Top 5 Running Destination Vacations:
Running while on vacation can be a great way to explore new cities and places at your leisure. What better way to discover interesting spots to check out later in your day? Whether you choose an international destination or simply the next city in your town, running is one of the best ways to explore new places, meet new people, and see things that you may not have known about had you not taken your daily run. Check out our top five running destination vacations (in no particular order) if you're considering running on your next trip.
Cape Town, South Africa
Consistently voted one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Cape Town is a trail and road runners dream. Table Mountain is visible from most places in the city, and on a day with blue skies, to see it without its table cloth of low hanging clouds is magnificent. You can choose to take a cable car ride up to the top, or choose the more adventurous trail route from the bottom to the top to be rewarded with one of the best views of the entire city. Other great places to run are up Chapmans Peak near Noordhoek and Lions Head on the other side of Table Mountain. If you're looking to complete your first ultramarathon, you can't go wrong with Two Oceans, a 35 mile race that runs from the heart of the city south, then back up and around through the vineyards of Constantia before finishing at the University of Cape Town. There's also a half marathon option as well, but be forewarned, both races are surprisingly hilly and incredibly competitive- the winning time for the ultra is typically around 3:00 hours which is hammering!
New York, New York
New York, New York- in the words of Alicia Keys, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. New York City is particularly beautiful in the fall with seasons changing and leaves turning orange. The most well known and popular place to run in the city is of course Central Park, with over 840 acres and several different routes to choose from. The entire perimeter of the park is 6 miles, or you can choose to run the 1.5 mile loop around Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir for some great views of the city. If you're looking for a longer route, head to the west side of Manhattan to hit up the Hudson River Greenway, a 12 mile trek from Fort Tryon park south to Batter Park City near the September 11th memorial. Lastly if you're lucky enough to lottery your way into the New York City Marathon in early November, you're in for one of the best races in the world. Exceptionally well organized with a world class elite field, you'll run through all five boroughs before finishing near Tavern on the Green in Central Park. It feels like the whole city comes out and cheers on the runners on race day as the crowd support is truly world class.
Austin is consistently ranked in the top 10 fittest cities in America, and it's no surprise given the many outdoor and recreation options in the city. One of the most popular trails in town is the Town Lake Trail that runs along the river that starts in downtown, with a full loop of 7-10 miles with the option to cut it short to just over 3 miles if you're short on time. A full dirty trail with two water stops along the way, Town Lake is the trail of choice for many which you'll notice quickly if you decide to go for a run on a busy Saturday morning. Another great option near downtown Austin is the Barton Creek Greenbelt which begins at Zilker Park and traverses just over 7 miles through waterfells, dense foliage, and shady trees.
London is consistently one of the most visited cities in the world, thanks to world class shopping, history, museums, and friendly, welcoming locals. You won't have too tough a time finding people to run with or places to run. The most popular spot in the city is of course, Hyde Park thanks to open space, and a 4.3 mile perimeter loop that can be increased to roughly 7 miles if you decide to explore the Green and St. James Park. Some of the most famous sites in the entire city are at your footsteps including the Marble Arch, Princess Diana Memorial Garden, and by going just outside Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace. All this aside, the people watching is fantastic especially if you decide to run later in the day. You'll see everything from sunbathers, roller bladers, and unicyclists along with an abundance of cricket and soccer matches. Looking for some company? Check out the Serpentine Running Club; with over 2000 members running socially and competitively, you're sure to find someone running your pace.
Reykjavik is another hidden gem for runners, with gorgeous scenery, friendly people, and fresh, Scandinavian air. You can run around the perimeter of the city fairly easily by taking several connected bike paths for a total of approximately 12-13 miles that offers great views of the Atlantic Ocean. If you'd rather explore the off-road regions of Iceland (which we highly suggest), head 20 minutes outside of the city to Lake Vifilsstadir to enjoy a 2.5km loop of crushed gravel and dirt on top of a small hill top. If you're eager to enjoy the best that running in the Arctic has to offer, check out a guided running tour put on by Arctic Running. You'll get up to three expert guides that can take you on a full day or multi day tour of the best trail and off-road running in the Arctic.