Running has a releasing effect for the mind while helping to be fit, to enjoy open spaces and to discover new corners of the cities. And now, in addition, running is more fashionable than ever. Perhaps due to the lockdown, we all want to run away and the most fans are already training to participate in classic events again. These are some of the best routes in the world to enjoy this healthy exercise, from simple urban routes to the most demanding trails.
1. A walk through Central Park (New York)
Created in 1867 in the heart of Manhattan, this park has an extension of 341 hectares and its rectangular shape occupies dimensions of approximately 4,000 meters long by 800 wide. With almost 40 million visits per year, It is the busiest public park in the United States Through its paths, daily runners, triathletes, cyclists, neighbors in search of some fresh air and the everlasting tourists, who seek in this great green mass, escape from the hustle and bustle of the city of skyscrapers. Fans of running will find in this New York oasis a surprisingly complex network of trails and tracksAlthough the most popular routes take advantage of Park Drives. The complete loop (full loop, in English, with a length of 9.6 kilometers) allows you to visit, among other places Harlem Hills and Lasker Rink in the north; the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the East; and Sheep Meadow and Strawberry Fields in its western part. An incentive is that since 2018 cleaner air has been breathed, since, after years of pressure by environmental groups, Central Park declared itself officially free of motor vehicles. A good proposal is to complete a 10 kilometer loop with an exit and end point at Engineers’ Gate, 2 East.
One of the beaches that runners cross in the Costa Rican national park of Manuel Antonio. John Seaton Callahan .
2. A race through the Costa Rican jungle: The Coastal Challenge
Costa Rica has been betting for years to discover its natural beauties through running. The Coastal Challenge is a route that goes from King’s Beach, at Manuel Antonio National Park, until Drake Bay, in the Osa peninsula. It lasts a total of six days and has two categories: the Adventure for beginners, 155 kilometers; and the Expedition, longer and more difficult.
Both races show the country’s treasures in all their splendor, including towering waterfalls, beautiful beaches, and rainforest teeming with howler monkeys, arrowhead frogs, snakes, and colorful butterflies. Competitors only need to carry one bag for each stage, as traditional Costa Rican food and drinks are offered along the way. Most days the race ends near a beach.
Sunset in the Grand Canyon of the Colorado. Pete Lomchid .
3. Edge-to-edge route through the Grand Canyon (USA)
Those of you who have ever dreamed of traveling long distances off-road will find few places as inspiring as the Grand Canyon in the State of Arizona. Fully walk the path overlooking the abyss is in essence an off-piste ultramarathon, with uneven up and down slopes. There are those who only make the one-way route, but those who decide to do the complete circuit have a demanding 67.5 km route ahead of them. It can start at the top of the South Kaibab, on the south rim of the Grand Canyon, on a round trip, going down and up to the bed of the Colorado River, between volcanic necks and fire-colored walls and dark rock formations created by ancient rivers and seas.
The race for the Grand Canyon is known in running parlance as Rim to Rim to Rim (or simply R2R2R), and it is without a doubt one of the hardest trail runs in the world. To which it must be added that anyone who has seen the Grand Canyon will agree that there is no photograph capable of doing it justice. At 446 kilometers long, 32 wide and 2 deep, it is one of the most impressive places on the planet.
4. Between palm trees and ‘art deco’ in Miami Beach (Florida)
The tall palm trees and white sand are a fantastic backdrop for any runner who stretches his legs in Miami Beach. In addition to its coastline, here you can enjoy contemplating its colorful art deco architecture and the hustle and bustle in its open-air restaurants near the seafront. Actually, you can exercise through any walk or park in this Florida city, but there is a formidable route of almost six and a half kilometers that starts in the park of Indian beach, near the entrance of the Miami Beach Boardwalk, and leads to south pointe beach. This classic wooden walkway advances through the vegetation, offering those who cross it picturesque views of a surprisingly virgin coastal strip despite the urban environment. When you have traveled 2.5 kilometers, at 23rd Street, the path becomes paved in the section that leads to the heart of South Beach, the main beach of Miami Beach.
There are many opportunities to enjoy the coming and going of people and admire the architectural legacy as it passes through the section that embraces the famous Ocean drive, between restaurants and bars installed in beautiful pastel-colored Art Deco buildings. The route culminates in the quiet beach of South Pointe, just over a kilometer away from the frenetic epicenter of South Beach.
A panoramic view of the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. David Madison .
5. The Promenade des Anglais (Nice): a walk along the French Riviera
The Promenade des Anglais it is one of the urban walks by the sea most famous in the world and also a great place to practice running. It is the maritime avenue of Nice, a Mediterranean enclave with historical cache on the French coast that has been attracting visitors for more than a century for its beaches, its belle époque architecture and its sunny Mediterranean climate.
An intense running session for the 6.4 kilometers of the Promenade des Anglais, specifically for its wide pedestrian lane, is a formidable way of seeing everything. Beyond the sea views and feeling a refreshing breeze on your face, the route allows you to discover the best buildings in the city, such as the Negresco Hotel, a classic, in a neoclassical palace from 1912, and see unique scenes from the most elegant european summer, like the typical rows of blue chairs looking out to sea, a symbol of this city on the French Riviera since the 1940s. Here any time of day is good for running, but especially at sunset. The tour can start at Cadran Solaire, the large sundial drawn on a splendid roof terrace overlooking the Mediterranean, and ending at the foot of the beach of Port Nice Carras.
A young woman rests while exercising in Barcelona. Westend61 .
6. From the sea to the mountains in Barcelona (Spain)
It is not necessary to go very far to find one of the best urban scenarios to run. In Barcelona a route can take us from its lively Mediterranean shore to the upper part of the city, where the best views await. A wonderful 7-kilometer excursion is the one that allows us to run from the seafront promenade, near Carrer de la Marina, at the height of Frank Gehry’s great goldfish that seems to float over the Mediterranean, to the Castell de Montjuïc, at the top of the mountain of the same name (next to Carrer del Castell). The first jogs will be by the Barceloneta, the old seaside neighborhood (revitalized by restaurants and tourists), with its grid of alleys, narrow alleys and overcrowded blocks that fill with aromas of grilled squid or tender razors at lunch or dinner.
But there is no time to taste the local gastronomy if you want to go ahead and pass before the masts of huge sailboats that pitch alongside the runners as they cross the picturesque marina. The next thing is to cross the low end of the Rambla and go up the Poble Sec, perhaps the least touristy neighborhood, but also full of tapas bars, terraces and bohemian cocktail spots. But at the height of the Poble Sec viewpoint, you have to force your way uphill to reach the point from which the mountains are covered beyond the Catalan capital. The Joan Brossa Gardens, among towering cypresses, thick palm trees and fragrant pine trees, make their way to the summit of Montjuïc, with the cable car cabins passing over. From the impressive fortress of Montjuïc, in the distance, the port is seen as a whirlwind of activity. And back, you can get off in the old-fashioned red cabins back to the port.
A man ‘trekking’ in Torres del Paine, in Chilean Patagonia. franckreporter .
7. Patagonia International Marathon (Puerto Natales, Chile)
One of the best races to enjoy the nature of South America takes place in Torres del Paine national park, in the Chilean Patagonia. It is the Patagonian International Marathon, an event that runs along undulating gravel roads on an off-road circuit that ends in the Río Serrano Hotel. Runners can contemplate on their route the high peaks of the park, the bright glaciers and the golden pastures.
The first half of the race is relatively flat, but the second section is more undulating: there are 100-meter climbs and falls near the 29-kilometer mark and at the end there is a section downhill to the finish line. Although the circuit is 42 kilometers long, there are also simpler alternatives, 10 and 21 kilometer meters, established on the same route. Participating in this marathon is also a good excuse to get closer to Punta Arenas, one of the southernmost cities in the world, in the Strait of Magellan, where the Atlantic and Pacific oceans meet. It is the entry point to visit the Torres del Paine park, one of the natural jewels of the American continent.
The Stockholm marathon runs alongside the City Hall. reportagefotografen.se ALAMY
8. An urban waterfront: Stockholm
It is easy to run through this city scattered across 14 islands, with wonderful sea fronts. Among the many possible routes of the Swedish capital, the loop circuit by Södermalm, one of its largest islands. Although you can circumnavigate the coastline on a flat 11-kilometer route, it is worth going the extra mile and adding a few steep slopes to the north. It passes by Skinnarviksberget, a rocky promontory that offers great views of Stockholm, and Gamla Stan, the old town of the city. Kilometers can be added by adding a loop through the neighboring island, since they are united. The route through southern Södermalm is full of wooded parks and marinas. To start, it is worth placing yourself on any of the bridges that connect with Södermalm.
Isla del Sol, on Lake Titicaca (Bolivia). Stefan Tomic .
9. The marathon of the Isla del Sol in Lake Titicaca (Bolivia)
Lake TiticacaAt 3,800 meters above sea level, it is the highest navigable body of water in the world. Along its shore are scattered little Andean towns and on the lake itself, a handful of islands to be explored. One of the best races that can be done in the area is the one that follows the the Isla del Sol marathon, a 42-kilometer route (round trip) on steep roads, old roads and peasant villages. It starts in the Yumani people, on the banks of the lake, and from there you climb a bumpy path to Chincana ruins, a settlement built by the Tiahuanaca civilization, predating even the Incas. After touring the north end of the island, he headed towards the riverside town of Challapampa, where you can turn around and start your return. Of course, to make the circuit you have to take into account the essential acclimatization to the altitude.
10. The Chartreuse Terminorum Ultramarathon (France)
This French ultramarathon is inspired by the Barkley, which takes place in the Frozen Head State Park, near Wartburg, in Tennessee (USA), which is almost impossible to complete. The Chartreuse Terminorum covers 300 kilometers in the rugged foothills of the French Alps, beginning and ending in Saint Pierre de Chartreuse. Benoît Laval, its founder, is a Barkley veteran, so the race is governed by the same principle: runners must get their bearings as they run through thick forests while trying to find books hidden under rocks and inside trees, with no help other than confusing handwritten instructions, a compass, and a map. The winner must complete five laps of 60 kilometers each in 80 hours. To date, nobody has come close to completing it within the established time limit.
Arashiyama bamboo forest, outside Kyoto, at sunset. RAZVAN CIUCA .
11. Northern Explorer: a walk around Kyoto
The landscape of the surrounding hills the Japanese city of Kyoto it is spectacular and radically changes each season; from the luminous azaleas of spring to the maple leaves of autumn. It is one of the best places in the country for runners, without the need for them to be running professionals. There are several trails and routes, but in any of its variables the terrain is rocky and irregular. It is not very high, 848 meters compared to 3,776 in the Mount Fuji, but it is a good exercise, and the landscape visibly changes when ascending towards the top and the Enryaku-ji Temple, which is world heritage. There are also impressive views of ascent, reaching even Osaka on clear days. The more adventurous can try to complete the Kyoto Isshu Trail, 69 kilometers. To spend the day it is advisable to take the train to shugakuin station; there is a popular trail that starts 2.4 kilometers from that place and ascends the mount hiei to the Enryaku-Ji temple (you can get down by cable car).
An athlete completes the Gobi Ultra Trail, a 400 kilometer ‘tour de force’. Gamma-Rapho .
12. The extreme challenge of the Ultra Gobi 400K
This is not a challenge for beginners, but for experienced runners willing to challenge themselves in a place of extreme conditions. The Ultra Gobi 400K It is a self-directed race, without external support, held in the south of the Gobi desert, at the end of the Tibetan plateau on the gansu province, in western China. It is an event that requires advanced guidance, but knowing how to use the Proper gps it is quite clear. The challenges are deciding when to eat, what to pack for the remaining phases, and how to sleep. Ahead await many dunes, mountains, shepherds and their livestock, wild dogs, wolves, and flies (many). The runner also faces thermal swings, going from sub-zero temperatures to scorching sun and high wind.
Runners cross Verrazano Bridge during the New York Marathon. David Madison .
13. The New York Marathon, the largest in the world
Like New York City itself, its marathon is massive; in fact thanks to its more than 50,000 participants, it is the largest in the world, and has as its hallmark an energy that is noticeable in the environment and that has no comparison with any other event. It is celebrated on the first Sunday of November and covers 42.1 kilometers through five districts of the city. The runners leave Staten Island and then, in an image that has already become a classic, they invade both levels of the Verrazano-Narrows bridge in direction to Brooklyn. It is followed by Queens, Manhattan and very briefly for the Bronx, before returning to Manhattan, where the marathoners descend by the fifth Avenue and then head towards the southern limit of Central Park and the finish line, near the famous restaurant Tavern on the Green. Although each neighborhood has its own personality, the public is constant: some two million spectators gather along the route and openly express their enthusiasm.
14. Running with Philippi: the Spartathlon (Greece)
The Greek Spartathlon is more than a historical race: it is a time travel. Runners who dare to follow in the footsteps of Philippi are exposed to a extreme heat and about tight deadlines, but there is no other appointment that accumulates so much tradition. Fully follow the route that Philippi did, in 490 B.C. when he was sent from Athens to Sparta, before the battle of Marathon, to ask for help from the Greeks to face the Persians.
It starts at the foot of the Acropolis of Athens, follows the layout of the old provincial roads and crosses olive groves and large vineyards, and then climbs to the top of the mount parthenon (1,200 meters), where, according to legend, Philippi found the god panna. The citizens of Sparta welcomed the runners as heroes, and they knelt at the foot of the statue of the king leonidas. Everyone who finishes the course is given an olive wreath and a Eurotas water bowl, as the first Olympians were honored in Antiquity.
A man ‘runs’ in the Jordanian desert near the Petra complex. ALAMY
15. The Petra Desert Marathon (Jordan)
In this 42-kilometer, historically inspired race, participants traverse a desert region of southern Jordan among spectacular ruins. It starts near the entrance to Petra, the city of pink sandstone carved in 9000 B.C., and leads a route that passes through tombs, temples, carvings on mountain slopes and caves, before delving into the arid lunar landscapes of the Jordanian desert. The first part of the route is done on sand and asphalt, and the second part ascends abruptly on asphalt roads and gravel roads up to about 1,400 meters, near mile 22. The reward for this steep climb is a further downhill section 6 kilometers to the finish, in Wadi Musa.
Tourists in Machu Picchu. Thierry Scherer / EyeEm .
16. The Inca Trail marathon (Machu Picchu, Peru)
This circuit is more an experience than a competition: the runners follow the original pilgrimage path from the city of Cusco to the religious capital of the Inca Empire, the legendary lost city of Macchu Picchu. Of course, even the most prepared have to make a strenuous effort on rigorous mountainous terrain, at altitudes between 2,400 and 4,200 meters above sea level. The 42-kilometer route includes 3,170 meters of vertical ascent and 3,350 meters of descent. The effort will be worth it for the ecstasy of reaching Machu Picchu, in addition to seeing other archaeological sites along the way. The Inca Trail Classic 30 kilometers long, it is a shortened version that begins on the outskirts of Cuzco. Both events are part of a multi-day circuit that includes a special permit to enter the Inca Trail, the most famous pedestrian street in America with an end in the Inca ruins.
A woman walks on a path flanked by vineyards in Cinque Terre (Italy). Jordan Siemens .
17. The blue path along the Mediterranean in Cinque Terre
One of the most beautiful coastal roads in Italy is Sentiero Azzurro or Sendero Azul. They are 12 kilometers that cross Cinque Terre (Cinco Tierras), an area declared world heritage in the Liguria region, east of Genoa. The path runs between olive groves blown by the wind and vineyards that are difficult to access before abruptly descending to their five ancient fishing villages full of historical interest. It is not a free road: you have to pay to use the path, protected within a national park, but it is worth it. The easy access by train to the area makes the route more attractive: there are five stations, one in each town, to return by public transport if you do not want to do the entire route or to return more comfortably.
The Berlin Marathon runs through the Tiergarten, with the Victory Column as the backdrop. Matthias Makarinus .
18. Marathon under the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin
It is one of the most popular marathons, attended by runners from around the world. And also one of the fastest races: many of the latest men’s world records have been set in these streets that have a great advantage: Berlin is a completely flat city.
The marathon in the German capital, like London, is included among the six largest in the world (World Marathon Majors). Gather about 40,000 brokers and, plainly, it is ideal both for breaking personal records and for beginners. They are 42 kilometers that start at Tiergarten, the main park in the city, and meander through the Mitte or center before leaving the leafy periphery and then return. For many of those who participate, the crowning moment is running under the Brandenburg Gate.
19. Great Ocean Road Marathon (Australia)
The most picturesque walk in Australia is at the same time the scene of one of the most beautiful marathons in the world. The Great Ocean Road forms a panoramic route that covers the westernmost coast of the Victoria State. His 44-kilometer marathon is held on the third Sunday of May, starting in Lorne until Apollo Bay, all with ocean views. It is a true festival of running, with many events that during the weekend bring together some 8,000 runners.
The Great Ocean was carved out of land, between the ocean, farms and forests, by about 3,000 soldiers who had returned from World War I. They ended in 1932 and became a toll highway (now it’s free). Retro charm is enjoyed in the memorial archway on the road to Lorne, in honor of those who built it. At certain points along the way you can see cockatoos or koalas and, of course, along the entire coast, the image of the surfers.
20. The Boston Marathon, the oldest
With about 17,000 inhabitants, the quiet town of Hopkinton, in Massachusetts, meets all the topics of a New England town: historic buildings, parkland, and a farmers market. But there is one day a year when all this changes: the third Monday in April, the day of commemoration of the beginning of the War of independence, they come to town 30,000 runners from around the world to participate in the Boston Marathon. The race begins on the main street of Hopkinton and ends, 42.1 kilometers later, in the public square of Cople Square, in Boston.
Is the oldest and most emblematic marathon in the world. Since 1897 it has been consolidated and, with the exception of the Olympic Games, it is the only major marathon that requires a minimum mark to qualify (the hardest, for men from 18 to 34 years old, is 3:05 hours). For many, passing that screen is already a complete achievement. Despite its prestige, the Boston Marathon is not homologated for the registration of world marks. From the entrance, the circuit is downhill: the exit is 150 meters above sea level and the arrival, three. It is also a race from one point to another, that is, the favorable wind can give an advantage to the competitors. On the other hand, for slower runners it is encouraging to have another option to qualify: if they raise a minimum of $ 5,000 for one of the charities in the marathon, they have a guaranteed place.
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