Many athletes in the 2016 Airbnb Brooklyn Half used the event as an opportunity to give back to the running community, whether through volunteering at the race or by running for charity.
With 2,000-plus volunteers spread throughout the course on race day, more than 20,000 runners could feel strong support and encouragement all the way from Prospect Park to Coney Island. Volunteers were easy to spot in their stylish black-and-white Airbnb Brooklyn Half hats—a special thank-you gift. This year’s volunteers also earned guaranteed entry to the 2017 Airbnb Brooklyn Half, giving them a chance to experience that same support they gave others in 2016.
Hunt Lau, a local volunteer from Bensonhurst, said he was surprised by the scale of the event: “I didn’t realize how many people it took to put this together, but the training was great and the responsiveness to everything has been really quick.”
Lau also fulfilled his volunteer requirement as part of the 9+1 program for guaranteed entry to the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon, and is already set to complete his ninth race next month at the NYRR Five-Borough Series: Queens 10K.
On the course, more than 1,500 half-marathoners added meaning to their 13.1 miles by running with NYRR’s Team for Kids. Each TFK runner raised a minimum of $300 to benefit NYRR’s free youth running programs such as Mighty Milers and Young Runners.
Brooklynite and TFK member Jon O’Conner found no issue with his fundraising effort—having run track in high school, he felt a connection to the team’s mission of helping young athletes. He sent a “throwback” photo from his track days to his friends and family, telling them about his run with TFK, and soon found he had surpassed $600 in donations.
Conor Morris, an East Village-based TFK runner, said the program offered great resources for team members preparing for 13.1. From training tips and motivational quotes in TFK emails to the race-day cheer zone at mile 8, he commented, “It gives a little bit of camaraderie in an otherwise independent sport.”
Ella Moncur customized her bright green TFK jersey with her name on the front and a “YOU’VE GOT THIS!” message on the back for her fellow runners. “If people encourage me, I want to encourage them, too,” she said.
As a nurse, the West Orange, NJ, resident felt a connection to TFK’s mission to get kids started early in leading healthy lifestyles. After running the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon with TFK, she signed up soon after for the 2016 Airbnb Brooklyn Half and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon: “The mentors, the training, the support—everyone is so amazing; it’s like a family.”