Whether you are lacing up your running shoes for the first time or logging miles for that upcoming marathon, San Francisco offers runners of all abilities a wonderful, picturesque place to jog. In general, San Francisco is very runner friendly. The temperate climate is perfect to run in: the mild temperatures and cool moist air are ideal conditions that keep runners from overheating. The terrain ranges from flat and easy to steep and painful to look at with everything in between. Numerous resources, from running clubs, stores, race training, and running partners, are at your disposal to help runners find their stride.
SF's Best Running Routes
San Francisco has some of the best and most beautiful places to run. Popular destinations with runners are the flatter routes that are close to the city's shores, but no hill is unconquerable!
Crissy Field and the Marina Green: A wide, paved trail that is both urban and scenic. This is a very popular route with runners, walkers, and bikers.
The Embarcadero: A wide sidewalk on the City's east side. Flat and urban, but it can be crowded at times with sightseers, but has great views of the Bay Bridge and Treasure Island.
Ocean Beach: Out on the western end of the city, this sandy expanse is majestic and a wonderful place to run. Space is in the abundance and the sand is welcome relief on those joints. The four-mile beach is perfect for a jog and the Cliff House hill on the northern end is an awesome challenge. There is also a paved trail along the Great Highway, but why wouldn't you want to run on the beach?
Lake Merced: In the southwestern part of the city, the paved Lake Merced trail is about a 4.5-mile loop around the lake.
Golden Gate Park (GGP): Simply put: a runner's paradise. GGP has miles of paved paths that crisscross the park making this an enticing place to explore and run. Numerous trails wind through the trees and offer a fun, technical workout with all the logs you have to jump and shrubbery you have to dodge. Road closures on the weekends attract hoards of runners. If you are looking for a place to do speed work, there is a 400-meter track at Kezar Stadium (southeast corner of the park) that also doubles as a meeting spot for many running groups.
Land's End: Arguably the most beautiful route in the city. Land's End is the craggy coast populated with cypresses between Lincoln Park and Ocean Beach. There is an unpaved trail that slithers atop the cliffs that overlook the Golden Gate Bridge. For an extra burn of the calves, quads and glutes, there is a challenging set of stairs that rises a couple hundred feet, and the scenery is worth the toil.
- General Information and Maps:
- These sites are a great introduction to running in San Francisco and the terrain that you will encounter. The map sites are great for finding a route that will be the best for you.
- • Running in San Francisco: www.runninginsanfrancisco.com
- • Map My Run: www.mapmyrun.com
- • Run the Planet: www.runtheplanet.com
- Running Clubs:
- Get motivated and meet some friends! These running clubs run the spectrum from laid back to very serious, but all are very enthusiastic about running.
- • Dolphin South End Runners: www.dserunners.com
- • Golden Gate Running Club: www.goldengaterunningclub.org
- • K-Stars Running Club: www.malvina.com/kstars
- • San Francisco Front Runners: www.sffr.org
- • San Francisco Road Runners Club: www.sfrrc.clubexpress.com
- From the fierce to the flamboyant, San Francisco's streets host numerous races throughout the year. The San Francisco Marathon is a world-class event while Bay to Breakers is a San Francisco favorite that includes costumes, floats, and booze (let's not forget controversy too). You'll definitely find one to your liking.
- • Bay to Breakers: www.baytobreakers.com
- • Nike Women's Marathon: www.nikerunning.nike.com
- • San Francisco Marathon: www.thesfmarathon.com
- • U.S. Half Marathon: www.ushalf.com
- • San Francisco Pride Run 5k & 10k: www.sfpriderun.org
- Stores and Running Outfitters:
- These specialty shops are great resources for all things running. Helpful staff members can aide you in your search for the perfect running shoe and accoutrements.
- • Fleet Feet Sports: www.fleetfeetsanfrancisco.com
- • On the Run: www.ontherunshoes.com
- • See Jane Run: www.seejanerun.com
- • Sports Basement: www.sportbasement.com