Brooklyn’s half marathon is given that other one that includes a bunch of other boroughs a run for its money!
About 22,000 joggers — including New Zealand Olympian Kim Smith — ran in the biggest-ever Brooklyn Half, pounding 13-plus miles of pavement between Prospect Park and Coney Island on May 18, wrapping up in front of Ruby’s Bar on the Boardwalk.
The half-marathon, which has been on the run since 1981, has experienced explosive growth during the past five years — and 2013 was its biggest yet, according to Peter Ciaccia, executive vice president of the run. Ciaccia said organizers have been working with the city and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce to enlarge the event, and attract more tourists to the County of Kings.
“It was always our vision to make this event iconic, to make it like a New York Marathon for Brooklyn,” said Ciaccia. “And build Brooklyn as a destination.”
Increasing commerce is the reason why the Brooklyn Half now ends in Coney Island — in contrast to previous years, when the run began in the People’s Playground. With the idea of encouraging people to hang out in Sodom by the Sea once the run was done, Ciaccia worked with the Alliance for Coney Island business group to get the runners discounts at the neighborhood’s famed restaurants and amusements. According to Ciaccia, the plan was a success.
“We wanted people to just stay out there and spend money,” said Ciaccia “After the race, everybody was along the Boardwalk, all day, keeping busy.”
The run planner said he hopes to move the half-marathon from Saturday to Sunday in future years, in order to get runners to spend the whole weekend in Brooklyn — ideally, international athletes like Smith.
“If it works the way the New York Marathon works, we could have half the field coming from outside the city,” said Ciaccia.Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderma