This Is the Best American City for Runners

Americans have become significantly more mobile in the past two years. One reason is that people want to leave large cities that are extremely expensive, particularly for people who have lower and middle-class incomes. However, some large metros are attractive to active people. Sprawling cities often have parks and other outdoor areas people can use for recreation.

However, some people cannot afford to make the financial trade-off to remain in metros with outdoor venues within the city limits. They go to smaller more affordable places. It is hit and miss whether these places are good locations for outdoor activities.

Urban and suburban areas, where populations are fairly dense, have a limited menu of outdoor activities. Extreme examples are rock climbing and skiing, but these are exercise hobbies few people enjoy. Much more popular activities are hiking, running and walking. About 50 million Americans run or jog, according to recent research.

The recent 2022’s Best Cities for Runners report from lawn care services provider Lawn Love compared data on 181 cities. Among the measures used were the number of parks, gyms and sporting goods stores and the affordability of running gear. Researchers also looked at climate and safety. Data was pulled from AllTrails, Esri, Healthgrades, Interiorbeat, Meetup, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NeighborhoodScout, Numbeo, Running in the USA, the Trust for Public Land, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Walk Score and Yelp.

Potential scores ranged from 0 to 100, although few places were near either extreme. The city with the highest ranking was San Francisco, with an overall score of 53.43. Interestingly, the next two cities, Portland and San Diego, were also on the west coast.

Several other west coast cities were in the top 10, including Oakland, Seattle and Los Angeles. Most of the top 10 have high costs of living.

These are the top 10 cities for runners:

CityOverall Score RunningQuality Rank
San Francisco, Calif.54.434
Portland, Ore.52.6514
San Diego, Calif.51.6437
Salt Lake City, Utah49.1410
Oakland, Calif.48.621
Colorado Springs, Colo.48.1481
Washington, D.C.45.7625
Seattle, Wash.45.7130
New York, N.Y.45.4111
Los Angeles, Calif.45.216


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