Running is very inexpensive but very addicting but sometimes running on the same area over and over again could be very tiresome. Do we have to go far to run in some interesting locations? Runners fear not! I’ve compiled a list of the best places to run within Metro Manila based on its walk-ability, safety, accessibility, and post run amenities. Best of all, all these places are free!
#5: Roxas Boulevard, Manila
Roxas Boulevard is one of the best destinations for setting new personal records (PRs) because it is relatively flat and virtually straight course. It is one of the most popular race sites in the Metro and even the country’s premier running event, Milo Marathon, is staged here. This is one the nicest roads to run onto because you have a nice view of the Manila skyline on one side, and the Manila Bay on the other.
- Great place to set PRs.
- Excellent view.
- Ample sidewalks to run onto.
- There are vendors in the area so hydration should not be a problem.
- Could be crowded at times.
- Relatively little shade.
- Food and water options could be limited at certain locations.
- Parking and safety issues.
#4: SM Mall of Asia Compound, Pasay City
Another bay-side location, this area is popular amongst runners and bikers alike because of its accessibility and not to mention that it’s within the confines of the Philippines’ second largest mall. Many races were also set here in the past attesting to the run-ability of the site.
- Very accessible from practically anywhere in the Metro or nearby provinces.
- A lot of route options that are flat and relatively straight.
- Excellent view.
- Post-run amenities of a mall.
- Some areas have very little shade.
- Could be very crowded at times.
- At times can be very hot and humid due to the sea breeze.
#3: Marikina Riverbanks, Marikina City
One of the greenest places to run, the riverbanks of Marikina is relatively unknown except maybe for Marikina residents. Personally I only discovered this route when Botak100’s 100K route passed through here and instantly I knew that this site should be placed on a runner’s best running places list. Where else in Metro Manila do you have a chance to run alongside a relatively clean river?
- Unique location that has a scenic river as focal point.
- Lush greenery ensures fresh air for everyone.
- Long and at times winding relatively flat road is sure to make an interesting run.
- Mall access at one end of the route.
- Not that accessible for those coming other than the east.
- Supplies could be very limited (depending on the time) along most areas.
- Not recommended during rainy season because of flood risk.
- Limited parking.
#2: University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City
Lush greenery, excellent and sometimes challenging routes, great accessibility—just about what every runner would want is here. The canopies of the tall trees make for excellent shades that allows running even late in the morning and also keeps the air fresh and cool. This is also one of the most popular race event venues because of its interesting sets of routes.
- Lush greens provide fresh and clean air and shade that facilitates running even late in the morning.
- Excellent routes from flat to hilly of various lengths which when combined create an interesting route for beginners and athletes alike.
- Highly accessible.
- Enough space to accommodate a huge number of people.
- Since it’s a University supplies could be distant depending on your location so it’s highly recommended to bring your own.
- Public transport could be an issue very early in the morning.
- Limited restrooms.
- Parking issues.
#1: Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
Arguably the country’s favorite running location, Bonifacio Global City (BGC) lives up to its name by having a globally-competitive urban planning that includes wide sidewalks virtually everywhere (with the exception of construction sites) that is conducive to running. Most races in the Metro either start here or pass through here not only because of excellent roads and picturesque skylines but also the wide variety of routes you can have here. You can pick the relatively even route of Bonifacio High Street (BHS), the long distances of Lawton Avenue and Bayani Road, or you can challenge yourself with McKinley Hill (just outside BGC). And since you’re within the confines of a “global city” you’ll be sure to get the supplies you need just about everywhere and anytime.
- The globally-competitive urban planning ensures ample sidewalks for runners.
- Plenty of distances, routes, and terrain choices that are ideal for beginners and athletes alike.
- Very accessible from practically all parts of the Metro, all the time.
- Supplies are ample just about everywhere and anytime within BGC.
- A lot of parking spaces.
- Most areas have limited shades limiting day runs to early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
- Could be very difficult to enter BGC during rush hours particularly on weekends.
- Runners should be wary of pedestrian traffic and parking vehicles around BHS.
- Some areas outside Bonifacio High Street are unlit at night.
Did your running spot made the cut? These five locations surely aren’t perfect but they sure provide standards for local governments on how to make a runner-friendly urban landscape. I could say that Bonifacio Global City is leading the way with world-class urban planning with Marikina City following in the right direction. I hope that the cities of Metro Manila keep in mind a people-friendly design when planning their cities and hopefully these five locations becomes their template in urban design.
I’m looking forward to expanding this list in the future and I dare urban developers to come up with challengers to these five. If you think your running location has got what it takes to be listed, I’d be more than glad to have your feedback. Until then, run safe!
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