As runners, we’re lucky. We don’t require expensive equipment or special sports pitches to practice our favorite form of exercise. Plus, it’s free!
What we do appreciate are a few things: a mild climate, plentiful routes, tracks and trails, a supportive local community of runners and perhaps some company.
Ever wondered where in the U.S offer these wonderful qualities and are the best cities for runners? Well, now you do.
Financial company SmartAsset has recently released its annual study of the top 10 cities that rank as best for runners. Want to see if your hometown is on the list or find some inspiration for the next trip away? Read on for the results.
Arlington, Virginia topped the list as the best city for runners this year, and there’s a good reason why.
The city is packed full of features that make it a city runner’s dream. For one, it has the most races and the third highest number of gyms per 10,000 residents on the list for the runners that prefer working out indoors.
Plus, nearly all locals live within a mere 10-minute walk from a park, making running through lush greenery convenient indeed.
If that isn’t sweet enough, Arlington was also ranked as the most livable city in the country.
With its signature foggy skies, mild summers, and charming flowerpot-lined running routes, it comes as no surprise that San Francisco makes the list.
Like Arlington, most lucky residents are within a 10-minute walk from a park, and there sure are plenty of parks to explore on your feet. Don’t miss a run through the picturesque Golden Gate Park!
Plus, there are plenty of runner’s landmarks to add to your routes, like the Lyon Street Steps and the Kezar Stadium. For sublime views of Alcatraz Island, whizz along the Embarcadero from AT&T Park to the base of Golden Gate Bridge. Then, make the run across one of the most iconic bridges on this earth!
For keen runners in Washington, D.C, there’re plenty of green spaces to admire; in fact, almost 22% of the city is parkland.
It’s also a conveniently walkable city, with an impressive 12.69% of the workforce walking to work – there’s a way to avoid the stuffy morning commute!
And for those that love participating in running events, there’s no shortage in Washington, D.C including 5Ks, 10Ks, half-marathons, marathons, and ultra-marathons.
With plenty of gyms, parkland and running trails, Madison is a great choice for runners to live and work in.
Head to the UW Arboretum for idyllic views on your morning jog. The 1,200-acre nature area offers four miles of paved paths and approximately 20 miles of scenic, hilly tracks.
Prefer flatter surfaces? Check out the Military Ridge State Trail, a 40-mile well-maintained packed dirt path.
Minneapolis is a prime spot for millennials, and for runners too!
Home to the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway, Minneapolis is all about the trails. With a connected series of park areas spanning 50 miles in the city, there’s no need for joggers to run the same route often.
The chain of lakes is a runner’s favorite, with routes around Lake Harriet, Lake Calhoun, Lake of the Isles and Cedar Lake – the choice is yours! And if for some reason the lakes aren’t enough, there’s always the Mississippi River.
When the bitter winter kicks in, don’t worry as there are plenty of indoor facilities for runners to get their fix. Or if you’re feeling brave, embrace the frosty temperatures and make a dash in the cold!
Whilst Seattle is a relatively drizzly city, the mild climate means it’s runnable pretty much year-round. Plus, it’s a natural beauty, boasting 100 miles of trails for happy joggers to enjoy.
Marvel at the stunning views of the imposing Cascade Range on the east, and on the west admire the equally-beautiful Olympic Mountains. Or, get closer to the water and run along Puget Sound.
Reward yourself after a long run with a locally-brewed craft beer, as Seattle is a haven for beer lovers. Just don’t over-do it and reverse the results of your hard training!
Fancy a race? Pittsburgh suits runners with a competitive streak, with plenty of running events on such as family-friendly 5K and 10K road races, plus the Pittsburgh marathon.
Soak up the city sights as you tackle the 24-mile Three Rivers Heritage Trail, an urban trail that weaves through the heart of Three Rivers Park, Pittsburgh’s downtown riverfront park system.
Boston is a city for park runs – a staggering 99% of residents live within a 10-minute walk of one!
The city doesn’t offer too many running events, but it does host one of the nation’s most famous races – the Boston Marathon, of course.
Train along the Charles River – the 18-mile trail is a local’s favorite, with plenty of bridges to adapt the route to a specific distance. Jump off the trail for bevies at Asgard Irish Pub and say hello to other joggers from the route.
Another city full of parkland, running events and jogging trails are St Paul in Minnesota. The green city is about 15% parkland, with 96% of residents living within a 10-minute stroll from a park.
Start off by exploring Minnehaha Park by foot and discover its frothy waterfalls, hidden creeks, and lush foliage.
Lincoln tops the list as the safest running city, but it has more to offer runners than low crime rates and safe streets.
As well as being home to leafy parks and plentiful gyms, Lincoln is also an affordable place to live making it an ideal spot for millennial runners to set up in.
If you’re a keen runner or want to become one, living in one of these best cities for runners is, of course, a huge bonus.
But if you’re not lucky enough to live in one of these runner-friendly locales there are still plenty of ways to stay motivated and enjoy the wonderful experience of running that we all love.
Running groups can gift you a sense of community and help you meet like-minded individuals that love to run! Plus, they help you stay motivated.
If your surroundings aren’t the most scenic, find a gym that you feel comfortable in or make the experience more exciting by investing in fun and colorful workout gear. Remember that whether you’ve been running for years or you’re new to the scene, there are plenty of ways to make running a more thrilling practice.
Plus, you can always make a trip of it and visit these runner-friendly cities and explore the famous paths they have to offer.
Ready to get motivated? Why not check out our Ultimate Guide to the Best Running Songs?
So you want to be in the top 0.5%? You want to join that tiny percentage of people who have finished a marathon?
The good news is you can totally do it. All you have to do is follow these seven simple (not necessarily easy) steps:
We're back. I'm back. I know for a lot of you the gyms are closed or will be closed soon. But good news another great benefit of running is you can do it by yourself, you can do it outside and you don't need a lot of gear.
So I know it’s not much notice, but we've got to get moving. A new challenge starts on Monday, so get your head ready and let’s do this.