While exercise fads come and go, running stays strong year after year. That’s because, as those of us who run know, nothing gives you a rush quite like a good run does! The United States offers myriad running terrains – from the lush greenery of the Pacific Northwest, to the urban retreat of New York City’s Central Park. There’s no shortage of scenery, terrain type, and location for the hardcore runner, but which U.S cities have the best running culture? The most runners? Which ones have large running groups and plenty of races and triathlons? It’s time to lace up your running shoes and hit the trails, Runner’s Edge NY has rounded up the numbers and done the math and we’re proud to present the very best cities for runners in the United States:
1. San Francisco
According to Prevention Magazine, San Francisco is the #1 walking city in the United States – and why not? With gorgeous bay area views, ample parks, and perfect weather, we’d spend plenty of time walking around if we were there too! San Francisco is also consistently ranked in the top 5 U.S cities for cycling, running, health, overall fitness, and best sports city. Another bonus? San Francisco is one of the largest cities in the U.S with the lowest smoking rates! The city boasts the lovely Golden Gate Park where groups practice yoga and tai chi and where running groups meet. Check out over 200 runners at the historic Kezar Stadium on Tuesday nights and join the women’s Impala Racing team with over 130 members who are hardcore about their running!
Whether you like to run in the midst of a busy metropolis or you want to escape it all in a scenic park, New York City and its boroughs have everything a runner dreams of. The city offers a huge array of running apparel stores, parks, trails, clubs, marathons, and more! Check out Brooklyn's Promenade with its views of New York Harbor or enjoy a leisurely run along Long Island's beaches. With over 150 miles of coastline, Long Island has some of the best beaches and harbors in the world and offers plenty of lovely scenery and open space with fresh air to enjoy on your runs! For those in the Bronx, try Van Cortlandt Park. Don't forget Central Park, where over 7,000 people run its 6 mile loop of hills, flats, and celeb sightings daily! New York and Long Island are also home to a huge number of clubs and races - from the Half Marathon Grand Prix to the Nike Run Hit Wonder; the Greater Long Island Running Club to the Achilles Track Club. New York also offers something unique for tourists – the City Running Tours! These guided running tours take you through a variety of New York City locales and your experienced guide will narrate the history of the city as your get an awesome workout. Long Island is home to a huge number of clubs the largest being the Greater Long Island Running Club with almost 3000 members. There is also an abundance of road races and triathlons from the Farmingdale Main Street Mile to the largest triathlon on Long Island; the Runner's Edge Tobay Triathlon and Tri-relay.
3. Austin, Texas
The Lone Star capital is consistently featured within the top 5 for most active U.S cities. It has also topped healthiest cities lists, best outdoor cities lists, and most attractive cities lists. The city offers an abundance of outdoor hike and bike trails, runners groups, triathlons, and other events for the fitness enthusiast. Enjoy the 10 mile Town Lake Trail that winds through downtown, past gorgeous Town Lake, and into historical neighborhoods with beautiful buildings. Did we mention that Austin is also one of the country’s top metro areas with the most athletic residents? We recommend getting your triathlon apparel and a good pair of trail running shoes before arriving in this fitness fanatics' city!
4. Boulder, CO
In Boulder, running is a way of life as evidenced by their NCAA cross-country championship teams (men’s and women’s) and their beautiful parks, trails, and paths. Nestled in the valley amongst some of the most breath-taking mountains, Boulder offers stunning scenery no matter where you choose to run and with over 36,000 acres of recreational open space, you won’t find yourself in a routine run any time soon! Looking for a dedicated group of people with the same running style as you? Check out one of the many running groups in the area, from the Boulder Trail Runners to the Boulder Run Runners or the Boulder Striders. Enjoy crisp mountain air in this athletic mecca!
5. Portland, OR
Set against a backdrop of lush greenery, no other city can boast 50 miles of primeval forest trails a mere skip from the urban city center. Portland offers mountain views, riverside paths, urban road terrain and much more. The city also offers ample parks for a quick jog during your lunch break, and the proximity to so much forestry guarantees impeccable air quality. Meet fellow runners on the popular Leif Erickson Trail, or go for a leisurely jog on the scenic 3.6 mile loop around Fairmount Boulevard.
Honorable mention goes to:
San Diego, CA