The city that never sleeps is famous for its hustle and bustle. But despite its rushed vibe, New York may seem like a tough town for running, unless you're cool with constantly dodging taxi cabs and tourists. The truth is, running in the concrete jungle doesn't have to be limited to sidewalks and streets. Just ask New Yorker and running authority Scott Fishman. The city has a deeply ingrained runners' culture, with a wide range of picturesque paths, organized races, and apparel stores that cater to all your athletic needs.
We asked Scott to recommend some good spots and/or routes to run in New York City. So, leave that overpriced, overcrowded gym behind, and learn more on how to boost your run in the Big Apple.
THE CITY’S BEST URBAN RUNNING TRAILS
Central Park Reservoir
Now officially known as the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, Scott says the reservoir path features “epic views of the New York City skyline,” and that its soft surface and adjacent water give runners a “great energy.” Plus, there are absolutely no wheeled vehicles allowed on the path—not even baby carriages. Take that, bikers and babies!
Enter the Park at 85th Street or 96th Street, from either east or west.
Located right along the Hudson River, the running/biking path has views that span from the George Washington Bridge to Chelsea Piers and beyond. Scott digs it because it’s “flat, on the water, has a lot of runners and plenty of space to run. Lots of great views.”
Riverside Park proper stems from 72nd Street to 125th Street, though river-adjacent running continues both further north and further south. Head as far west as you can on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and you’ll find various entrances off of Riverside Drive.
East River Promenade
Across the Manhattan Island, the Promenade boasts miles of uninterrupted running expanse, with views of the 59th Street Bridge and the Roosevelt Island Tramway. Scott says that, while similar to the West Side path, a real upside of the Promenade is that there’s “not as many people.”
Enter on 60th and York; additional entrances at 78th Street & 91st Street.
Central Park – Full Loop
At 6.1 miles, Scott says this route is both “great for hills,” but also “a bit too hilly for regular runs.” He also says you’ll find “lots of runners inspiring one another.”
South to north from 59th Street to 110th Street; east to west from Fifth Avenue to Central Park West.
Central Park – Middle Loop
This abridgement of the full loop employs the 102nd St. cutoff to shorten the run slightly (to approx. 4 miles). Scott says this is still “beautiful, and not as hilly as the full loop. A great place for your ‘go-to’ run.”
Enter at 86th Street on either east or west side of Park. Loop goes north to 102nd Street, then down to 72nd Street, and back up to 86th on the opposite side.
Central Park – Lower Loop
A 1.7-mile truncation of the longer routes, Scott says the lower loop still gives you “the feel of Central Park without all of the hills.” You may have noticed Central Park appears three times above. Scott explains: “I think Central Park is the greatest backyard in the world so it deserved multiple locations to be included in this list.” It’s hard to disagree with that.
Spans northbound from 59th Street and uses the 72nd Street transverse before looping back down.
NYC Runs FireCracker 5K & 10K
There’s no better way to spend Independence Day than with this super fun race on Roosevelt Island. A souvenir beer mug and a great post-race meal will be provided to all participants.
July 4th. For more info, click here.
NYC Runs Riverside Park Summer 5K Series
The series, which began in May, has eight installments in total (every other Wednesday throughout the summer), and features a beautiful and challenging 5K run with amazing views of the Hudson River.
June 26th, July 10th, July 24th, August 7th, August 21st. For more info, click here.
NYRR 5th Avenue Mile
Sure, it’s only a mile, but how often do you get the chance to run straight down the middle of 5th Avenue (legally, at least)?
September 22nd. For more info, click here.
The Brooklyn Marathon
Brooklyn has long been considered the “alternative” Manhattan, and this race is no exception. It’s held two weeks after the NYC Marathon in Brooklyn’s beautiful Prospect Park—which, it should be noted, was designed by the same guys who designed Central Park.
November 17th. For more info, click here.
BOOSTING YOUR RUN
adidas Sport Performance Stores have all the footwear, apparel and gear that runners of all levels need.
adidas Sport Performance Store
New York, NY
Head here for locations both in and around New York City.