Serious runners spend many hours away from their families with their daily running, cross training,…
Most of us spend the majority of our days trapped in the urban jungle of concrete and steel. But that is not necessarily a bad thing. For fitness and travel enthusiasts, the best running trails are right in the heart of some of the world’s busiest places [TWEET THIS!].
Running not only serves as a fitness plan but also a great way to get some sightseeing done especially if you’re visiting a new city. It’s the best of both worlds! It helps business travelers keep up with their exercise routines while taking in a bit of the locale. So whether you’re travelling for work or you’re simply a tourist wanting to drink in what the city has to offer, here are the world’s best cities for running.
- NEW YORK CITY, USA
The Big Apple is known to be one of the busiest and most populated cities in the US with tall skyscrapers and crowded sidewalks. However, not everything in New York City is cement and steel. The city actually has several spots that are perfect for runners!
New York’s iconic Central Park is ideal for runners with its scenic six-mile loop. The park is also home to the finish line of many marathons that are held in the city. New York also boasts of The High Line which is a 2.3 kilometer-long linear park that sits on a disused section of the city railroad that connects Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District with 34th Street. Aside from these, fitness enthusiasts can also take in the city’s breathtaking views on their run on the West Side Highway and along the East River.
- SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
Sydney boasts of hundreds of running trails ranging from runs along the city’s harbor to more challenging bush trails that dot the suburbs and city outskirts. The Harbour City is home to various running trails such as the Royal Botanic Gardens, a pathway that overlooks the iconic Sydney Opera House. Runners would also enjoy running on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Another favorite of the local runners is The Bay Run which is a trail in Sydney’s western suburbs that loops around the Iron Cove. Just recently, it has been widened to allow more room for runners and cyclists. President of the Sydney Striders Running Club Joe Degabriele described it saying, “It’s a beautiful setting with flat separated footpaths over a seven-kilometer circuit.”
- HONG KONG, HONG KONG
The beautiful city of Hong Kong offers a plethora of options for runners. Whether you prefer running urban trails or off-the-beaten-path trails, the city is sure to bathe your senses with scenic views.
One of the locals’ favorite is the famous Hong Kong Trail which is a 50-kilometer running stretch. The great thing about this trail is that it can easily be broken down into achievable, shorter stretches.
“Starting from the Peak, the first half is a gradual descent through dense tropical woodland, crossing occasional streams and offering brief glimpses of the city below,” member of Hong Kong’s Italia Running Club Peter Hopper said. The trail also challenges runners with steep exposed climbs over the island’s highest peaks with 360-degree views. Hong Kong is packed with sights to see!
- LONDON, ENGLAND
The English capital is a breathtaking, scenic place for runners to enjoy. London is rich with stunning views of the city, plenty of wildlife, and lots of opportunities to grab an ice-cream cone post-run.
The iconic Hyde Park is one of the most popular destinations for runners in London. Thames Path is perfect for runners as well with its 289-kilometer stretch that spans from the Thames Flood Barrier at Woolwich in the South East London to Kemble in Gloucestershire. However, do keep in mind that unless you’re superhuman, running the entire path in one go isn’t recommendable. If you’re itching to get out of the urban setting, you can run along Wimbledon Common and enjoy its forested paths and nature reserve.
- TOKYO, JAPAN
The concrete jungle of Japan may be as populated as New York City but it also has its greener side. One of Tokyo’s largest green spaces is the Yoyogi Park. It is a popular destination for runners and stays open 24 hours. The park is ideally situated in the heart of the city, making it perfect for post-work run at the end of the day.
Yoyogi park showcases a beautiful sprawl of trees and greenery as paths within the park are littered with distance markers that help runners gauge their progress. Not only is the park popular with the average-Joe runners but also with blind runners thanks to volunteers who lead them. The trail provides a pleasant, compact circuit that is open to everyone apart from the Meiji’s Shrine.
- VANCOUVER, CANADA
Canada is packed with stunning picturesque landscapes that can make your run more relaxing and pleasant. Vancouver routinely ranks among one of the most livable cities in the world. With its pristine setting along the Pacific, the city is bound to capture the hearts of runners with its natural beauty.
Fitness enthusiasts and travelers would love Vancouver’s forested trails, waterfront routes, and mountains. The Stanley Park seawall stretches on for 5.5 miles, leading you around the Stanley Park point along Burrard Inlet, under the Lions Gate Bridge, and down to False Creek.
- BELLEVILLE, ILLINOIS
Belleville has long supported the city’s growing population of runners and has invested in infrastructure to show it. The city boasts of vast networks of sidewalks together with running and biking trails that make it easy for a runner to find a route in the community.
Perhaps one of the most popular trails is the Richland Creek Greenway Trail which is a 2-mile, multi-purpose pathway that meanders through the heart of the city. The trail is accessible at several locations, connecting to the 6-mile MetroLink Trail.
The city also is home to 125 miles of sidewalk for running use. The longest stretch is a 10-mile run down the beautiful Main Street. In fact, Belleville is just getting started since it plans to extend their trail networks! The Illinois city is not only a haven for runners but offers many sights to see as well.
- DETROIT, MICHIGAN
The Road Runners Club of America (RCCA) has recently listed the Motor City as a Runner Friendly Community. The Riverfront Pathway is one of the best places for runners to explore and enjoy the views that the city has to offer. Located on the Detroit River in the heart of the city, the pathway stretches over four-miles of lit pathway. But that’s not all! There are still plans to extend this trail to 5.5-miles by this year.
Additionally, fitness enthusiasts can also bask in the beauty of Belle Isle on their run. The 900-acre park is located in the middle of the Detroit River and has over six-miles of roadway that includes a pedestrian and bike lane, filling your senses with the city’s beautiful landscapes and picturesque scenery.
- ROCKWALL, TEXAS
The city of Rockwall hosts over 25 running and triathlon events as well as being the home to the US Toyota Triathlon Championships and the Patriot Half Marathon.
The city has invested in running trails such as the Emerald Bay Park which is highlighted by a lit aerial fountain in the middle of the pond that is surrounded by a walking and running trail. “To say Rockwall is a Runner Friendly Community is an understatement,” City of Rockwall Parks and Recreation Manager Casey Allen said. Regardless of your age and where you’re from, you are sure to love the hospitality and natural beauty of this Texan city.
- RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
Brazil is known for its stunning clear water beaches, powdery white sand, and fun loving people. If you’re planning a trip to the Brazilian capital, make sure to take the time to run along the city’s Flamengo Park. From the first touch of the sun, the place comes alive with pre-work rounds of volleyball and swarms of joggers and cyclists.
In addition, the stretch of Leblon-Ipanema-Arpoardor is an alluring stretch of sand that is sure to call to you. Running along one of the world’s most breathtaking urban beaches with the Atlantic as a stunning backdrop is a treat for any fitness and travel enthusiast. This five-mile loop boasts of amazing sunsets to boot!
And there you have it! That wraps up our list of the best cities for running. For most of us, traveling is an exciting adventure waiting to be explored. There are countless sights to see and memories to make when you pound the pavement in a city you’ve never uncovered before. Instead of taking a couple of laps around the neighborhood, take a detour to bask in the natural and man-made beauty of the city you’re in. There’s a lot more to explore in the world that’s waiting for you!
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