10 Great Running Cities Around the World

Kevin Gray
by Kevin Gray
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10 Great Running Cities Around the World

The world is full of roads and trails. (It’s also full of treadmills, but those don’t offer the same views as getting outdoors.) So, no matter which corner of the globe you call home, or find yourself visiting next, you’re likely within walking distance of a running path. But some cities take running to new heights, offering massive parks, elaborate trail systems, running clubs and other friendly features.

Below, we’re highlighting 10 such places. Lace up your shoes, pull up your favorite running app, and go exploring in these great running cities around the world.

Though known best as a cycling city, Amsterdam is also a great place to run. The countless canals and bridges create plenty of opportunities for jogging within the urban center, where you can take in the historic architecture and museums. Another waterside option includes the path along the Amstel River, which forms a half-circle around the city center. If you’d like to check out one (or two) of the many nearby parks, try Vondelpark or Rembrandtpark. Each offers clean trails, green spaces, ponds and gardens.

This gorgeous coastal city is famous for its dramatic views and natural landmarks, including the iconic Table Mountain and Lion’s Head peak. Explore the Pipe Track trail for a look at both, run the loop at the base of Lion’s Head, or climb your way to the top for a slower hike. There’s no shortage of options for exploring the surrounding scenery. For something less strenuous, head for the flat Sea Point Promenade, a car-free, seaside path that’s popular with runners and walkers.

By far the smallest city on this list, Flagstaff holds its own as a running destination. Situated about 7,000 feet above sea level, it sports hundreds of miles of dirt roads, mountain paths and tree-lined trails. The elevation yields mild temperatures that rarely surpass 80-degrees in summer, making it a year-round running destination and the city offers numerous training clubs for all levels of runners, from recreational to elite. Given all that, it’s no wonder many professional runners call Flagstaff home.

Although the tube is an efficient way to get around the city, being above ground is certainly a better way to see it. Run along the Thames, and you can pair your workout with sightseeing, passing by iconic locales like the Tower of London, Big Ben and the London Eye. For other great routes, try any of the royal parks, including Hyde Park, St. James Park and Kensington Gardens. There you’ll find some of the largest green spaces in London, complete with tree-lined paths, ponds, gardens and even the occasional palace.

Even with crowds of locals and tourists, New York still manages to provide plenty of options for runners. Central Park is an obvious choice — and for good reason — as it offers several scenic, soft-surface paths, including the Reservoir Track and Bridle Path. If you’d rather see more of the city, head west to Riverside Park to run alongside the Hudson River, or make it a multi-borough jaunt by running the Brooklyn Bridge, which stretches for more than a mile.

Last year, Portland was ranked the fifth fittest city in America by the American College of Sports Medicine. So, naturally, there are places to run. More than 200 miles of trails cross through Portland, including urban options along the Willamette River downtown. For another run through the city, try Terwilliger Boulevard. This paved path cuts through a park and is a popular spot for joggers. And the Springwater Corridor, which is part of a 40-mile trail system, offers a customizable option for seeing the city, crossing bridges and visiting outlying suburbs.

Temperate weather, natural beauty and a combination of urban and nature trails conspire to make San Francisco a great running destination. If you want to check the Golden Gate Bridge off your list, you can run along its 1.7-mile pedestrian path. You’ll need to weave between other runners, walkers and sometimes cyclists, but you can’t beat the view. Golden Gate Park is full of paths, ponds and gardens. The Presidio, a 1,500-acre park and former military post, has miles of trails and plenty of scenic overlooks. And the Ocean Beach trail provides a flat (by SF standards), paved path for running along the water.

This coastal metropolis sits on the world’s largest natural harbor, features numerous beaches, iconic waterside sights and great weather. So, by all means, go running in Sydney. If you’d like to keep the water within view, you can run along the harbor, taking in sights like the Opera House and Harbor Bridge. Plus, you’ll be near the botanical gardens, should you want to duck in for a change of scenery. If you like green spaces, you can head inland to Centennial Park. Located just outside downtown, its 3.5K loop is a favorite for local runners. If you want to recreate some year-2000 Summer Olympics magic, head west for Olympic Park, which features countless tracks and more than 20 miles of trails.

Tokyo is one of the most populous cities in the world, but it’s still a great place to run. That’s because the city takes its parks seriously, with lots of green space for fresh air and exercise. Favorites include Yoyogi Park, Ueno Park and the open spaces around the Imperial Palace and

Akasaka Palace. Depending on where you’re staying, you might have to utilize the efficient public transit system to get where you’re going. But once you arrive at one of these runner-friendly parks, you’ll find miles of trails to explore. Go in spring, and you can run among the cherry blossoms, while fall provides pleasant temperatures and colorful foliage.

Run in Vancouver, and you can visit the ocean and the mountains on the same day — all while staying within city limits. The dense urban center is complemented by 17 miles of seawall, with an uninterrupted path popular for joggers and bikers. Touching that seawall is Stanley Park which provides 1,000 gorgeous acres of forested trails and gardens. If you want your run to be more of a climb, try the Grouse Grind, a 1.8-mile trail up Grouse Mountain that gains 2,800 quad-burning feet of elevation.

About the Author

Kevin Gray
Kevin Gray

Kevin is a Dallas-based writer who spends the majority of his weekends on a bike. His less healthy pursuits can be found at Bevvy and Cocktail Enthusiast.


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