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Battered & Bloodied: Steve’s Throwback to BROOKLYN HALF-MARATHON 2008



Less than two miles into the 2008 Brooklyn Half-Marathon, my race hung by a hairbreadth. I found myself prone on the Coney Island boardwalk, having incurred multiple injuries. Would I have to drop out of a race for the first time in over 170 starts?

Not if I had anything to say about it.

Battered and bloodied, I tried to get up…

Mile 0: History Lesson

In 2008, The Brooklyn Half was not this major party with more than 25K runners, finishing at Coney Island. It was a smaller race (5,839 finishers) that, for the final time, started there, and challenged runners by concluding in hilly Prospect Park. 🏔

(Map from

Mile 1: Want a Hot Dog?

On this cloudy, cool morning, the race began on the boardwalk, with the ocean to my left.🌊 My goal: under-10:00/mi. I passed the shuttered eateries (such as Nathan’s). Thanks to a restroom stop, my split was 10:33.

Mile 2: SPLAT!

Shortly after the turnaround, I stumbled, and apprehension swelled as the boardwalk rose up to meet me. I connected five body parts with the boardwalk: knees, hands, and what I thought was a bone on the left side of my chest.

I stood, tried to run…and I could! Still, I had emerged from this tumble with significant damage. While not bleeding, both knees were scraped: the right, barely; the left, however, sported an ugly red blotch. My hands briefly felt a bit sore, but inspecting them showed no damage. Of greater concern, however, might have been my chest or ribs. Now and then, I’d feel a twinge.

I defiantly stated to one of the concerned runners that after putting in two 10-milers, I wasn’t going to let a little tumble stop me. I was going to run competitively as if I had never fallen. I think this incident increased my determination. 

Split: 10:06, Net: 20:40, Deficit  0:40

Mile 3: Goodbye, Boardwalk

Around mile 2.8, the race mercifully left the boardwalk and descended onto city streets. Soon, we took a right onto Surf Avenue and before long, I hit the Mile 3 marker in an estimated time of 9:50.

Miles 4 - 9; Ocean Parkway to Prospect Park

The race proceeded north on almost-flat Ocean Parkway. Now and then, I’d draw on the company of my fellow runners with whom I would share my story about how lucky I was to still be in this race.

I settled into a nice rhythm, most of my miles under-10:00, and took the lead on my goal pace by Mile 5. While I wanted to accumulate a time cushion before the dreaded Mile 11 hill in Prospect Park, I needed to save something. The race was going by pretty quickly, a testament to the good day I was enjoying. What injuries? Adrenaline and determination were getting me through the half-marathon.

Eventually, I ran up an exit ramp and soon entered the park near Mile 9 with a comfortable lead.

Net: 1:28:41, Lead: 1:19

Mile 10: Gobble, Gobble

Now, around a 10:19 pace would attain my goal. I soon would pass landmarks I recognized from the Turkey Trot; however, my planned post-race dinner was steak. I gained another 10 seconds by Mile 10, body still feeling good.

Split: 9:50, Net: 1:38:31, Lead: 1:29

Mile 11: That Looming Hill

Shortly thereafter, on East Drive, the hill appeared. The slope is significant and lengthy. I met the challenge head-on. Finally, on West Drive, I would reach Mile 11. Relieved, I checked my watch.

I had conquered The Hill in 9:44 for Mile Eleven. About nine miles earlier, I could’ve taken a DNF. Now, I stood just 2.1 miles from a triumphant finish.

Split: 9:44, Net: 1:48:15, Lead: 1:45

Miles 12 - 13.1 – Hanging On

My injuries were still holding up. At Mile 12, I lead by 1:49. I could taste it.

I was tiring though, and challenged by the long, gradual uphill on Wellhouse/Hill Drive. I had defeated that big hill, but now, the course walloped me with the back end of a one-two punch. I refused to give in, looking, looking, looking for the end of this road. Would that intersection ever appear?

Mercifully, it did, and I returned to East Drive. Shortly thereafter, I made the final turn, onto Center Drive. Somewhere along this road came one more short, slight uphill. Finally, I spotted the Mile 13 marker, hitting it in 10:00. I still led by 1:49. My battered body had nothing left for a finishing sprint, but I had fully earned the right not to kick. I would cross that Finish Line, and secure my first competitive triumph in over ten months.

I had stared adversity in the race, turning a fall that could have ruined my race into victory. 

Split   1:01;  Net:  2:09:11 (Pace: 9:52/mi)

Miles 14 - 15: Celebration! Celebration!

Now, my body could allow itself to feel beaten up. My left knee started hurting, all I needed when I had to climb the steps of the baggage bus.🚌

Still, I reveled in my achievement and enjoyed the generous post-race team brunch hosted by New York Flyer couple Sara and Gary Heard, including a bagel, meatballs, and quiche.🥯 As my rib injury pained me when I coughed, I remarked that I hoped that no one would tell me any jokes so that I did not have to laugh. The fabric of my post-race sweatpants rubbed uncomfortably against  my knee. After the gathering, fellow Flyer Ed Altman saved me from a taxing subway ride home by driving me back to Manhattan. Thank you, Ed! I’ve met so many wonderful people through the Flyers.

By evening, it hurt to get in and out of bed. It didn’t matter. Especially during my celebration dinner. Nothing like steak and plentiful wine🍷🍷🍷to ease the pain after one of my proudest races.

-Steve Kairys