What Rain? More Than 25,000 Runners Complete the Popular® Brooklyn Half

What Rain? More Than 25,000 Runners Complete the Popular® Brooklyn Half

While royals were wedding on a sun-splashed day across the pond, 25,346 runners were making their way through rain-soaked Kings County at the 2018 Popular® Brooklyn Half.

The largest half-marathon in the United States so far this year, the event welcomed a new title sponsor for 2018—Puerto Rico-based Popular®. Several of the bank’s employees—including those impacted by Hurricane Maria last fall—were part of today’s field.

Starting at the Brooklyn Museum, runners tackled a 13.1-mile course that circled Grand Army Plaza, looped around Prospect Park, flattened out along Ocean Parkway, and finished on the iconic Coney Island boardwalk. The rain that fell at the start, off and on (okay, for many, mostly on) throughout the course, and at the finish, couldn't dampen the spirits of the runners, spectators, volunteers, and other supporters throughout the iconic journey. 

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First across the finish line was Fikadu Girma Teferi of the West Side Runners, taking the top spot in 1:04:20. He was followed by his teammate Birhanu Dare Kemal in 1:05:54 and Herbert Okuti of the Westchester Track Club in 1:06:07.

On the women’s side, Askale Merachi of Urban Athletics was the winner with a time of 1:12:26. Olympian and American record holder Deena Kastor took second with a time of 1:15:13. In third place was Erika Fluehr of New York Athletic Club, who finished in 1:16:02. Throughout the morning, runners representing clubs all over NYC and beyond flooded the finish line in the third race of the 2018 NYRR club points series.  

Read more: Deena Kastor on Racing the Popular Brooklyn Half: “It’s Been on My Bucket List”

Today’s finishers also included two NYRR Team for Kids Ambassadors, former NFL running back Tiki Barber, and MLB sportscaster Sam Ryan, as well as Good Morning America anchor Amy Robach and competitive eater Yasir Salem, who participates annually in the hot dog eating contest on Coney Island.

A Celebration from Start to Finish

The excitement around race week kicked off on Wednesday with the opening of the Popular® Brooklyn Half Pre-Party Presented by New Balance. Held on Pier 2 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, the three-day pre-race event gave runners a chance to pick up their bibs, listen to course strategy tips from NYRR coaches, and enjoy live entertainment with views of the Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Manhattan in the background.

After the finish line on Saturday, the festivities kept right on going. MCU Park, home to the Brooklyn Cyclones, hosted the Popular® Brooklyn Half After-Party, where runners could stretch out after 13.1 with laps around the outfield turf, or get right to refueling with a hot dog and a selection from one of Brooklyn's famous craft breweries.

Though the Rising New York Road Runners at the Popular Brooklyn Half youth races were cancelled due to rain and wind, thousands of adult runners dedicated their half-marathon to supporting NYRR youth running by completing their 13.1 with NYRR Team for Kids.

Team for Kids runners found their miles extra meaningful today. “Initially I ran with them just as a way to get into the marathon, but it’s become much more than that,” said TFK member Thomas Baker after his finish. “I love the cause, and the community and workouts have really helped my running.”

“Kids’ fitness is a cause I could get behind,” said David Fitzpatrick. “It was also a fun way to get a lot of people involved and caring about what I was doing.”

At least five coaches and volunteers with Rising New York Road Runners, NYRR’s flagship youth program, crossed the finish line, inspired by the accomplishments of the kids they work with in schools and community organizations.

The Popular® Brooklyn Half is the second race in the 2018 NYRR Five-Borough Series, and throughout the week New York Road Runners supported Brooklyn with events like New Balance shoe giveaways to Rising New York Road Runners youth and NYRR Striders, and a groundbreaking for a new school playground in partnership with The Trust for Public Land, and more. That means more kids and adults lacing up and logging miles in new shoes and on new turf.

Want to run more amazing races like this one? Check out the NYRR Brooklyn R-U-N 5K, a fun weeknight event taking place on July 16.

The 2018 NYRR Five-Borough Series continues June 16 at the NYRR Queens 10K—general entry is sold out but you can still get a spot with NYRR Team for Kids—and at the New Balance Bronx 10 Mile on September 30 and the NYRR Staten Island Half on October 14.

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