Where to Run: Central Park

By: Brian Elder

As we continue our "Where to Run?" series we are leaving the state of Georgia for the first time and heading Northeast. New York City is the greatest city in the world and in the middle of fast pace lifestyle there is an incredible place to run on the borough of Manhattan. This park is the most visited urban park in the United States because of its prime location, beautiful foliage, and picturesque sculptures and bridges. In Northern Manhattan, the 843 acres of Central Park is one of the great attractions for tourist to see when they visit the city. Whether you are walking around with a morning coffee after visiting a local bagel shop or going for a cool morning run, Central Park offers a relaxing environment in the middle of one of the world's largest cities. 

One of the park's 36 bridges

In the summer, New York's Central Park generally offers mild temperatures, but in the fall temperatures begin to drop and the leaves on trees fall creating a collage of colors on the running paths through the park. In the winter, the park can be seen with statues covered in snow only to later give rise to the blooming plants in the late spring. If you want a glimpse at the park from above, the observation deck at Rockefeller Center offers one of the best views. 

Map of Central Park

Because the park is sandwiched between 5th and 8th avenue, my personal recommendation is to run up 8th avenue to the southwest corner of the park that meets Columbus Circle. Run around Columbus Circle and enter the park to begin to navigate your way around the running paths and explore to see what all you can find yourself. If you are interested in seeing the front of the park that lines up next to the famous "Essex House" sign, you can run along 59th street until you reach the FAO Schwartz toy store and Park Plaza hotel from Home Alone 2 on 5th avenue, but be warned because you will have to dodge a few tourists and people trying to sell you a bus tour of the city. Once in the park, I recommend running to see the Bethesda Fountain and Belvedere Castle at the least. If you make your way to these points in the central location of the park you should have at least been able to piece together a 3 mile run. The great thing about running here is that even if you get "lost" in the park and cannot find your way to one of the many bridges, statues, or bodies of water, you can easily make your way out of the park by running in one direction until you reach 8th or 5th. Most of the time we cannot remember when we go on a normal run during our weeks of training, but Central Park is one of the greatest urban parks in the world and whether you live in the city or are just visiting for a few days, its a running location that you will never forget. 

Brian Elder is a learner, amateur explorer, and runner that is going to run until it takes him somewhere. He is a graduate from the University of Georgia where he studied English and Religion. After running competitively on trails and roads, he fuels with an appetite so big you would swear it’s competitive.  Follow Brian on Instagram.