A virtual running tour of New York City with our guide Chloe!
I'm originally from London and have been running for six years since I stupidly agreed to a last-minute spot in the Amsterdam marathon (when I had never even run more than 5k). With six weeks to train and a holiday in the middle, I waddled over the line in a painful 4 and a half hours, vowing never to run again. I've now run 7 more marathons (they still hurt), a few ultras and several triathlons.
Running has become such a huge part of my life, mostly for the headspace and the amazing friends I've met in the process.
I moved to NYC in 2019 with my other half and during the painful 4 month wait for my visa to be approved, I did little else but run. On a cold November day, I decided to see if I could run around the 32 mile perimeter of Manhattan (yes, you can) and I also trained for the iconic New York City Marathon. Since then, I've fallen in love with the city and the people here and I even managed to rope some equally mad friends into running the perimeter of Manhattan with me!
Describe the Running Culture in New York
Running is big in New York. Like really big. People are fast and at first I was intimidated by how fast everyone seemed to be. I went from being one of the fastest at my running club back in Cambridge, UK, to one of the slower runners here. On a sunny weekend in the park you can hardly move for joggers, cyclists and walkers. It's a very active city and with some of the best parks in the world to run around it's easy to see why.
There are tons of running clubs here and the NYC running scene has some of the fastest amateur runners in the states. Just take a look at the Strava segments around town and you can hardly believe the people running a casual 5:30 min/mi run before heading to work!
That might seem intimidating (it kind of is), but it's also the most inclusive running community I have come across. Running is a huge part of the city and we all run because we love the sport and we love the city and that is enough to build this great community.
Tell us about your favourite running routes in New York City?
There are so many! Firstly, one of the toughest things about moving from the UK to the US is negotiating the "block" road system. If you are unlucky you can run up a street and have to stop every 0.1 mi for a red light. Most of the time we do whatever we can to avoid this.
Living in Brooklyn I am blessed with Prospect Park. Not only does it have a runner friendly 3.3 mi loop of undulating hills surrounded by greenery, it is also home to miles and miles of trails around the woodland and water (I have barely explored 10% of them!).
I don't think you can talk about running in NYC without mentioning Central Park. Obviously, it's amazing and I don't think I'm spilling any secrets there. But Manhattan has a lot more to offer than Central Park. During my "Manhattan perimeter" runs I have been able to explore places in the city I would never have seen otherwise. My favourite discovery was the Inwood Hill park - a hilly green oasis on the tip of Manhattan . It's quiet and luscious, you can follow it along to the Hudson river and are rewarded with spectacular views over to the Jersey Cliffs.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Again, being a Brooklyn-er, there is no better place to see the Manhattan skyline then from Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Bridge park runs along the waterfront and has a number of piers with different sports fields, courts and recreational areas for everybody to enjoy. In summer (when it gets very hot), the piers are my escape for a nice breeze and on occasion, dipping my feet in the water to cool off.
Lastly, the thing that not everybody knows is that NYC is so close to many amazing state parks. To name only a few; The Rockerfeller State Park, Harriman State Park, The Ashokan Trail... All have amazing trails and glorious scenery within a short drive from the city!
Are you a member of a New York running club?
I am a member of the Dashing Whippets in Brooklyn. During the last year where NYC was struck hard by the pandemic, having running friends has saved my sanity. The club held many virtual events to keep us motivated during the summer and typically has a large group of members regularly running races; local and further afield.
I'm looking forward to the return of more events with the club as restrictions ease and (hopefully) the return of racing!
Do you have a New York indie running store you can recommend to buy running gear?
Best New York race or races?
I don't think it's possible to not mention the New York Marathon? This was my second Major after London and it was just on another level. The energy is insane and running over the Verrazanos bridge was something I'll never forget. That being said, it is bloody hilly!
Due to the pandemic, I haven't had a chance to run any other local races but I am really excited to run the Brooklyn half in the future.
Your recommendation for a New York 'local' dish and venue to eat after a long run or race?
In the summer when it is crazy hot, I can't resist a massive smoothie from Brooklyn Crepe & Juice (Flatbush ave). The best post-race food would be the chicken from Purbird (basically the closest thing to Nandos we have found here). Before any big run it always has to be pizza - my current favourite is Dellarocco's (Neapolitan style).
Thanks to Chloe for doing an excellent job on covering the New York running scene!
One last thing...
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