bib at the NYRR Run center. That’s ok though! This pickup will be a lot more fun. The Brooklyn Half Marathon Expo is where you will have to pick up your bib and you might as well give yourself some extra time when you are there because there is much more to do than just pickup your race bib!The expo is open Wednesday thru Friday from 12pm – 10pm in Brooklyn Bridge Park – Pier 2. In addition to picking up your bib there will be tons of merchandise on sale, live music, food trucks selling their fare, course strategy tips from NYRR coaches and one hell of a view of the Manhattan skyline! The expo is outdoors so come on out and enjoy yourself in the NYC open air!

Whatever you decide to do at the Half Marathon Expo just make sure you get there because that is the only way for you to obtain your bib! Unlike other NYRR races, you won’t be able to pick up your bib the morning of race day! If you can’t make it you can assign someone as your proxy for pickup. They will need your race confirmation form, which you should be able to get from your race profile and a copy of a legal form of identification.

TRANSPORTATION TO AND FROM

With the Brooklyn Half starting at the Brooklyn Museum and ending at Coney Island, public transportation is really the only way to get to and from the race. Keep in mind however that it will be Saturday morning and the subways tend to alter service on a lot of subway lines. Be prepared to get up very early and plan for a long commute if you are going go the race from any where other than Brooklyn. The 4 or the 5 trains are your best bet. Depending on which wave you are in will dictate which subway stop to get off at. Wave 1 runners should get off at the “Franklin Avenue subway station“. Wave 2 runners should get off at the “Grand Army Plaza Station“. The the subway stop and where they are relative to the starting corrals is in the map below which has been provided by New York Road Runners.

Map of the starting area! Photo courtesy of NYRR

In order to verify that the subway nearest you is running on Saturday morning, or if you want to see how often it will be running at an early time of day, I highly suggest using the MTA Trip Planner website . The website allows you to set your starting point as well as your destination and it will give you the best subway route to get you to your destination This trip planner will tell you of any interruption in service on Saturday morning and will also give you the approximate time when your train will be arriving. I have used it before and have found it to be very reliable.

Additionally, folks travelling from Queens or Long Island might want to consider using the Long Island Railroad as an option to get to the start. The Atlantic Terminal railroad station is not too far from the start area. There is a 5:31AM train leaving Jamaica and arriving at Altantic Terminal at 5:51 for wave 1 runners. Then there is a 6:18AM train arriving at 6:39 for wave 2 runners.

As for cabs and Ubers of course they are an option but be ready to jump out of them blocks from the entrance to your corral as traffic is sure to build in the surrounding blocks to the corral entrances. Adding to the potential delays is the real possibility of rain for that day. Be prepared for slower traffic as a result of this. As with public transportation, factor in some extra time into your cab ride just to play it safe.

Finally do you insist on driving and having your car at the finish line? I highly suggest against it! In years past NYRR has had access to the New York Aquarium Parking lot. Not this year. As for the MCU Park parking lot? That lot is off limits because it will be the bag check are to pick up your bags after the race. Outside of local street parking, realistically, there is no where reliable to park by the finish line or even the starting line for that matter. But if you insist on driving, consider parking near the Barclays Center as there are plenty of garages there and the streets should be open in this area as the race does not pass thru that section of Brooklyn. The start line is about a 10-15 minute walk from Barclays center and the train ride after the race from the finish area is about a 30 minute ride. In my opinion if you don’t want to risk getting on public transportation, this might be your best bet!

STARTING TIMES, BAG CHECK & SECURITY

So all the scrambling to get to the starting area via different forms of transportation but what time do we have to be there? See the infographic below brought to you once again from the good folks at NYRR.

Infographic showing important times that you should know for race day! Courtesy of NYRR!

Oh yes – some of the times listed for wave 1 are EARLY but don’t think they are lenient on them just because they are early. For example the bag check closing at 6:10am is a big deal. Why? Since the finish line is no where near the start, all bags are transported to the finish line. If you are in wave 1 and you don’t check your bag in by 6:10am, the vehicles transporting your bag will likely be long gone shortly after 6:10am. Of course you can check your bags in with the wave 2 folks but those vehicles may not get to the finish and be set up for drop off until later. For those that are considering not dealing with bag checking, as of the writing of this blog, race day is calling for a 90% chance of rain. With these odds, we are likely going to get wet. I would personally want to change into a dry set of clothes at the end of the race, but hey, that’s just me!

As for corral closing time, if your corral closes, you will likely be sent to the last corral in your wave. If you weren’t assigned anywhere near the last corral, this may put you into a frustrating position of having to weave in and out of runners that may not be running at your pace.

Therefore it’s important to note the times and factor in extra traveling time so that you have enough time to meet all of the suggested checkpoints above. Be reminded that after you check your bag in, you will have to go thru a security check point similar to that at an airport that requires you to empty your phones and metallic objects into a bin and then walk thru a metal detector. Many folks don’t realize how much you will have to do before you enter your corral.

So to summarize, your commute, bag checking and security checks all have to be factored into your morning in order for you to make it to your corral in time. Oh and then you have to run 13.1 miles! (lol),

COURSE STRATEGY

Members of We Run NYC Running Club at the start of their BK Half Trial Run!

So you nailed your commute, had a great breakfast, mastered bag checking and security and now you are finally in your corral. Now what?? Relax and smile like the folks in the picture above. Why are they smiling? Well, myself, along with about 40 other awesome runners who for the most part are members of We Run NYC Running Club took a test run of the course a couple of weeks back. Here’s how I saw the course on that delightful day!

Miles 1-4: The first mile for the most part is down hill as you ascend down Washington Avenue. WARNING! Resist the temptation to fly in this mile as it is only mile 1! As you loop around Empire Blvd to come up Flatbush Avenue, you might recognize this stretch if you ran the United NYC Half Marathon. This stretch of Flatbush Avenue is the area where the starting corrals were located for the United NYC Half. This stretch takes you up a slow hill that will bring to the end of mile one. You will then come to Grand Army Plaza where you will circle the plaza and go back down Flatbush avenue the same way you came up it before. So that uphill you climbed in mile 1, you will be going down the hill as you begin your 2nd mile. But once again, hold back on the speed! The toughest part is yet to come! From here you will run on the perimeter of the park until you enter Prospect part just before the 4 mile marker.

prospect-park-1

A beautiful running park, Propsect Park will bring you the toughest hills of the race!

Miles 5-7: These 3 miles are entirely within Prospect Park. The park itself is a beautiful oasis in the middle of Brooklyn. But beauty may not impress upon you during the race because the miles within the park are where your hardest work will be done! I am just going to say it – mile 5 is almost entirely uphill. There may be 2 small declines but you are climbing in elevation for the entire mile. This is why I mentioned to hold back on the throttle when you ran those down hills in the first 3 miles. But at the end you know yourself best. If you are a hill runner and haven’t run hard in the race up until this point, then go for it! If you tend to despise hills, then take a mulligan in mile 5, get thru it and look ahead to mile 6 because this is where the party begins for most. Mile 6 will take you down a gradual hill after which you will wrap around the west end of the park on your way to exiting the park at the end of mile 7. Once out of the park, you will hang a left and run onto Ocean Parkway who will be your friend for the next 6 miles!

Miles 8-13: These miles are why people love the Brooklyn Half Marathon! With the exception of going under an over pass and having to climb back up to street level on a couple of occasions, you won’t see a hill the rest of the way. This stretch of the race will take you straight down Ocean Parkway where a lot of local residents will be cheering you along the way. The only intriguing section I find about Ocean Parkway is around the 11 mile marker. Right around Ave W, the road hooks slightly right and when it does, you can finally see the end of Ocean Parkway for the first time. Here is where some runners will make a decision. At this point, you only have about 2 miles to go in the race. You can go for it and hit those final two miles hard if you have the endurance to do so. Alternatively, you may not want to allow yourself to pick up the pace if you can’t hold that pace for two miles. Either way, you can smell the finish line. As you cross under the Belt Parkway, you will be a mile from the finish. Coney Island will start to come into view. At the 20k marker you will leave Ocean Parkway for Shore Road which you will take until you see the historic Cyclone Roller Coaster where you will make a left and head to the boardwalk for that last 0.1 miles.

POST RACE FESTIVITIES AND OTHER AMENITIES

BKHalfFinish

Theres something about crushing 13.1 miles and finishing on the boardwalk at Coney Island!

Congratulations – you made it! Once you have crossed the finish line in front of Tom’s of Coney Island, your personal celebration is just beginning. The post race walk off will lead you down the boardwalk just past MCU Park, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones. The walk will lead you into the parking lot of MCU Park, where you will retrieve your checked bags, assuming you checked one in. Either way once you are done with the bag check area, NYRR has some post race festivities inside of MCU Park which you will be able to access directly from the parking lot area. If rain did fall and you are looking to get into those dry clothes I recommended bringing earlier, kudos to you for packing them and rest assured that you will be able to do so once inside MCU Park.

Once you are done with your day at the race, NYRR members can have their medals engraved at the NYRR Run Center! You can head there right after your race as they will be engraving from 11:00am – 5:00pm on race day! Too tired or don’t feel like heading back to Manhattan after the race? No problem. Engraving will also be done on Sunday May 20 from 10:00am – 5:00pm and finally on Monday May 21 from 12:00pm – 7:00pm.

In closing, this course is a fast course and has been known to produce a lot of personal records. You can nail your training for this race however if you don’t plan your logistics right, you may end up stressing yourself out prior to the race and it may derail your potentially strong results. However if you plan correctly, you could walk away with not only a personal record but one hell of a great day running the street of Brooklyn!

Good luck to all of the runners running the Popular Brooklyn Half Marathon on Saturday!

If you found this information helpful, follow me on twitter @catrunsnyc or on Instagram @catrunsnyc_2018. 
Looking for a fun group to workout with and run with? Look no further than my fellow teammates at We Run NYC Running Club!  Look for them as well on social media: Twitter: @WeRunNYCRC or on Instagram: @WeRunNYCRC .