Since moving to Stockholm I’ve been blessed to live next to the Djurgården, and to be able to run around Djurgårdsviken a few times a week.
I always try and go for a run when I travel. I like how you get to know a city or country a little bit more, and it’s a good antidote to work breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. In my time as a diplomat I’ve managed to visit around 80 countries. So I thought I’d share my top 10 city runs, and maybe a couple to avoid. Here goes:
1. Tokyo. The loop around the Imperial Palace. Yes, I’m biased as it was my last posting, but this favourite of Tyler Brule (of FT and Monocle fame) is a great, green, 5km circuit in the heart of the city. Best time of year? Early April, when the spectacular cherry blossom is out.
2. New York. Around Central Park with fantastic skyline views. Best time of year? Fall, with those amazing colours.
3. Sydney. Around the harbour and parks, then look back onto the Opera House. A total wow. Lots and lots of superfit people everywhere which was a bit intimidating….
4. Geneva. From the UN down around the lake to the famous fountain. Spectacular views of Mont Blanc. Best time of year? January can be fun, with the natural ice sculptures by the lake. Summer also good and you can swim. Or waterski.
5. Pretoria. The Pretoria city game park. Bit of a cheat this, because you have to drive to get there. But an early morning run when you meet giraffe, zebra and ostrich. How cool is that? Anytime.
6. Moscow. Around the Kremlin. Not long, but a definite power buzz. Summer.
7. Rome. Yes it’s polluted, but around the Coliseum and Circus Maximus, there is a certain wow factor, especially if you pass Lamborghini’s 75th anniversary car event, as I did.
8. Hong Kong. Along Bowden Road, then up to The Peak, and back. A great (long) run, with amazing views from the top. But as the pollution has got worse, it’s much less fun than it used to be.
9. London. Saving the best for (second)last? I don’t know, but the run through St James Park, Green Park, and Hyde Park, and round the Serpentine, is one of the best. Best time? June, at the peak of England’s green.
10. And Stockholm. Every season good so far, even in the snow.
Paris. Along the Seine, around Eiffel Tower. Vancouver. A little known entry. Along the sound. Lovely views of the mountains. Washington. Along the river from Georgetown to the Lincoln Memorial, then stop and look up towards Capital Hill. Ottawa. From the centre, over the bridge into Quebec and back. Interesting geography and history. Brussels. From the EU institutions through the Leopold arches and on up to the parks. Helps you cope with EU business. Sometimes. The Hague. Small city, nice park. Boston. Over the “Make way for ducklings” pond. Oslo and Helsinki. Around the harbours. Rangoon. A bit polluted, but interesting route past temples and parks. Vilnius. Good castle climb.
Delhi (too dusty), Singapore and KL (too sweaty), Port Stanley and Reykjavik (too windy), Erbil (actually quite nice in spring when I went – there was a certain Tuscan look to the hills. But basically it was around a hotel compound). Lisbon, Istanbul, Canberra, Riga (not memorable)
Exotic but disappointing: Antarctica. Rothera Base. The run is around the airstrip, so basically dull. Good bragging rights though. Probably best to avoid in winter.
To avoid? Sadly, it’s probably all about pollution and security, so I’m afraid Kabul, Baghdad, Islamabad, Jakarta, Kathmandu, Lagos and Bangkok put me off.
And finally. Best swim? Cayman Islands, from the British Governor’s House along 7 mile beach.
Any tips for even better runs gratefully received.