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Running in... Madrid

A runners guide to Madrid, from a local runner

We're off to Spain for a running tour around Madrid with our local guide, Lisa.

Tell us a little about yourself and your relationship with running?

I'm originally from Austria and moved to Madrid around 1.5 years ago. I've been running for many years and enjoy distances from 5km to marathon. My favourite is probably 10km to half marathon distance.

During the past few years, running has become more than just a sport for me. Through running, I've not only discovered different countries and their culture (from trails in Hong Kong to running through the temples in Cambodia during Angkor Wat Half Marathon or the rural villages at Uganda Marathon), but also have had the opportunity to make many friends around the world.

Describe the running culture in Madrid?

I would describe Madrid's running community as very large! It's not hard to find running partners whatever level you may be running at. When I moved to Madrid, I searched for running groups and there were so many that it was hard to choose which one to join first!

Where are the best places to run in Madrid?

Retiro

Retiro Park is a huge park right in the city centre of Madrid. At Retiro, you will find all kinds of people strolling around, having a picnic and of course taking part in sport. You won't only meet runners, but also find rollerbladers or people doing fitness, yoga or dance classes. Retiro is great for an easy run to explore the park as well as for specific training sessions due to its runner-friendly layout.

Casa de Campo

This former royal hunting estate situated west of central Madrid is often referred to as 'Madrid's lung'. It is a popular weekend destination for Madrid residents and with its many paths and different surfaces, it's a running paradise.

One of the most popular routes is the 'Tapia', a 16km hilly course along the perimeter wall of the park. After your run you can enjoy a recovery drink and some tapas at one of the restaurants next to the lake.

a group of runners training at casa de campo in madrid

Lisa on a group run at Casa de Campo, Madrid

Madrid Río

Casa de Campo can easily be combined with some kilometres at Madrid Río. It is an urban park situated along the Manzanares River and was renovated around 10 years ago . This esplanade also provides beautiful views of some famous landmarks such as the Royal Palace and Almudena Cathedral.

Parque Santander / Estadio Vallehermoso

Maybe not as famous and scenic as the above-mentioned running routes in Madrid, Parque Santander provides a 1200m loop and is great for a quick run if you live close by (like me!). If you are keen for some track sessions you should not miss the neighbouring Estadio Vallehermoso, a newly renovated athletics stadium which is also open for public use (entrance tickets can be bought here).

A group of runners pose for a photo during a track session at Estadio Vallehermoso, Madrid

A track session at Estadio Vallehermoso, Madrid

Are you a member of a running club in Madrid?

When I moved to Spain, I had already signed up for Valencia marathon. Following the recommendation of a friend, I joined Tigers Running Club to train for it. After three months of marathon preparation and a great race weekend in Valencia with the Tigers family, I didn't hesitate at all to continue training with them.

Tigers Running Club is more than just a running club. It's a community where people share the same enthusiasm for running, train together and have fun together. Notably, in the current situation without many running events, the coaches are always keeping us moving and motivated.

Where is the best place to buy running gear in Madrid?

Probably the best place to buy running shoes with knowledgeable staff is Bikila.

Tell us about the best local races in Madrid?

Rock 'n' Roll Madrid Marathon

The biggest and best-known race is the Rock 'n' Roll Madrid Marathon which offers 10k, Half Marathon and Marathon distances. The hilly course (yes, Madrid is pretty hilly) starts at Plaza Colon and ends at Plaza Cibeles, two main squares in the center of Madrid.

Carrera Popular

Before Covid happened, almost every Sunday, you could participate in a “Carrera Popular”. These are smaller (usually 10km) races whose courses goes around “Castellana”, one of the main streets stretching from Atocha in the south of the city to the north.

San Silvestre Vallecana

Another popular and legendary race is the San Silvestre Vallecana on December 31st. There is an international edition for which participants need to qualify and the very popular 'public' race which the Madrileños enjoy to kickstart their New Year´s Eve celebrations.

Can you recommend a local dish/venue to eat after a long run or race in Madrid?

If you have ever been to Madrid or Spain, you will probably know that there is no lack of bars and restaurants. Wherever your run ends, you won't have trouble finding a small bar to have a coffee with a “tostada con tomate” (toasted bread with tomato), a “pincho de tortilla”, “churros con chocolate” or a “caña” (small draft beer) with some tapas.

female runner running at a track session at Estadio Vallehermoso, Madrid

Lisa at work on the track at Estadio Vallehermoso, Madrid

Wow, is anyone else hungry now? Thanks to Lisa for a great job taking us for a run (and some tapas) in Madrid!

If you are interested in discussing the running culture in your city or country, I'm always looking to share new places. Just drop me a message

One last thing...

If you've enjoyed the content on this site and would like to support me by buying me a coffee, I would really appreciate it.

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