Cobble Hill resident and local runner Ben Berkman conquered on Saturday, finishing with a new personal record: 1:57—nearly three full minutes faster than he ran the New York City Half in March.
Berkman, who ran in support of the charity Team For Kids, said the roads were packed with fellow runners.
"The size was, in a word, huge!" said Berkman. "I read that the amount of entrants nearly tripled this year, ballooning from 6,000 runners last year to over 16,000 this year. This makes the Brooklyn Half the biggest half marathon in the country by far."
Berkman feels there has been a general resurgence of interest in health and personal fitness in NYC, with running seemingly leading the charge.
"Perhaps its driven by a challenging economy," he noted. "But, regardless of the reason, I think its a great thing."
Currently in training for the ING NYC Marathon this November, Berkman managed to make it all the way to Coney Island and back without devouring one of the neighborhood's famous hot dogs.
"I cannot believe I missed the chance to eat a hot dog for breakfast—at the world famous Nathan's no less," Berkman lamented. "But the lines were very long and I had to get home to shower and make it to my wife's 20th high school reunion."
When not racing the streets of the best borough, Berkman is executive president of and a founding partner in A&M/Octone Records, having discovered and signed the Los Angeles-based pop band Maroon 5. He and his wife Boji Wong, a litigation associate at Cahill Gordon & Reindel, live with their three children in Cobble Hill.
Family members were not only in attendance at the race to cheer Berkman on, but running alongside him as well.
"My sister ran the Brooklyn Half," he said. "Although we ran the race at different paces, we enjoyed a fun carb load dinner last night and traveled to the start together. Running with New York Road Runners has been a real bonding experience for us."
Though he missed seeing his brother-in-law and two nieces along the course, Berkman said he did spot all of his coaches from Team For Kids at various points.
"Moreover, the people of NYC are so amazing," Berkman opined. "Anytime I needed inspiration, I would just make eye contact with someone in the crowd and I got encouragement. It's such a boost and its one of many things that makes NYC the best city in the world."
Berkman will be proudly wearing a Team For Kids singlet through the five boroughs this fall. Congratulations to all neighborhood finishers.