People of all ages and abilities to race 13.1 miles from Prospect Park to Coney Island
New York, May 15, 2023 – The RBC Brooklyn Half will be the largest half marathon in the United States this year when more than 26,000 runners are expected to cross the finish line on Saturday, May 20. The race, which was established in 1981, is now one of the country’s premier half marathons with accompanying youth races and a three-day pre-party to celebrate Brooklyn.
“The RBC Brooklyn Half started back before half marathons were popular on a course in and around Prospect Park, and now it serves as a kickoff to summer for the borough with a celebratory finish on the iconic Coney Island boardwalk,” said Ted Metellus, NYRR’s Senior Vice President of Events and Race Director. “This race is truly a highlight on NYRR’s racing calendar as our premier event in Brooklyn, a borough we are present in year-round with our free community programs for youth, seniors and everyone in between.”
The RBC Brooklyn Half will take runners through the unique and diverse neighborhoods of Brooklyn, beginning at the Brooklyn Museum, passing the scenic Grand Army Plaza, and running through Prospect Park and along Ocean Parkway to the finish line on the famous Coney Island boardwalk. The course will have a party-like atmosphere with 10 entertainment locations, including local DJs, cover bands, instrumentalists, and cheer groups.
Below are some highlights and initiatives to look forward to at the 2023 edition of the event:
Largest Half Marathon: The first Brooklyn Half took place in 1981 on a course in and around Prospect Park with several hundred finishers and has now grown into the country’s largest half marathon. Nearly every NYRR race this year has sold out, showcasing the tremendous demand to participate in road races and the increase in people running since the pandemic.
Notable Names: This year’s field will include notable names such as actress Ellie Kemper, TV personality Nev Schulman, former NFL star Tiki Barber, and YouTube sensation Casey Neistat.
Mental Health Awareness Month: NYRR aims to provide opportunities and inspire action to positively impact overall health and wellness. Recent studies from the CDC have shown adults can lower their risk of depression by 18-20 percent by simply starting an exercise program like running. In the spirit of Mental Health Awareness Month, leading up to the race NYRR is offering a mental health panel series, a virtual run club and meditations, wellness activations, and weekly NYRR Open Runs. There are also several runners participating in the race support of mental health advocacy, including NCAA Division I lacrosse player Cailin Bracken and Iraq war veteran Zaida Espinoza.
RBC’s Support: The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) will serve as both the exclusive title partner and exclusive financial services and investment banking partner of the event for the second year, activating on race day as well as at the pre-party and post-race festivities. As a purpose-driven global financial institution, RBC, similar to NYRR, is strongly committed to giving back to communities. At the pre-party, RBC will have Mindful Motivation powered by Calm City, an audio experience that will talk runners through visualization exercises to help motivate them for race day. At the post-race festivities, RBC will have a photo vignette where runners will be asked to share their race-day photos using #rbcbrooklynhalf, and RBC will donate $5 for every share to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), a partner of both RBC and NYRR’s that is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization.
Boardwalk Kids Run: The whole family is invited to join in on race day activities, as kids ages 8-18 will take part in the free Boardwalk Kids Run at the RBC Brooklyn Half as part of the Rising New York Road Runners youth program. Participants will race 1,500 meters on a new out-and-back course this year that starts and finishes on Brighton Avenue and Ocean Parkway.
RBC Brooklyn Half Pre-Party Presented by New Balance: From May 17 to May 19, runners will pick up their bibs, shop for race merchandise, listen to live music, and dine at local food trucks at the RBC Brooklyn Half Pre-Party Presented by New Balance at Pier 2 in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Sustainability Efforts: In an effort to minimize the environmental impact of the event, NYRR will have Green Team volunteers and Waste Diversion Stations across the start and finish of the race and will partner with All of Us Clothing to donate discarded runner clothing from the start. Additionally, all race medals have been made from 100 percent recycled steel, all lead vehicles will be Volvo Cars electric vehicles, and water and Gatorade cups along the course will be composted at a local farm following the event.
Virtual RBC Brooklyn Half: Runners who are unable to be in Brooklyn can participate in the race from anywhere in the world at their own convenience between May 13 and May 21.
About New York Road Runners (NYRR)
NYRR’s mission is to help and inspire people through running. Since 1958, New York Road Runners has grown from a local running club to the world’s premier community running organization. NYRR’s commitment to New York City’s five boroughs features races, virtual races, community events, free youth running initiatives and school programs, the NYRR RUNCENTER featuring the New Balance Run Hub, and training resources that provide hundreds of thousands of people each year with the motivation, know-how, and opportunity to Run for Life. NYRR’s premier event is the TCS New York City Marathon. Held annually on the first Sunday in November, the race features a wide population of runners, from the world’s top professional athletes to a vast range of competitive, recreational, and charity runners. To learn more, visit www.nyrr.org.