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The 12 Best U.S. Cities For Runners

#1 Washington, DC

Population: 659K

washington dc

The Nation’s Capital tops our list for its views of historic monuments and the sparkling Potomac River, choices of flat and hilly terrain, weather and more. With its admission-free museums and parks, if you throw in a run, you’ve got a jam-packed day of sightseeing and exercise with barely a swipe of your debit card.


Must Run
The race for the White House has a different meaning when you lace up for a run around the National Mall—the wide, gravel paths between the Capitol and Lincoln Memorial (2 miles) have plenty of offshoots to nearby sites. Not far away in Georgetown is the start of another go-to run along the C&O Canal, where you can choose between the dirt towpath and the paved Capital Crescent Trail.

Get Away From It All
Head to Rock Creek Park, where the main roads are closed to motorized vehicles on weekends and holidays. Relish the shady streets and waterside views, and detour to the National Zoo, which along with free entry offers some nice inclines for a little safari hill training. Across town, the U.S. National Arboretum’s rewards include the springtime azaleas and the former U.S. Capitol columns as hilltop sculpture.

Destination Racing
The Marine Corps Marathon is the regional granddaddy, but the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run is another local favorite, especially when the timing coincides with the short-but-sweet blooms. —NM


“There are four distinct seasons here, so you get to wear all your favorite running gear and it’s never boring. D.C. is such a running city that you will always see friendly runners out while you are getting it done. I love that!” —Courtney Dredden Carter, WR blogger and founder of Eat Pray Run DC

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