New York City is a runner’s paradise, which befits a city that’s host to one of the six World Marathon Majors. Whether you’re on the trails of iconic Central Park, or enjoying views of the city along its shorelines, there are lots of opportunities for visitors and New Yorkers to run. So, where are the best places to run in NYC ? Well, I have a few favorites, but I thought I’d find out from some other local runners their favorite places to run first.
Eric, Dirty Old Sneakers:
One of my favorite places to run in NYC is also one of my favorite places to cycle. And interestingly, it’s not even in New York rather, about a mile over the George Washington Bridge in New Jersey.
Colloquially called “River Road” because it snakes under the GWB and follows the Hudson River, Henry Hudson Drive (the road’s proper name) is eight miles of ups and downs with very little flat terrain. I’ve run this road a bunch when I’m at the peak of marathon training and to tell you I’ve ridden it on my bike thousands of times wouldn’t be an exaggeration.
There are two (what I consider) steep sections on the course. Heading north, the first starts at the Englewood picnic area, it lasts about a half mile and peaks at 4.5% grade. The second is better known as Alpine (because it starts at the Alpine Boat Basin and is also in the town of Alpine, NJ). It’s the last mile of the course, lasts a full mile and peaks atabout 10% grade. Are these hills the most daunting you’ll ever run? Probably not but they are tremendous opportunities for hill work, learning how to run with “the hurt” and figuring out the best way to stay out of your head – all very important things when you’re in the throes of race training.
What I like about running River Road is the simple beauty of the scenery. I’ve had a friend call it a little slice of Northern California outside of NYC and I think that’s pretty accurate. From the rolling to downright steep hills to the boat basins (where you can find a little snack shop during the summer months – great for water stops) to the myriad of cyclists and runners along the course, this is a virtual athlete’s paradise.
Christine Yu, Love Life Surf:
Gabrielle, Marathons and Macarons:
Michele Gonzalez, NYC Running Mama:
Coach Travis Stanford, Team All American:
Melissa Burton, The Valentine RD:
There are so many fantastic running spots in NYC but my favorite of all of them is the Brooklyn Bridge. There’s something majestic about that beautiful span where you can see the entire East Side of Manhattan and the amazing NYC skyline. It took me ages to realize the freedom of being able to run outside (I did most of my training for my one and only 26.2 on a treadmill – ugh!) and whenever I run the Brooklyn Bridge, I feel like a rockstar. I run with music so I have memories of running the bridge approach to Pink Floyd’s “Run Like Hell” or Fleetwood Mac’s “Second Hand News” that I can almost visualize running there whenever I hear those songs.
However, I ran my very own special Duran Duran music filled Duran Duran Appreciation Day 10K via NYC Summer Streets (~7 miles of traffic free Manhattan is glorious) and took this amazing shot to commemorate my love for all things New York, running and Duran Duran. This photo is my phone wallpaper and likely will be for a long time to come.
A big thank you to all my NYC runner/blogger friends who contributed their thoughts and photos of the best places to run in NYC – as for me, I have so many fond memories of different places in the city. My favorite is probably a toss-up between the Hudson River Park and Prospect Park. I spent many hours out by the Hudson when I worked as a trainer at Equinox in the West Village. It was just a couple of minutes from the gym and I loved my solo runs and runs with friends out there.
Having lived close to Prospect Park in Brooklyn for nearly ten years now, it holds a special place in my heart. From stair repeats on Center Drive, to attempting to get lost on the paths in Brooklyn Forest, to running around and around…and around that well-trodden loop (seriously, marathon training on a 3.35 mile loop gets old quickly!), it’s definitely one of my running happy places.
What about you? Do you run in NYC, or have you run here before?
What’s your favorite place anywhere to run, walk, hike, bike, whatever takes your fancy?
If you’re an NYC runner, or New York holds a special place in your heart for running, I’d love to hear from you! There may well be a round two, three or more of the best places to run in NYC. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to be included on a future round up.