According to a new study, THIS is the best city in the UK for running

Jane McGuire
·3-min read
Photo credit: SolStock - Getty Images
Photo credit: SolStock - Getty Images

From Runner's World

  • A new study by Runners Need analysed factors such as air pollution, crime rate, amount of parks and green space and traffic to rank the best and worst cities in the UK for running.

  • The top five overall cities in the UK for running are Wokingham, Slough, Reading, Winchester and St. Albans.

  • London is 93rd on the list, as the worst place for avoiding high traffic.

Wherever you're running, you'll probably have noticed the streets and parks have been busier than they used to be during the coronavirus 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%. In March to June 2020, the NHS reported a 92% increase in downloads of their 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 Runner's Need sought to find out more.

The best places to run in the UK

In order to rank cities in the UK, the Runners Need study looked at factors like air pollution, traffic and the number of green spaces for runners to explore. They also created an interactive tool for runners to see how their area compares.

According to the study, the top five overall cities in the UK for running are Wokingham, Slough, Reading, Winchester and St Albans.

The 'greenest' cities in the study were Glasgow City, Newcastle upon Tyne and Liverpool, based on the number of public parks and gardens for outdoor exercise.

Stirling, Carlisle and Scarborough are the top 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 activity city according to the amount of running events online, while London was the worst place for avoiding high traffic, followed by Leeds and Birmingham.

The worst places to run in the UK

The top ten worst overall cities in the UK for runners are Manchester, Exeter, Blackpool, Glasgow City, Stockton-on-Tees, Salford, Stockport, Liverpool, Norwich and Worcester.

Glasgow, Stevenage and Oxford were the worst three places to run in terms of air pollution, whereas London, Birmingham and Leeds were considered the most dangerous places to run, based on local 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.

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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