Founded in 2009, North Brooklyn Runners was created when the club's founding members longed for the camaraderie and motivation of having a team to run with in northern Brooklyn.  SO, they started posting flyers for group runs around their neighborhood.  Almost 10 years later, NBR is one of New York City's most prominent run clubs, with nearly 1300 registered members, and hundreds participating in group runs on a weekly basis.  They commonly place amongst the top teams in the larger NYRR's races, and yet they still know how to have fun, and not take themselves to seriously.  We sat down with the current President of the team, Jen, to find out what makes this team so unique, and fun to be a part of. 

photo by Drew Reynolds

photo by Drew Reynolds

You have a LOT of members on your club, how do you keep this club feeling intimate, and personal to your members? 

To serve the breadth of our membership, NBR currently offers 20 group runs per week. Workouts range from beginner and easy runs to tempo, track, long runs and even a plyometrics workout. Club members are welcome to participate in the runs best suited to their schedules, abilities, locations and goals. Personal relationships tend to form among training partners at each weekly run. It's hard not to feel the personal and intimate love in NBR. 

North Brooklyn Runners is a unique club in that is has been able to truly bridge the gap between the traditional clubs of our past, and the new "crews" that have changed the way we look at runners, and how we move the running initiative forward.  What is so special and unique about NBR that you think makes this possible? 

Great question... I think NBR's ability to "Bridge The Gap" between old and new is due the vast participation of our membership and our openness to growth and change. NBR is an entirely volunteer-based club, which means every group run and event we organize is lead by members willing to commit their time and energy. Some of our runs and activities date back to 2009, with their traditions being passed down over the years, while we also welcome new additions to our schedule anytime someone has a great idea and the fortitude to see it through. Recently, we've added group runs in the Bedford-Stuyvesant Neighborhood, hosted our first ever Red Hook Track Meet with our friends The Dashing Whippets, and even had a photo exhibit of NBR Portraits - all thanks to the initiative of our membership!  

We have seen NBR members fully embrace our races.  Where do you see these races fitting into the typical 5K / 10K / 1/2M / Marathon, and their training?

Summer is a great time for racing. From June to September, NBR actively participates in NYRR "Club Points" races, track meets, as well as events such as the Red Hook Crit 5k, The Brooklyn Mile, and Orchard Street Runners' races. (We even have our own secret/homespun race series on the Pulaski Bridge to end the Summer – ssshhh, don’t tell.) Take The Bridge is a perfect fit for our speedy schedule, and also an exciting and creative event for club members seeking a non-traditional and urban road race experience. NBR Runners actively training for and pursuing new race challenges and faster times love the opportunity to show their stuff across our local bridges.     

You have a lot of young energy on your team, and it shows in all the creative runs that you have through out the week.  Give us a little run down on what you offer for runs through out the week. 

Hey, it’s not just the youth with energy in this club! NBR boasts a fantastic and highly ranked Masters Team (members aged 40+) and the age range in our club goes from early 20s to 70+. We love it that way.
Our creative run schedule includes 1 to 5 organized group runs per day (except for Fridays.) Workouts early in the week tend to focus on recovery and ease, midweek is for road runs and speed, and weekends are ofcourse for long-running.

Train hard / party hard?  How does NBR celebrate as a community?

NBR loves to celebrate! Several of our workouts end with coffee or happy hour, and all major races are celebrated with group travel to and from the events, and a club wide brunch. NBR is also notorious for supporting & cheering each other on at races and workouts – We’ve won the annual New York Road Runners “Team Spirit” award several times in the past decade.

Tell us about the naming of workouts by animals . . . and what is this super animal?

There are several legends of how the animal named workouts began in NBR... I'll let their inception remain an alluring mystery to be discussed and debated, but here's the list of our animal friendly workouts: 
- The Nite Owl – Late (and FAST) Monday Night 10 Miler on the Williamsburg Bridge
- Tigerwolves - Tuesday Morning Tempo Run
- Morning Doves - Wednesday Morning 10 Mile Road Run
- Hellkatz - Thursday Morning Track Workout
- Narwhals - Saturday Morning Long Run
Any NBR member who completes The Nite Owl, Tigerwolves. Morning Doves and Hellkatz workouts in a single week is deemed an NBR CROWNIMAL. (And receives a certificate with an illustrated amalgamation of those animals along with champagne, donuts and undying admiration.) 
Photo by Drew Reyonlds

Photo by Drew Reyonlds

Favorite bridge to train on?

Williamsburg Bridge of course! 

Favorite running route?

Prospect Park & Kent Avenue see a ton of action from NBR. Prospect Park is home to our “Just South” contingency, who live closer to Grand Army Plaza than McCarren Park. They often run loops, figure eights and hill repeats in the park. Kent Avenue is a flat 2-mile stretch between N. 14th Street and Flushing Avenue in Williamsburg, and is part of the "Brooklyn Greenway" path with bike lanes and wide sidewalks. It's often used for speed and tempo workouts, and atleast half of our mid-distance and long road runs include Kent Avenue in their route.

Favorite workout for your members?

The Saturday Morning Bridge Run is consistently NBR's most popular run, for new and old members alike - runners from all pace groups trek out-and-back across the Williamsburg Bridge, followed by coffee at a local café. 

Favorite place to refuel after a run?

My favorite (and possibly the oldest) NBR post-run tradition: Beer at the Turkey's Nest following Thursday Night Track. The Turkey's Nest is our home turf dive bar at the corner of Bedford Ave and N. 12th Street Williamsburg, that's been around since before the club's inception. There are high spirits and hilarity as we celebrate/commiserate our completion of a tough speed workout and week.

Coffee or Beer after a hard workout?

Why not both!? NBR is a strong supporter of coffee, beer, donuts and even breakfast salmon. All dependent on what time we run.