Brooklyn Queens Brewery Express Half Marathon Race Report

Race: Brooklyn Queens Brewery Express Half Marathon

Runner: Heather Park

Race Date: 6/12/2021

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Results: 2:09:30 (not closed course, running through the city)


3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

1) the COURSE: this is NOT a closed course — you’re literally running through the streets of Queens & Brooklyn, with cars, dodging pedestrians, waiting at traffic lights (or running through them!). But you really get a feel for each neighborhood, and the…

2) the VIBE! This has an “urban trail run” feel. The organizers don’t waste energy on fancy frills – everything is volunteer driven, and everyone is there to support each other and enjoy the experience. The civilians along the route were cheering us on as well.

3) the race was not overly crowded – around 150 runners or so. Best for safety reasons, and nothing gets overly crowded.

4) the SWAG: you get a great shirt, and everyone scores a beautiful Pint Glass to take home! (and a simple medal too!)

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

I really love this race, but if I had to choose something…..
The race is really all about feeling the boroughs, and getting to appreciate the very NYC experience of running through the streets. One down side is that the race attracted a lot of first-timers who kept complaining about the concept of an unsanctioned race. “no bike lanes?”

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

I think the weird / COOL thing about this race, is that they have a “no runner left behind” policy. They have a beloved NYC running figure named Power Malu who runs at the very back of the pack and makes sure every single person makes it across the line. He carries with him a golden broom, since he’s the Sweeper! 🙂

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

This was the first race since the pandemic, so I think I just got way too excited! I think I was happy with my consistent pacing, but perhaps started that consistent pace too quickly.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

This is a race to enjoy and experience, not to PR. You’re running on a non-closed course, so you have to balance safety with speed. I’d say this race is really about running & seeing a part of Queens & Brooklyn that most people probably don’t get to experience on a daily basis. It’s an ode to borough running.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Start slower!

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

The course changes every other year: one year, you’ll run clockwise, the next year, you’ll run counter-clockwise.

Watch out for the cars!

Listen to the volunteers at the aid stations (which are situated at every turn) to make sure you don’t take a turn at the wrong place.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

It’s “urban pretty”

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

It’s not technically difficult (unless you count potholes!), but definitely have to be alert for traffic & surroundings, so it’s more challenging mentally. Not only are you making sure not to trip on an uneven sidewalk or pothole, but you have to make sure you’re looking at traffic lights, cars, and pedestrians also.

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

It’s well-organized but casual. It’s a labor of love for the running crew that organizes it.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

A lot of the local NYC running crew starlets definitely show up for this!

Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.

Nope. Just follow the Queens Rebel Run Crew ( for when the registration opens up.

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

Just water/sports drink bottles I think?

Weather and typical race conditions

Typical NYC June weather

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Could be friendly for friends along the way.

How’s the Swag?

Great! You get a very simple medal, a shirt (non dri-fit) and a gorgeous pint glass!

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

5 stars, but you have to really want to embrace this kind of race!