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The 12 Best U.S. Cities For Runners

#9 Minneapolis/St. Paul

Population: 3.3 million

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With more than 50 miles of trails, many of which are plowed before city streets when it snows, runners have a safe place to stride, no matter the weather. WR contributor Mackenzie Lobby Havey says, “In general people are really outdoorsy here and proud to be hardy folks from the North.” Some say the reason you see so many Minnesotans at the starting line of challenging races is because of the fortitude required to train 365 days a year in Minnesota weather. At least it’s beautiful!

Must Run
The Chain of Lakes, including Lake Harriet, Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles, is right in the middle of the city, with trails around and linking each lake. Even better, there are separate bike and run paths for aerobic harmony. You can also set out along the Mississippi River—be sure to cross the Stone Arch Bridge, which has 23 arches and a great view of St. Anthony Falls.

Get Away From It All
It may be in the heart of the city, but the 51-mile, seven-segment route encompassing the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway includes lakes, woodlands, wetlands, city parks and gardens, making it worthy of a long afternoon of adventurous exploration.

Destination Racing
Billed as “The Most Beautiful Urban Marathon in America,” the point-to-point Twin Cities Marathon winds around four lakes and along both sides of the Mississippi River for a visually refreshing course that’s also popular with beginners (about 30 percent are first-timers). But it isn’t slow—13 percent of the field qualifies for Boston! —AP

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“I love the fact that while I was training for the Twin Cities Marathon, I didn’t run the same long-slow-run route twice. I also love that there are SO many people here. Any time I’m lacking motivation to get out and train, I literally just need to look out my window. I live two blocks from a major parkway and people are always running on my street to get to the trails.” —Jennifer Fitzharris-Funk, a writer for Minneapolis Running and member of the United States Running Streak Association

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