- A new survey says the top five cities and towns in the UK for running are Wokingham, Slough, Reading, Winchester and St Albans.
- The Runners Need survey analysed factors such as air pollution, crime rate, number of parks/green spaces and traffic to rank the best and worst urban areas for running.
- London is 93rd on the list and was found to be the worst place for avoiding high traffic.
You’ll probably have noticed the streets and parks have been busier over the past year than they used to be, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. According to a survey conducted by Sport England, running outdoors in the UK increased by 731,000 participants in 2020 – a rise of 1.5 per cent. From March to June 2020, the NHS reported a 92 per cent increase in downloads of its Couch to 5K training app (that’s more than 858,000 people). But where are the best places to head out for a run? A new study by Runners Need has some interesting findings.
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The best places to run in the UK
The survey found that the top five cities and towns for running are Wokingham, Slough, Reading, Winchester and St Albans.
The ‘greenest’ cities in the study are Glasgow, Newcastle upon Tyne and Liverpool, based on the number of public parks and gardens available for outdoor exercise.
Stirling, Carlisle and Scarborough are the three ‘cleanest’ places, based on pollution levels.
When it comes to the safest region for runners, Scarborough, Selby and Great Yarmouth had the lowest local crime rates.
Oxford was the most active city, based on the amount of running events online, while London was the worst place for avoiding high traffic, followed by Leeds and Birmingham.
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The worst places to run in the UK
The top 10 worst cities and towns in the UK for runners are Manchester, Exeter, Blackpool, Glasgow, Stockton-on-Tees, Salford, Stockport, Liverpool, Norwich and Worcester.
Glasgow, Stevenage and Oxford were the three worst places to run in terms of air pollution, while London, Birmingham and Leeds were considered the most dangerous places to run, based on crime rates.
The study also found Scotland to be home to the three least-active places, with Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow at the bottom of the list.
To rank cities and towns, the Runners Need study looked at factors such as air pollution, traffic and the number of green spaces for runners to explore. The researchers also created an interactive tool for runners to see how their area compares.
Andrew Wood, head of marketing at Runners Need said, ‘We’re thrilled to have welcomed so many new runners into our community in 2020 – from established runners, to runners who hadn’t put on a pair of running shoes before and are now training for their first 5K –and because we anticipate outdoor exercise and running to continue rising, we created this tool to make it fun and easy for our community to see how their city fares as a running destination.’
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