NYC Marathon Tips: Places and Paths to Run in New York

The warm weather is finally coming! And with it, running New Yorkers will once again take to the streets. There’s nothing wrong with being a fair-weather exerciser, especially in New York City, where freezing temps and icy footpaths make running outside kinda dangerous in winter.

But now that it’s safe (and fun) to go back outside in the elements, and you’re ready to start your marathon training in earnest, the big question is, where to run? This month’s NYC Marathon tips reveals places and paths to run in New York.

In this concrete jungle you could be forgiven for thinking it’s too crowded, dangerous or polluted to find a decent running track. But, in actual fact, there are plenty of options worth checking out.

Central Park

Taken on a sunset run in summer 2016 (@hooliedoolie)

Duh. This is, of course, the obvious choice, with a sprawling oasis of gardens and trees in the heart of Manhattan. But even within Central Park there are multiple options worth considering. My favorite, though, is the Reservoir Loop. A 1.5-mile ring around the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, this path offers multiple benefits.

First, the dirt path is gentle on weary knees and hips. Second, there are water fountains scattered along the route so you can run without a bottle. Finally, the views are gorgeous, especially at sunrise and sunset. The short distance of the loop makes it great for building up your mileage and by the final stages of your training, 3 to 4 laps will make for an ideal short run.

Just be mindful that on nice days the path can get congested with both runners and tourists.

Hudson River Park

Photo Credit: Curbed NY

The great thing about this track is that it’s long. Very long. Which means it offers something for most stages of your marathon training if you make a return trip, and plenty of changes in scenery to keep things interesting.

The path traverses the Bronx, Manhattan and Brooklyn on the eastern banks of the Hudson. Starting south near Battery Park you’ll be waving hello to Lady Liberty and if you keep going north you’ll end up passing the George Washington Bridge and the Cloisters. There are water fountains and toilets along the way too.

If you’re looking for a fun way to get in one of your long training runs, start out south and run as far as La Marina, a bar and eatery on the water. Either run with friends or have someone meet you there for brunch. Then just jump on the A train back into the city.

You do share this path with cyclists, so it’s important to follow the signs and remain alert.

Roosevelt Island

Photo credit: A Fine Prospect

Roosevelt Island is nestled between Manhattan and Queens and used to be home to a number of hospitals and asylums. The island is ringed by a 3.5-mile path, which you can access on foot via the Roosevelt Island Bridge on 36th Avenue from Queens. You can run a few loops, take in some fairly spectacular city views, and then jump on the F train to get home again. Or for something different, catch the cable car that runs near the Queensboro bridge, for the cost of a subway ride.

Bridge runs 

Photo credit:

The NYC Marathon traverses no less than four bridges and has plenty of hills. So getting in some proper incline training is important. The good news is that the bridges are there year-round and can make for a fun and scenic run.

A personal favorite is to combine a bridge run with the Roosevelt Island run listed above. Start on the East River path around 80th Street and head south to the Queensboro Bridge. Once you’ve crossed the bridge, head north again to 36th Avenue and scoot over to Roosevelt Island for a lap or two.

There are plenty of other bridge runs – there are plenty of bridges! The trick is to go early to avoid crowds and traffic.

Van Cortland Park

Photo credit:

Tucked inside the Bronx and extremely accessible via the 1 and 4 trains, this little piece of paradise will make you forget you were ever in New York. There are two cross-country tracks – 3 mile and 6 mile – that will keep you on your toes. Literally.

You’ll want to bring your own water and your phone for these runs.


Enjoy these NYC Marathon tips and let us know your favorite places and paths to run in New York. Happy running!


Author: Julia O'Brien

Julia is originally from a small town in Victoria and has lived in New York since 2014. She spends her free time exploring the city and other parts of the States, with a razor sharp focus on trying food, wine and cocktails. And some coffee too.

4 thoughts

    1. Thanks for sharing – it’s always good to get advice from the voice of experience.


      Angela – AWNY Volunteer

    1. Thanks for the feedback Jake, glad you like it. Have you seen the previous posts that Julia has written? It’s so inspiring and interesting to read her thoughts as she is preparing for this year’s NYC Marathon.


      Angela – AWNY Volunteer

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