Brooklyn to host first rock and roll half marathon Saturday

Upbeat music and energetic runners will fill Prospect Park and Ocean Parkway this weekend as part of the first “Rock …

Upbeat music and energetic runners will fill Prospect Park and Ocean Parkway this weekend as part of the first “Rock and Roll” half-marathon in the city.

Most big races already include roaring crowds, but for Saturday’s event, live bands of various musical genres will be stationed at every mile marker to cheer on the 17,500 entrants. Competitor Group, the company that created the race, held a similar 10K in Prospect Park last year and organizers say its popularity called for an expansion to the Brooklyn streets.

“It’s not a serious event so it appeals to all runners, those who want to run a few k and the more intense runners,” said Elisa Hoffman, the event coordinator.

The 13.1-mile race begins at Grand Army Plaza, runs out along Eastern Parkway before going back into Prospect Park, traveling south on Ocean Parkway, and veering up north again to end the course at the Nethermead in Prospect Park.

Organizers will honor Harriette Thompson, the 92-year-old runner who completed a marathon this summer, at the starting line and Nate Ruess, of the band Fun., will perform a post-race concert.

Hoffman, who completed three marathons herself, said runners are used to hearing tunes in their headphones and this race will bring the energy to the spectators too.

Some of the local bands include a jazz ensemble, a rock group and a choir.

“People love the set up. They have the mixture of the running and songs,” Hoffman said.

She added that the participants are stoked to take part in a one of a kind race. Margaret Granger’s 14-year-old son Andrew will be running as part of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s team and said the race was right up his ally.

The Northport High School freshman not only runs on the track team, but also plays the guitar and violin.

“He trained a lot for the summer to prepare for the cross country team, so he’s in good shape,” Margaret Granger said. “And the whole rock and roll thing is just cool.”

Hoffman said Competitor would like to make this an annual race and wouldn’t rule out creating similar events in other parts of the city.

“For now we want to make this year great and see what goes from there,” she said.

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