There are all kinds of runners in the city. The weekend runners, the daily, wake-up-at-six-am-religiously runners, the dabblers—who try it, swear they’re never doing it again, try it a week later, and so on. This list has something for everyone. Here are five of the best routes in the city, listed in from easiest to most challenging:
1. Central Park Reservoir
Lots of regular runners like this trail, but it’s great for beginners because it’s short and centrally located. The whole loop is only 1.5 miles long, and it’s easy to keep track of your distance and pace yourself. Also, the gravel is an easier running surface than concrete, which can be tough on your knees.
2. Staten Island Boardwalk
This might be a little bit out of the way, but it’s a great choice if you like to run by the beach. Running on the boardwalk is very easy on your knees, and hopefully you’ll get a nice ocean breeze to cool you off. No elevation changes make for an easy run, and you can decide how far you go before you turn around. The whole boardwalk is 2.5 miles long.
3. Prospect Park
If you live in Brooklyn, this is a great place to walk, bike or run. It’s much more scenic, but there are plenty of benches and water fountains if you’re thirsty or need to rest. More hills mean it’s more challenging, but you can choose the distance of your loop, ranging from 1.5 miles to 3.7 miles.
4. Hudson River Greenway
This route actually spans several Manhattan parks, for those who are looking for a very long run—about 12 miles. You can go all the way from Fort Tryon Park to Battery Park, passing through Fort Washington Park and Riverside Park on the way. You can get a long cardio workout with virtually no elevation change.
5. Van Cortlandt Park
This park in the Bronx is where you should go if you really want a challenge. These running trails make up one of the country’s premiere cross country running courses. There’s a 3-mile or a 5-mile loop for you to try, if you’re feeling ambitious.