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The 12 Best U.S. Cities For Runners

Boston

Population: 656K

Boston

In spite—or perhaps thanks to?—its harsh winters and humid summers, you can barely walk a block in Boston without seeing a pair or two of New Balance shuffling down the street. As author Dennis Lehane wrote in his beautiful essay after the 2013 marathon bombing, “Bostonians don’t love easy things, they love hard things.” Like running, for example.

Must Run
The path snaking along both banks of the Charles River is a favorite destination for trotting tourists and locals alike. If you enjoy your miles with a side of Minuteman history, stick to the Freedom Trail: Start at Boston Common and follow the 5K-long brick line along Paul Revere’s famous Revolutionary War route.

Get Away From It All
Every young runner who grew up in New England knows the pleasure (and torture) of racing in Franklin Park, where a nice mix of expansive fields and twisting trails are open to the public. Franklin is also one of the nine parks that make up the Emerald Necklace, which links the green patches of Boston with one 9-mile path.

Destination Racing
Do we even need to say it? The Boston Marathon is a cornerstone of running culture. If the 26-plus-mile race isn’t your idea of a tea party, sign up for the BAA 5K. Held on the Saturday of marathon weekend, you can cover much less distance while still experiencing a slice of the excitement. —JS

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“Running along the Charles River is stunning throughout the year. You pass quaint pedestrian bridges, Boston University, MIT and Harvard. You can look at ducks and geese. I like to watch the geese grow up.”—Shelby Grossman, WR subscriber and half-marathon finisher

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