active vacations - running tours
City Running ToursMore active vacations & fitness adventures
Running tours offer a new way for fit-minded travellers to soak up the sights of a city.
by Anne Dimon
New city tours now mean that visitors can see the sights on-the-run …. and we do mean that literally. Running tours are the hot new way for runners (even fast walkers) to see the city sights. One of the great things about guided running tours? Sometimes you get to go where masses of other “soles” have not tread. Read more...
Why book a city running tour?
Who books a city running tour?
Here are six of the top running tour companies:
City Running Tours – New York, Washington, D.C., San Diego
New York City-based City Running Tours is one of the largest running tour companies is owned by Michael Gazaleh, a practicing chiropractor who was working in a small New York gym when he launched the company in early 2007. Since then the business has branched out to include Chicago and Washington, D.C., Austin, Charleston and San Diego with a roster of about 40 running guides.
The company offers about a dozen standard routes, which they will customize upon request so “every run is just a bit different,” says Gazaleh.
Off’ N Running – Los Angeles
Los Angeles-based Off’N Running appears to have been the “fore-runner.” Owner Cheryl Anker says she launched the company 14 years ago to cater to business travellers who needed to get a run in but didn’t want to be stuck on a treadmill. The company offers a number of tours in the 6-8K range, plus the recently introduced “Running from the Paparazzi,” a 90-minute event that takes participants along Robertson Blvd. past many of the shops and boutiques known for celebrity spotting. “The street itself is usually lined with paparazzi, and they often become the highlight of the tour,” says Anker.
Sight Jogging Tours – Rome
Carolina Gasparetto, director of the Rome-based Sight Jogging Tours, says her three-year-old business caters mostly to a middle-aged clientele from North America, Britain and Germany. She explains that the company’s 15 tour guides undergo a training period to test both their fitness level and cultural capabilities. “They have to be fit, educated, responsible and, of course, fluent in at least one language other than Italian,” says Gasparetto. Sight Jogging Tours is currently working to expand the business into other Italian cities.
SightRunning – Berlin
Mike's SightRunning in Berlin is the newcomer amid a handful of similar German-speaking tour companies in the country. Owner Michael Horstmann says he and his guides are experienced marathon runners and all run on a regular basis year-round. Tours include the area around the Berlin Cathedral, another that follows the River Spree to the city’s historical centre, and others that include the government district and the most popular tourist attractions. According to Horstmann, attractions such as the summer residence of the Prussian Kings “are lined up like pearls on a string along the riverside.”
He says the tours are perfect for Berlin visitors, who plan to tour the German capital for a short time and wish to keep their personal fitness but also experience Berlin and its many sights. The company has plans to expand, but at the moment has “assigned priority to co-operations with Berlin’s five-star hotels wanting to expand their wellness programs,” says Horstmann.
Urban Running Tours – Buenos Aires, Argentina
In Buenos Aires, Argentina, Urban Running Tours offers tours seven days a week in Spanish, English, Italian and French.
Their six standard tours take visitors through the main neighbourhoods of the city, and they also assemble personalized tours.
Quebec Jogging Tours – Quebec City
Launched in the spring of 2008, Quebec Jogging Tours owner Dominic Menard says, “people may have 45 instead of 70 minutes and want us to cut some time off the tour.” There are those who either go faster or want to walk from time-to-time, so they “adapt our rhythm to each runner,” says Menard. Sometimes, people want to stop to catch their breath, he says, while others push us to go a little faster.
Owner Dominic Menard recalls one extreme runner once asked to be taken to a challenging spot, so, on the Plains of Abraham route, he took a little detour to the Escaliers du Cap-Blanc, “the longest and highest stairway in Quebec City, linking the Lower City with the Upper City with over 400 steps.” This is the place, says Menard, “where local athletes go to really push themselves.”
Other cities with running tours
Why Book a Running Tour
• A better “feel” for a city.
• Easier to customize than bus tours or large group walking tours
• Stop whenever you want
• "Travel" at your own speed and spend time on sights that interest you more than others
• Accomplish two things at once: see the sights plus get a workout in the fresh air
• The convenience of combining a sightseeing tour with a regular workout is attractive for many ambitious runners who are on vacation or travelling on business.
Who Books a Running Tour?
• Competitive runners training for a marathon and who need to get a run in
• New and recreational runners
• Teenagers to retirees, solos, couples and families
• Women because of the safety issues when visiting a new city
• Small corporate groups who want a fitness-based activity
• Those who get their exercise from fast walking
• Business/convention people in town for meetings or conferences