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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What’s to love about Running in New York

 

Central Park

Since I’ve neither visited nor run in other countries of the world, aside from a couple of countries in the Caribbean, I’m stepping out on limb here by saying that New York is one of the best cities for running in the world. While this could be a very bias perspective, it is by no means arbitrarily said as others who have run here agree, that this city provides runners of all persuasions with the inspiration, motivation and momentum to, in the words of Nike, ‘just do it.’ Whether you’re a veteran or newbie, aspiring or uncertain, New York makes the decision to run an easy one. And just for added measure, It has also made many top lists including Forbes and The Active Times, as one of the best cities in the world to run.

Some of the best running routes in New York include running in New York City, which is quite surprising given it’s metropolis nature. This busy, teeming concrete jungle is home to the world-famous Central Park; an oasis in the center of the city that boasts some of the most scenic, relaxing and inspiring running trails you could wish for. It’s hardly surprising to find it home to runners from all over the city and even those from as far as Long Island, New York. Other favorites include: Running along the west side highway, the Brooklyn bridge, the Queensborough bridge, the Williamsburg bridge, the George Washington Bridge, Prospect Park in Brooklyn, Flushing-Meadows Park in Queens, Inwood Hill Park in Upper Manhattan, Forest Park in Queens, Coney Island in Brooklyn, Astoria Park in Queens and just about everywhere else in the city. For that matter, the city is so runner friendly, it’s not uncommon to see people running on Fifth Avenue and other popular areas among throngs of pedestrians and traffic.

Step outside the city and it’s running paradise heading to the Palisades, and various other trails and mountains in New York State. These are typically my favorite kinds of exploratory runs. It’s nature’s best way of saying welcome to New York. Trails abound for hiking and running in Harriman, Bear Mountain and the Catskills. Closer to home but still outside of the city, Van Cortland Park is a favorite as it’s just bordering the city and goes all the way from the Bronx to Westchester county in northern New York.

While these are many of the places I’ve run, there are still lots of uncovered and undiscovered territories, which makes New York one of the best cities for me and is among the top reasons why I love it here.

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