Sydney would have to be one of the most picturesque cities in the world, boasting endless coastal beaches and national parks aplenty. Based upon my experiences as a trail runner, these are the 5 best places I enjoy doing my long runs because of the beautiful scenery, which distracts you from how far you are actually running. I love running in areas of Sydney which are an escape to the everyday demands of work and the urban jungle which surround us every day. These 5 locations allow you to embrace Sydney’s natural beauty and be enthralled when you are running.
- Bondi to Coogee. If you want a popular, iconic run, the Bondi to Coogee is a fantastic choice for those of you who live in the Eastern Suburbs. The Bondi to Coogee run offers a scenic run passing by some of Sydney’s most iconic beaches. As you run you get to experience the rays, some undulated hills and stairs but most of all you are taken back by the water-views the entire way.
- Royal National Park, Audley. This runners paradise contains more than 93 kilometres of walking and running tracks to suit all running levels and abilities. The best thing I love about running through the Royal National Park is the coastal formations contrasting with endless ocean views. There is also a mixture of surfaces to run on whether it’s rock, sand, dirt or single trails. There is a popular 10-km loop at Curra Moors, which offers brilliant terrain and a beautiful natural setting. The Royal National Park in Audley is approximately 45 minutes from the Sydney CBD and is best accessible by car.
- The Bay Run, Iron Cove. The Bay Run also known as the Babe Run, is approximately 7 km’s around the shores of the Iron Cove Bay and is one of the most popular harbour-side running tracks in Sydney which attracts runners of all levels from the social runner through to the elite runner. The run is calming as you have a view of the still bay the entire way around and the track is clearly marked. The best thing about the Bay run is that you can start and stop at the same location. The most popular place to start and finish is at King Georges Park on the Leichardt side.
- The Manly Dam, Allambie Heights. The Manly Dam is a hidden Dam in Allambie Heights, which sets the scene for some spectacular trails. The trails are quite technical in some sections but the best thing about this running destination is that when you have completed a circuit around the dam which is roughly 10k you feel like you have had done an amazing workout. Manly Dam offers all types of terrain including creeks, dirt, sand, rocky and hilly trails. Once again, when you run around the Manly Dam it feels like you have escaped the realities of everyday life and you find some zen being amongst the beautiful Australian flora.
- Lane Cove National Park, Lindfield. For those of you who live on the North Shore or around the Northern Suburbs the Lane Cove National Park is a hidden gem for running. The run is part of the Great North Walk and offers a track beside the Lane Cove river which is perfect for those of you who love trail running. You get to pass many of Australia’s native flora and fauna and you even catch Water Dragons along the way to get the legs moving. There are caves, waterfalls, board walks to keep you distracted from the distance and most of all it doesn't feel like you are in the middle of Sydney.