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The 12 Best U.S. Cities For Runners

#5 New York

Population: 8.4 million

New York

If Alicia Key’s description of a “concrete jungle where dreams are made of” only sounds half-appealing to your runner sensibility (umm, concrete?), consider this: NYC is the birthplace of toilet paper, American pizza and air conditioning. We shudder to think what running would be like without these necessities. The city’s kinetic energy, gorgeous parks, pedestrian-friendly paths and show-stopping marathon are a few more reasons that Gotham ranks high on our list.

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Must Run
Central Park is a mecca for city striders. The full perimeter of the green space delivers a lovely 6.1-mile paved tour of Manhattan. Locals head to the park’s interior for the best dirt paths the metropolis offers, thanks to the 1.7-mile Reservoir Loop and switchback Bridle Path.

Get Away From It All
Nearly the entire perimeter of Manhattan is lined with runner-friendly paths linking the Hudson River (west), East River and Harlem River (north). Head to where the first two greenways converge for an incredible view of the Statue of Liberty. For a backwoods adventure that’s only a train ride away, buy a ticket to Sloatsburg and explore Bear Mountain State Park, which turns verdant in spring and fire-orange come fall.

Destination Racing
The New York City Marathon is the Big Apple’s marquee event—and the largest 26.2-miler in the world. But the New York Mini 10K (one of the first women’s-specific races in the country), the New York Pizza Run (think: 1 mile, four slices) and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon are also excellent choices. —JS

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“I love running in NYC because it feels like a video game to me—dodging people, trying to gauge lights turning green and red, jumping over sidewalk obstacles!” —Lizzie Post, WR running etiquette columnist

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