City runners’ secrets Running is a great way to keep fit while travelling – and discover new sides of iconic places. Local runners from three cities share their top tips.
TEXT BY MATT MITCHELL
ON GAUDI’S DOORSTEP BARCELONA boasts a number of distinctive running experiences, all within its city limits. There are wild and mountainous routes around Mt. Tibidabo that lead through well-packed trails to the top of Barcelona’s highest hill, home to one of the oldest amusement parks in the world. There are also easily accessible and serene stretches of paths along the Mediterranean Sea and Barcelona beach. And the city centre itself, packed with parks and unique architectural wonders like Gaudi’s Sagrada Família, is almost made for exploring by running. PEP CUBERES
Jes Bonet cruises through Barcelona.
Jes Bonet, a life-long runner and former national cross-country champion, is the founder of ‘Run4You,’ an accessible, community-driven running group. Barcelona offers running weather year-round, and Bonet has made the most of this, exploring every part of her city. To her, “running is the ultimate expression of freedom,” and her chosen route embodies that sense of adventure.
ROUTE MONTJUÏC For Bonet, the iconic hill of Montjuïc is one of the best places to get away, despite being only a few metres off the busiest streets. “This garden is the city’s lungs. It offers some of the best panoramic views of Barcelona,” she says. The route runs through the botanical gardens and the ‘Magic Fountain’ built in 1929 during the Great Universal Exhibition. It continues past the National Palace, a neo-Baroque pavilion turned Art Museum, and to the top of Montjuïc Castle, which provides commanding 360-degree views of the city, the sea, and the surrounding hills. The descent heads back down by the Olympic Stadium. In all, it covers 8.4 km, a 300-metre climb, and all sorts of wonders.