A vacation is usually about breaking out of your routine, but if you are an avid runner you probably aren't ready to skip your daily run while on vacation. These early morning jaunts are the best parts because you see a city before it wakes up and before popular sites get clogged with tourists. Running is also a fun way to do a unique tour. There are now several companies offering running based tours that let you get a little exercise in, cover more ground, and learn a little about the city as you go.
Check out five options perfect for your next getaway.
Women are often the unsung heroes of history which is what makes this tour so fascinating. This tour takes you in the footsteps of some of the world's most intriguing women giving you a glimpse into their lives and legacies. Learn more about WWII spy Violette Szabo who traveled into some of the most dangerous areas of France during the war and was eventually captured and killed by the Germans. Discover the story of Mary Seacole, a firecracker of a woman that combated racial prejudice in the 1800s and provided much needed medical care and respite for troops during the Crimean Way by setting up the "British Hotel" behind the lines.
Louisa Blake, Virginia Woolf, Eleanor Marx, and several more women are also covered on this tour that will leave you feeling proud to be of the female persuasion.
Distance: 6 miles/10k
Chicago is a city of beautiful architecture and art, world-class dining and theater, and an engine of industry. But it has been shaped by tragedy like few other cities have. The Chicago Tragic Events running tour allows visitors to see five of the tragic events that molded this city as well as the beauty and resilience that rose from the ashes.
Starting with the cities earliest history - runners see the site of the 1812 Fort Dearborn Massacre before running through areas that were once decimated by the city's most famous event - The Great Chicago Fire. The early 1900s also saw the city (and the world), shaped by fire when the Iroquois Theatre fire broke out in 1903 leading to the safety precautions on exit doors that we still use today.
While this tour might seem like a bit of a downer it is anything but. While you learn about the history that shaped this city you see how the strength of the people that have called Chicago home has created a unique and powerful city ready for anything. Besides, the tour is full of many more sites and stories.
Distance: 3.8 miles
New York City has been an entry point for immigrants for generations of hopeful travelers seeking the American dream and remains that melting pot to this day. The New York Culture Clash tour takes you on a jaunt through history as well as today's dynamic atmosphere as you run through Little Italy, Chinatown, SOHO, the Bowery, and the small streets of the Lower East Side.
This tour doesn't only cover history, however, you will experience the places that have shaped these neighborhoods for decades and are still humming with that unique New York energy. With stops at Katz's Deli, Russ & Daughters, and Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery you are sure to get a taste of the New York of yesterday and today.
Distance: 4.5 miles/7.2k
How often do you get to say you ran one of the world's seven natural wonders? This trail run includes a gentle climb up the path of Table Mountain followed by a more challenging run along the face of the Mountain. The oldest and most direct route to the summit takes you along Platteklip Gorge towards the famous Devil's Peak. At the end of this run, you will be rewarded with incredible views of the entire city bowl and Lion's Head.
Remember this is a trail run, so come prepared.
Distance: 5 miles/8k
Barcelona is a city of art and history with both visibly abundant. This city gets very busy during the day so going on this early morning tour not only gets a workout in before your day starts but lets you see some of the best sites crowd-free. You will be surrounded by famous works by Gaudi and other modernist artists, run along the ritzy avenue Passeig de Gracia, and end up in the Gothic Quarter full of history and culture.
The city is full of narrow streets hiding art and history in plain sight that most visitors overlook while wandering. Your guide will point out these often underappreciated stories and masterpieces so you can truly experience the breadth of what Barcelona has to offer.
Distance: 3.1-7.5miles/5-12km depending on your preference.
A few things to consider when choosing your tour: Distance to be covered, meeting site distance from your hotel, size of group and pace of run (if not a private tour), cancellation policy related to injury or weather, and whether they provide photos and notes after the tour on all the sites you saw on your run (because it is really hard to run and take notes!).
Ashley is a freelance travel & food writer, blogger, and content marketer. A lover of exploration and learning, she is always reading about history, food, and the next place she wants to visit. She believes that travel and stories connect us all and make the world a better place. Inspiring others to explore the world is her number one passion. Follow her adventures and get inspired to take your own! firstname.lastname@example.org