North Brooklyn Runners has been connecting runners in the Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Bushwick, and extended communities for over five years now. The group is a great way for runners to meet training partners, improve their speed and distance, attend workshops about running and training (not to mention hanging out at the Nest after workouts and making a whole new set of friends).Runs are open to all, and vary on pace and distance. Starting either at the lovely recycling bins in McCarren Park, Grand Army Plaza at Prospect Park, or the Williamsburg Bridge, there are anywhere from one to five runs a day. Anyone can come so there is no need to sign up or register.
A favorite run starts Saturdays at 9am at the base of the Williamsburg Bridge; runners do a lap of the bridge, and then to a local coffee shop to refuel with caffeine and pastries. Sunday Funday long runs take place on scenic routes through the city streets, though some members leave the streets for trails, like Bear Mountain, where many members are running the trail races this weekend (ranging from 5k to 50 miles).
“NBR has made North Brooklyn a place where you can always find a running buddy,” says former Sunday Funday run leader, Mary Harvey, who recently ran her first 100 mile race in Umstead State Park. People in the club race all distances, from the 400 meters to 100 miles and multi-day stage races.
The club hosts social events, like formal dances, scavenger hunts, hula hoop contests, and happy hours. Experts, like local physical therapists, yoga instructors, podiatrists, and athletes give workshops on topics like injury prevention, yoga for runners, mind-body connection, triathlons 101, ultrarunning basic, and discount shopping nights.
On April 25 at McCarren Park, NBR hosted the McCarren Track Classic. As the runners warmed up doing stretches and jumps, I had vivid memories of high school and college track, and was glad there was no option to run the steeplechase (or I might have found myself landing in the water repeatedly in front of my teammates).
The meet started off with a kid’s race, which was obvioulsy pretty cute. The women’s and men’s NYC Runs Mile followed. First place woman was Catlin Phillips in 5:16, followed by Andrea Imhof in 5:17, and New York Harrier’s Jennie Cohen was third in 5:29. For men, Jason Lakritz of Urban Athletics won the race in 4:29, followed by WBTC’s Stefan Lingmerth in 4:32 and less than a second later, North Brooklyn Runner’s very own Alexander Woolverton.
The relay finished off the meet, with a Distance Medley Relay (1200m, 400m, 800m, 1600m) and the 4×400. While some of the teams had names like NBR Women and Urban Athletics, others tapped into their creativity with names like We just Created This Group, Crouching Raymond Hidden Chu, and Four Men and a Relay. Pretty awesome.