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Sure, the ING thing was nice, but Brooklyn now has its own marathon! • Brooklyn Paper

Sure, the ING thing was nice, but Brooklyn now has its own marathon!

Who needs NYC? Steve Lastoe (left) and Michael Ring are organizing the first Brooklyn Marathon for later this month.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Who needs all five boroughs — Brooklyn finally has its own marathon!

More than 300 Spandex-clad runners will sprint through Prospect Park on Nov. 20 for the borough’s inaugural 26-mile race — and unlike the more-famous race that just clogged city streets all day on Sunday, no one will get turned away from this historic jog.

“More than 100,000 people get shut out of the New York City Marathon, so there’s a market for more of them,” said Brooklyn Marathon organizer Steve Lastoe. “We’re interested in putting on a really good home-grown marathon that will grow into five figures in a few years.”

The race is entirely within the friendly confines of Olmsted and Vaux’s masterpiece, but it is certainly no walk in the park.

Marathoners will slug out six full loops and three lower loops — and have to battle Brooklyn’s own “Heartbreak Hill” on the Crown Heights side of the park, a 200-foot mound that slowed down the British in 1776 and hasn’t gotten any easier since.

Lastoe hopes to map future courses across a dozen neighborhoods from Greenpoint to Marine Park, but police-issued street permits are difficult to acquire since the city changed its permit policies last year, shortening many parades.

Still, Brooklyn’s fit masses are experiencing a runner’s high.

Each entrant will receive a medal, a T-shirt, plus bagels, donuts, and bananas at the finish line. And there will be celebrities galore!

Councilman Brad Lander (D–Park Slope), who ran the Brooklyn Half-Marathon in 2:04, will fire the starter’s pistol; and our own editor, Gersh Kuntzman, who ate the Half-Marathon in just over two hours, will lead the first pack of runners on his bicycle.

“We’re trying to get local celebrities involved in the race — but Gersh will do,” said Lastoe. “We’d dump him for Jay-Z in a heartbeat.”

Brooklyn Marathon (starts and ends on the Center Drive in Prospect Park), Nov. 20, 8 am. Cost, $75. Register at nycruns.com.

Reach reporter Aaron Short at ashort@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2547.

Someday, runners like these won't have to leave the borough to work up a good 26.2-mile sweat.
Jeff Bachner

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