Whether you run to stay healthy or to train for another marathon, there’s nothing like hitting the trails after a breezy morning stretch.
But where you go for a run can make or break your stride.
To mark Global Running Day on June 1, Lawn Love compared over 180 of the largest U.S. cities to rank 2022’s Best Cities for Runners.
We looked at dozens of metrics, such as access to parks and running trails, trail difficulty, and environmental conditions. We also considered access to running groups, foot specialists, footwear spending, and gym affordability.
Check out the 10 fastest (and 10 slowest) cities for runners below, followed by key insights from our report.
Golden trails in the Golden State: Run for the hills — California leads the way in our ranking, with San Francisco (No. 1) bringing home the gold.
San Fran raced to the peak, thanks to its abundant running communities and access to high-quality trails and running supplies. This city’s varied (and often hilly) terrain gives runners of all levels an opportunity to test their endurance and strengthen their knees.
San Diego (No. 3) and Oakland (No. 5) follow slightly behind, with Los Angeles (No. 10) rounding out the top 10. Nice weather, strong running communities, and quality routes brought these Golden State cities to the top.
Runner’s high: Elevated terrain is often a challenge for runners, but that doesn’t stop high-altitude cities from reaching the top of our ranking. With an elevation of more than 4,000 feet, Salt Lake City (No. 4) rises to the summit of our ranking by providing access to challenging, top-quality running paths.
Go even higher in Colorado Springs (No. 6), where the elevation is nearly 6,000 feet. This city soared to the top with a strong running community and the most running trails to explore out of all the cities in our ranking.
Catching your breath in Arizona: Poor air quality and stifling heat make Arizona a challenging state to train for a race. Many runners seem to embrace the difficult environment in Phoenix (No. 17) and Tucson (No. 18), where runners can explore abundant trails with numerous running groups.
Phoenix suburbs Gilbert (No. 161) and Chandler (No. 155) didn’t fare so well. The lack of quality running paths, foot specialists, and running communities, in addition to extreme heat, slowed down these cities.
Our full ranking and analysis are available here: https://lawnlove.com/blog/best-cities-for-runners/