Saturday’s Brooklyn Half Marathon: How to watch, road closures, and more

brooklyn half marathon
The Brooklyn Half Marathon is back this Saturday — here’s everything you need to know about the race.
File photo by Erica Price

A stampede of over 26,000 runners will pound the pavement for over 13 miles on Saturday during the Brooklyn Half Marathon, winding their way through the streets of Kings County. 

So, here’s everything you need to know about the race, how to watch, and how it will impact your neighborhood.

The 13.1 mile course brings runners past some of Brooklyn’s most iconic sights — beginning beside the Brooklyn Museum near Grand Army Plaza, before looping through Prospect Park and stretching down Ocean Parkway all the way down to the finish line on Coney Island. 

It’s expected to be cool and rainy on Saturday morning, in stark contrast to last year, when runners had to contend with unseasonably warm and sunny temperatures.

brooklyn half marathon
Runners will pass by some of Brooklyn’s most iconic scenery on the 13.1 mile course, which wraps up on the famous Coney Island boardwalk. File photo by Erica Price

“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, senior vice president of events at New York Road Runners. “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.”

Live music stations dotted down the course will give the race a “party-like atmosphere,” and watching the Brooklyn Half from sidewalks and apartment windows has become a quasi-spectator sport for Brooklynites. 

For loved ones cheering on a runner, or just enthusiastic locals, there are four dedicated cheer zones: Parkside Avenue and Park Circle, Machate Circle at Ocean Parkway, Ocean Parkway and Avenue W, and 10th Street after Surf Avenue. 

Near the finish line, kids ages 8-18 can take part in the free 1,500-meter Boardwalk Kids Run as part of the Rising New York Road Runners youth program. Participants will race on a new out-and-back course that starts and ends on Brighton Avenue and Ocean Parkway. 

An adoring crowd will greet marathoners at the finish line, where they’ll get a medal and head to the post-run after party at Maimonides Park, grab some food, and dance to live music to celebrate the accomplishment. 

The top three winners in the men’s, women’s, and non-binary categories will be awarded cash prizes of up to $2,000 right there on the boardwalk.

brooklyn half medals
All runners will be awarded a medal at the finish line, and the fastest runners will receive cash prizes. File photo by Erica Price

A number of streets will be closed from the morning through the early afternoon on May 20 to make way for the runners. Those streets are:

  • Eastern Parkway from Grand Army Plaza to Bedford Avenue — 12 a.m. – 3 p.m. 
  • President Street from Classon Avenue to Franklin Avenue — 2 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
  • Union Street from Classon Avenue to Franklin Avenue — 2 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. 
  • Washington Avenue from Eastern Parkway to Empire Boulevard — 3 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. 
  • Empire Boulevard from Washington Avenue to Flatbush Avenue — 3:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. 
  • Flatbush Avenue from Empire Boulevard to Grand Army Plaza — 5:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
  • Ocean Avenue (southbound) from Flatbush Avenue to Parkside Avenue — 6 a.m. – 11 a.m. 
  • Parkside Avenue (westbound) from Ocean Avenue to Park Circle — 6 a.m. – 11 a.m. 
  • Ocean Parkway from Park Circle to Surf Avenue – 6 a.m. – 12 p.m. 
  • West Brighton Avenue from Ocean Parkway to West 2nd Street — 3 a.m. – 1 p.m. 
  • Sea Breeze Avenue from West 5th Street to Ocean Parkway — 3 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • West 5th Street from Surf Avenue to West Brighton Avenue — 3 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Surf Avenue from Ocean Parkway to Stillwell Avenue – 12 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • West 10th Street, Stillwell Avenue, West 15th Street, West 16th Street from Surf Avenue to the Boardwalk — 2 a.m. – 1 p.m. 

Parking on affected streets is prohibited starting at least several hours before the road closure begins — visit the New York Road Runners website for more information.