When in NYC: The Best Run Routes From the Founder of Harlem Run

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In New York the best running routes are all uptown. As the founder of Harlem Run, I get to explore the neighborhood’s beauty day in and day out. Harlem is full of history and culture, so running here offers a mix of street running, parks and bridges to ensure you never get bored (or realize how hard you’re running).

There is so much going on in New York you never know what to expect on the run. I always travel with a Metro Card, ID and cash/card for safety, but also because you never know where the day will take you. I’ve gone on long runs and ended up at a block party and a summer movie in Central Park.

My number 1 go-to route is one we’ve nicknamed “The Classic” at Harlem Run. The route earns that name because it offers a great mix of hills and flats, plus it’s centrally located in the neighborhood. I start at 145th and Lenox Avenue, head south to 110th Street and Lenox and enter Central Park, doing an upper loop (going up Harlem Hill and then taking the 102nd Street transverse to come back around and out of the park). It’s roughly 5 miles.

Use your run as a time to explore the city and let yourself enjoy where the journey takes you! Here are a few more of my favorite routes:

HARLEM 1 MILER

Distance: 1 mile loop
Why it’s great: Everyone can run a mile and this route takes you around Marcus Garvey Park, and along some of the neighborhood’s most picturesque brownstone blocks.
Level of difficulty: All levels
End: 122nd Street and Mt. Morris Park West

WEST HARLEM PIER

Distance: 5 miles
Why it’s great: Great views by the water along the way; bathrooms and water fountains are available along the route; stop by the Little Red Lighthouse for dope photo opps
Level of difficulty: All levels
Start: 125th Street and Marginal Street at the Hudson River Greenway

JUMEL TERRACE RUN

Distance: 4.74 miles
Why it’s great: It’s like a trip back in time. Perched between 160th and 162nd off of Edgecombe Avenue is one of the most historic sites in the country. During the Revolutionary War, George Washington and his troops occupied the Morris-Jumel Mansion, Manhattan’s oldest home. You can check out the special events hosted here from mansion tours to free music on the lawn.
Level of difficulty: All levels
Start: 125th Street and Lenox Avenue; end: 161st Street and Sylvan Terrace

YANKEES STADIUM RUN

Distance: 4.62 miles
Why it’s great: It’s the home of the Yankees (duh!).
Level of difficulty: All levels
Start: 125th Street and Lenox Avenue

RANDALL’S ISLAND BRIDGE WORKOUT

Distance: 2.5 mile warm up, plus bridge repeats
Why it’s great: There are beautiful views from the bridge, which provides a great workout as the bridge is an uphill and then downhill.
Level of difficulty: All levels. Pick the number of bridge repeats according to your fitness level (beginner: 2–3; intermediate: 4–6; seasoned: 6+).
Start: 125th Street and Lenox Avenue

MORNINGSIDE PARK STAIR REPEATS

Distance: 0.9 miles; 59 feet
Why it’s great: This beautiful park is home to a killer set of stairs.
Level of difficulty: Moderate–advanced (Beginners can do half of the flights)
Start: 120th Street and Morningside Avenue; end: 120th Street and Morningside Drive

EXPLORE HARLEM LEGENDS

Distance: Varies
Why it’s great: There are so many great pieces of history in Harlem and tributes to heroes.
Level of difficulty: All levels
Start: Wherever you’d like and incorporate these stops along the way:

Astor Row Houses, 130th Street between Fifth and Lenox Avenues.
Frederick Douglass Statue, 110th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard.
Harriet Tubman Statue (one of only five public statues of historic women in New York), 122nd Street and St. Nicholas Avenue.
Duke Ellington Statue (be sure to look up), 110th Street and Fifth Avenue.
Hamilton Grange, 141st Street and Hamilton Terrace.
Invisible Man Statue: A Memorial to Ralph Ellison, 150th Street and Riverside Drive.

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