Ten of my Favorite Running Routes in NYC

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I’m one of those runners who love discovering new routes and running different courses. As I’ve said often enough, it adds dimension, variety  and an element of adventure to my runs, which is necessary to keep me motivated and running. On the other hand, there are also times that I like the comfort and measure of safety that comes from running in a known area. I think this is one time I can actually eat my cake and have it. This doesn’t happen much outside of running, at least not in my experience, so why not take advantage is what I say.

To this end, running in this city is a lot of fun. There is so much to see: different folks to meet, places to visit, things to do and miles of uncharted running territory to discover. Mind you, uncharted, not because no one has been there, but only because it’s not commonly known and remains relatively undisturbed, though for how much longer I’m not sure. In the name of keeping it so for as long as possible, I aim to highlight the more widely used areas I run in our beautiful New York City.

1. Central Park – at the top of my list and still my favorite place to get in the zone. Aside from its refreshing natural beauty, Central Park is home to hundreds of stalwarts, as well as newbie, runners and is truly the place to inspire and motivate you in the running lifestyle.

2. Cunningham Park – closer to home, this park was first introduced to me a couple of years ago during training for my first Boston Marathon. It gives the illusion of a rural setting and provides ample opportunity for training in a more secluded and nature-friendly setting.

3. West Side Highway – an early morning or late evening treat for the eyes as either the moon sits over the Hudson River or the sun sets against the back drop of Jersey City in the distance.

4. East River Park Track – the athlete’s buzz is here offering motivation to up your running game through various speed workouts as performed by a variety of runners and competitive running groups. Show up on your own or join a group, whatever works for you.

5. Queensborough Bridge – one of the main five bridges in the city, the Queensborough Bridge brings runners and a lot of other traffic from Long Island City into Manhattan and back. Running it both ways and even catching the train on my way to Queens after the bridge run is one of my fun runs.

6. Alley Pond Park – relatively close to Cunningham Park (you can run from one to the other) and another of my favorite running places in Queens.

7. Forest Park – based in Queens, Forest Park has a lot of trails, which is a running favorite of mine. I haven’t been here all that often, which keeps it pretty interesting, but when I get the opportunity it’s always a treat to rediscover.

8. Prospect Park – much like Central Park for running, only not as famous. It’s a bit out of my way to get to on a regular basis but definitely my go-to place for running in Brooklyn and presents a course that I’m comfortable with as it’s home to the beginning miles of the Brooklyn half-marathon.

9. Inwood Hill Park – trails, hills, and ridges abound in this park, which is in upper Manhattan, and presents plenty of opportunities for scenic running with views of the surrounding Hudson River for motivation.

10. George Washington Bridge into Palisades Park – lots of room for building mileage and escaping the city. This is my favorite long run route and can incorporate a full 20 miles to and from the visitors center in Palisades Park if done in its entirety.

Needless to say there are a lot more pretty cool routes like Corona Park in Queens, the Brooklyn Bridge into Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the High Line in the city and for sure I love these too, but overall the above is my favorite of the seven years of my living and running in New York. I’m holding out for more though as I’m told there remains so much more to discover.

I’ve always maintained that New York City is a city in which there can be no middle ground when it comes to feelings. You either love it or hate it: love or hate the noise, the mess, the people, the clash of cultures, the diversity and variety in almost every human element and the effect these can have on the structure and composition of the city. If you find yourself, like I do, learning to love this place then you’ll truly appreciate how wonderful these running opportunities are in a city of this size with such a huge population. In any event, we, as runners living in this city treasure it and like to portray New York as the running capital of the world, which is not too much of a stretch when you consider that every November we run the largest marathon in the world here.

 

 

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