1. San Francisco, USA
The city’s notorious hills can intimidate even the most accomplished runners but, with Golden Gate Park, the panhandle and parks littering the city, you’ll regret it if you don’t put on those running shoes. The terrain is varied and, with the city known for its active community, you’re bound to bump into fellow fitness fiends.
2. New York, USA
No running guide is complete without the addition of the Big Apple. With the massive Central Park dominating runs, the rest of NYC is a runner’s dream. Filled with iconic landmarks, bridges and towering skyscrapers, it’s the city that never sleeps, so you’ll be able to hit the road no matter what time you land.
3. Sydney, Australia
This city is the home of the runner and, whether you’re a jogger or running enthusiast, you’ll be in good company. Sydney is filled with big waterfront views, and locals will tell you that you simply must run across the Harbour Bridge at least once during your visit. Even more popular is the free 5km Parkrun that’s open to all members of the community.
4. Tokyo, Japan
Japan, one of the most marathon-crazed nations in the world, is undoubtedly filled with fast runners. Yoyogi Park is a hugely popular destination and one of Tokyo’s largest green spaces. Located in the heart of the city, it is open 24 hours a day. Paths are marked with distance markers so runners can monitor their progress. Prepare to be challenged.
5. Hong Kong
This dynamic city has countless options for those who want to pound the road. From getting lost in the urban jungle to exploring Discovery Bay’s mix of trails or pathways, you won’t regret lacing up. The only problem will be deciding whether you want the promenade or Clear Water Bay’s incredible views.
6. Cape Town, South Africa
Hitting the road in the Mother City will get your heart pounding faster, but there’s no doubt the views here will be some of the best you’ve ever seen. Not only will you have the ocean on one side, you’ll also have Table Mountain lurking around you. If you’re looking for a flat run, we suggest heading to the promenade. But if you’re after a high-intensity workout, then Cape Town is the paradise of trail runs. Try Lion’s Head – the views will blow you away.
7. Prague, Czech Republic
This surprising city has been labelled a hidden gem in the running community. The Vltava River accompanies you on most of the running routes here. Cobbled streets, ancient bridges and Gothic architecture are also your partners as you wind your way through one of the oldest cities in Europe. While there are some climbs, the trails are mostly flat and fast.
8. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The famous Copacabana is a 4km stretch of beach and promenade leading to Ipanema. The route is so popular that on Sundays, the road is closed to traffic to accommodate all the active people. From almost anywhere on the course, you’ll get views of Corcovado mountain – home of the famous Christ the Redeemer.
9. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Among the five highest cities in the world, the Ethiopian capital will test your lungs in a way very few places can. It’s home to elite athletes and world-record holders such as Haile Gebrselassie, and locals will cheer you on as you run past. Because running is so popular here, you may find yourself on the road next to a world champ and sharing a beer afterwards. The city is also home to some of the finest java in the world, so your route is sure to have a good coffee stop.
TIP: When visiting one of these fabulous cities, remember that you can create your running route by using www.mapmyrun.com. If you’re not in the mood to do so, why not trust the recommendations of others? Go to www.strava.com/activities and you’ll find other joggers who have bookmarked their routes. That way, you’ll know the exact distance and intensity level of the run.
– TEXT BY JESSICA LEVITT
PHOTOS: 123RF.COM, INSTAGRAM
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.