With its picturesque brownstones, tree-lined sidewalks, and wealth of parks and greenways, Brooklyn is a runner’s paradise. And there’s no better way to see the borough than by speeding along on foot.
A significant chunk of the annual New York City Marathon, the world’s largest, traverses Brooklyn. The race, held each November, begins in Staten Island and crosses the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge (normally closed to pedestrians) to Bay Ridge in Brooklyn. From there, it heads up Fourth Avenue before turning east on Lafayette Avenue north of Boerum Hill, and then travels through Bedford-Stuyvesant, Williamsburg, and Greenpoint until it finally crosses into Queens at the Pulaski Bridge.
Marathon photo courtesy of TCS New York City Marathon via Facebook.
Prospect Park | John Weiss via Flickr
Park Slope and Prospect Park
Park Slope didn’t get its moniker for nothin’ — the northwest Brooklyn neighborhood is literally situated on a hill rising to Prospect Park. If you want to challenge yourself, start out on Third or Fourth Avenue and run up the steady incline to the park. Once you’re there, make your way along Park Drive, which travels a 3.35-mile loop around the perimeter and has a dedicated running lane. Here’s a handy map of distances in the park to help you plan your route.
The Epic Ride | Brooklyn Greenway Initiative via Facebook
The Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway and Shore Road Park
Taking a page from the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, The Brooklyn Greenway Initiative is in the process of creating continuous waterfront bike and running paths from the northern edge of Brooklyn in Greenpoint, all the way down to Shore Road Park in Bay Shore. The run will take you through Williamsburg, around the Navy Yard into DUMBO and Brooklyn Bridge Park, around Red Hook and down through the Sunset Park waterfront.
Five miles of the projected 14-mile pathway are currently available for public use, but you can run the whole route using side streets using this map. If 14 miles isn’t enough, you can add another 4.2 miles by continuing along the scenic Shore Road Park, which takes you under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and ends in Bensonhurst Park, not far from Coney Island.
Ocean Parkway Bike and Runner’s Path | via NYC Bike Maps
The Ocean Parkway Greenway
For a longer route that covers a good chunk of the borough, head down the Ocean Parkway Greenway, which cuts a line down the middle of Brooklyn from the bottom of Prospect Park to Brighton Beach. A pathway down the middle of the road has separate routes for pedestrians and cyclists. Best of all, at the end you can take a cooling dip in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Brooklyn Half | via NYRR
This route down Ocean Parkway to Coney Island is also the second leg of the route for the Brooklyn Half, the biggest half-marathon in the U.S. in 2014.
Brooklyn Bridge | Harshil Shah via Flickr
Running across one of Brooklyn’s three bridges to Manhattan is excellent if you’re training for a race (the dreaded hill training!) or if you want to continue your route into Manhattan. The Brooklyn Bridge is the most picturesque and iconic, but also the most clogged with bikers and slow-moving tourists. To avoid the crowds, traverse the nearby Manhattan Bridge, which goes from DUMBO to the Financial District, or the Williamsburg Bridge, which crosses the East River from Williamsburg to the Lower East Side.
Run Some Races!
With so many great places to run, it’s not surprising that Brooklyn has races every week, with room for competitors of all abilities. The best way to get started is to sign up. Check out the NYC Runs race calendar for a comprehensive list of races in Brooklyn and the rest of the region.