Prospect Park to Coney Island 13.1-mile course will spotlight the borough and NYRR’s year-round presence in the diverse running community

New York, May 13, 2024 – New York Road Runners (NYRR), the non-profit which produces 60 adult and youth races in New York City annually, will host more than 26,000 runners during the RBC Brooklyn Half, Saturday, May 18. The event, which has been in existence for over four decades, will celebrate New York City’s most populated borough and take runners on a 13.1-mile tour past iconic sites, including the Brooklyn Museum, Grand Army Plaza, and Prospect Park, ending on the famous Coney Island boardwalk.

“With nearly 100 Brooklyn-based running clubs and an influx of NYRR members from Brooklyn, the borough has experienced a significant running boom,” said Rob Simmelkjaer, CEO, New York Road Runners. “For the past 42 years, the RBC Brooklyn Half has demonstrated the best of Brooklyn and the best of the running community. From reinvigorating Coney Island after Superstorm Sandy to spotlighting local restaurants, vendors, and artists at the pre-race festivities, the RBC Brooklyn Half has become integral to the borough.”

First run in 1981, NYRR’s RBC Brooklyn Half is the borough’s premier running event. Year-round, the non-profit offers races, NYRR Group Training, and free programming for people of all ages, from youth to seniors, in Brooklyn. Nearly 19,000 Brooklyn youth are Rising New York Road Runners, over 800 community members regularly attend NYRR Open Runs at five Brooklyn parks, and NYRR Striders reaches more than 130 older adults at Brooklyn community and older adult centers.

Below are some of the storylines and initiatives to look forward to at the 2024 RBC Brooklyn Half:

Brooklyn’s Running Boom

As the unofficial kickoff to summer, the RBC Brooklyn Half started with several hundred finishers on a course run entirely in Prospect Park and has since grown to be one of the country’s largest and most anticipated half marathons. NYRR races have experienced unprecedented demand, mirroring a national running boom. Brooklyn is home to a vibrant running culture and about 20% of the RBC Brooklyn Half finishers will be borough natives, and over 2,000 of them are part of Brooklyn running clubs. NYRR engages more than 250 local running clubs throughout the year, and nearly 100 of them are based in Brooklyn, totaling 16,000 members. A quarter of the Brooklyn-based clubs have been created in the last two years, an indication that running is becoming core to Brooklyn’s DNA.

RBC Partnership

The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) will serve as both the exclusive title partner and exclusive financial services and investment banking partner of the RBC Brooklyn Half for the third year, activating on race day as well as at the pre-party and post-race festivities. As a purpose-driven global financial institution, RBC, like NYRR, is strongly committed to giving back to communities. At the pre-party RBC will have a Motivation Station where runners will select their personal running mantra and artists will bring it to life on a wristband. Additionally, RBC will have a photo booth and for every photo shared on social media with #RBCBrooklynHalf, they will donate $1 to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization. A photo vignette of the finish line will also be on display for runners at the post-race festival.

Notable and Inspiring Runners

This year’s race will feature several notable and inspiring runners, including:

Nev Schulman: MTV’s Catfish host and producer; Brooklyn resident

Zac Clark: TV personality running on behalf of Release Recovery

Christopher Lawrence: Mental health professional and guidance counselor running in honor of his late training partner

Mandy Kwan: Marine Park NYRR Open Run member who has made running a family affair; running with her mother and her three sons are running the Boardwalk Kids Run

Sabine Bellevue: Brooklyn native who has found solace and healing through running and NYRR Group Training

Olivia Witherite: Dashing Whippets Running Team member whose running journey has paralleled her grief journey after she lost two family members in 2023

Boardwalk Kids Run

To inspire the next generation of runners, during the RBC Brooklyn Half, Rising New York Road Runners will host the Boardwalk Kids Run, which will feature more than 1,700 youth runners 2-18 years of age. This youth race is one of over 30 free youth events held by NYRR throughout the year.

Sustainability Efforts

NYRR is committed to ensuring future generations have access to clean air, green spaces, and a healthy environment to run in, and is working to minimize the environmental impact of our events. During the RBC Brooklyn Half, all finisher medals will be 100 percent recycled steel produced domestically and the ribbons will be made from recycled material (PolyEthylene Terephthalate) for the first time at this race; Green Team volunteers will sort waste at six stations; discarded runner clothing from the start area will be collected and donated to All of Us Clothing; leftover food and recovery bags will be donated to City Harvest; and Gatorade and water cups will be composted at a farm in upstate New York. At last year’s RBC Brooklyn Half, 8,775 pounds of clothing and 15,500 pounds of food were donated to those in need.

RBC Brooklyn Half Pre-Party Presented by New Balance

From May 15 to May 17, runners will pick up their bibs, shop for merchandise, learn about course strategy from NYRR coaches, listen to live music, and dine at local food trucks at the RBC Brooklyn Half Pre-Party Presented by New Balance at Pier 2, Brooklyn Bridge Park. Open to the public, attendees will also enjoy lawn games and photo activations.

Mental Health Awareness Month

NYRR is committed to destigmatizing mental health and providing opportunities for individuals to positively impact their well-being through running. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness-NYC (NAMI-NYC), one in five New Yorkers are struggling with their mental health. Recent studies from the CDC show adults can lower their risk of depression by 18-20% by simply starting an exercise program like running. In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, NYRR is offering virtual challenges, digital resources, and wellness activations leading up to the RBC Brooklyn Half.

Virtual RBC Brooklyn Half Powered by Strava

Runners can participate in the RBC Brooklyn Half virtually, running 13.1 miles anywhere, anytime between May 11 and May 19. Participants who register for the Finisher Medal tier will be shipped a finisher medal after completing the race and collect a credit for the NYRR 4 Out of 6 program to help earn guaranteed entry to the 2025 RBC Brooklyn Half.

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