Worldwide

World’s best running spots

From city to summit, beach to desert, these six runs prove that the world is best viewed at about 10km per hour –­ depending on your pace

Man running through New York's Central Park at dawn

For famous faces: Central Park, New York

As one of the most filmed locations in the world, it’s hard not to feel like you’re a movie character when you run in Central Park. New York City’s urban oasis has always been popular with runners but even more so since last year, when it became officially traffic free. The circumference of the park offers an undulating 10km run, but the 2.5km loop around the tree-lined Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir provides some of the best views of the city skyline and is kinder underfoot, with a cinder surface. It’s said that the former First Lady enjoyed jogging on the reservoir path – Madonna and Bill Clinton have also been spotted clocking up the miles. Just one thing – make sure you run anticlockwise; this path is so well used it has a one-way system.
Distance: Approx 2.5km

View at the top of the mountains at Collserola Natural Park looking over the city of Barcelona and the green of the park

For sea (and city) views: Collserola National Park, Barcelona

Barcelona parties hard and late, so get up early and you just might have the city to yourself. Step out of the hotel and head south for the Font de Canaletes – if you drink from this ornate fountain, it’s said you will always return to the city. Continue south towards the sea and enjoy a 1.2km jaunt along the city’s most famous thoroughfare – the historic and picturesque treelined La Rambla. For panoramic views of the city and the Mediterranean beyond, the 20-minute journey to Collserola Natural Park, north of the city centre, is well worth it. Dubbed Barcelona’s ‘green lung’ it’s the largest metropolitan park in the world. Here you’ll find the Carretera de les Aigües (the water road), a 9.5km unpaved and traffic-free trail that winds around the verdant, wooded slopes of the Collserola foothills. The trail can be reached on foot if you’re up for a stiff climb, or via the Vallvidrera Funicular – but once you’re up there, it’s largely flat. Look out for the glittering Torre Glòries, Barcelona’s tallest skyscraper, and Gaudí’s unfinished eight-spired Gothic cathedral, La Sagrada Familia, as you survey the city. Then look up to see the 288m mast of Norman Foster’s hi-tech Torre Collserola, built for the 1992 Olympics. There are drinking fountains along the trail to refill your bottle, but come prepared for little shade. If you fancy some company on your Barcelona run, 360-degree running offer a range of guided tours.
Distance: Approx 9.5 km

Man stretches against the balustrade of the River Thames on London's South Bank

For historic sights: River Thames, London

“Liquid history”, was how the early 20th-century MP John Burns described London’s River Thames. A run along the mighty river as it passes Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Cleopatra’s Needle and the Tower of London is a case in point. Why not time your run to begin with the chimes of Big Ben, crossing Westminster Bridge and heading east along the South Bank? You’ll pass the London Eye, Millennium Bridge and Tate Modern on your way to Southwark Cathedral. It’s just a short detour from here to Borough Market if you need sustenance, otherwise continue east for the thrill of crossing Tower Bridge. The view of the 922-year old Tower of London against a backdrop of glistening skyscrapers is quintessentially London. On your return, leave something in the tank for Victoria Embankment, a 2km stretch between Blackfriars Bridge and Westminster Bridge that is a favourite locals’ spot for speedwork.
Distance: Approx 10km round trip

Bridge crossing the reflective water in Tokyo's Imperial Palace gardens

For striking vistas: Imperial Palace, Tokyo

As one of the largest and most densely populated cities in the world, Tokyo may not spring to mind when you think of runner-friendly destinations. But Japan is a country that loves and reveres running – the sport of Ekiden (long-distance road running in relay teams) is fiercely contested, drawing huge crowds of spectators and TV coverage. To escape the busy streets, join locals on the ever-popular loop around the Imperial Palace – home to the Emperor of Japan – an area with numerous parks and waterways in the heart of the city. The path itself is set among beautiful surroundings and offers views of city landmarks such as the National Museum of Modern Art, Supreme Court and, in the distance, the Tokyo Tower. In spring, you’ll get to witness one of Japan’s best-loved spectacles – the sakura or cherry blossom in full bloom. Head to the Kitanomaru Park area to enjoy the blossom with fewer crowds. A half-mile jog west from Imperial Palace brings you to Akasaka Palace (a grand baroque-style building that once served as the Imperial Palace) around which you can add on a hillier 3km loop for a longer run.
Distance: Approx 5km/8.5km

View from the top of Hong Kong's Victoria Peak overlooking the famous tram, the city skyline and Victoria Bay below

For escaping the crowds: Victoria Peak, Hong Kong

The highest hill on Hong Kong Island, Victoria Peak stands at 554 metres, offering panoramic views of the city, harbour and outlying islands, not to mention an escape from the city’s frenetic pace. For residents, the views come with a hefty price tag – houses on The Peak reputedly sell for up to $690 million Hong Kong dollars. You can enjoy the same vista for a whole lot less by catching the Peak Tram – one of the world’s oldest funicular railways – to the upper terminus, where you’ll find the waymarker for the start of the 50-km Hong Kong Trail. Follow it anticlockwise and you’ll find yourself on a well-made path cut across densely forested slopes and crisscrossed with waterfalls. Don’t miss the Lugard Road lookout for one of the best views of Victoria Harbour before descending to the tranquil haven of Pok Fu Lam Reservoir.
Distance: Approx 7km one way

Runners make their way along Boston's Charles River bank in the early morning sun

For following in historic footsteps: Charles River, Boston

With the finish line of the world’s oldest marathon just two blocks from Mandarin Oriental, Boston, it would be rude not to pad along at least some of the streets that make up the famous race route when they aren’t 20-deep with screaming spectators. The Back Bay area’s wide streets and spacious sidewalks are a luxury for runners more accustomed to the jampacked pavements of central New York and London, but for a breath of fresh air, make like a local and head for the Charles River Bike Path. This 37km paved path takes in both banks of the famous river but, with bridges spanning the water at regular intervals, the length of your riverside jaunt is up to you. Alternatively, join General Manager Philipp Knuepfer every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6:30am in the hotel lobby for a scenic three-mile jog around historic Boston. All paces and abilities are welcome, plus refreshments are served after the run.
Distance: up to 37km one way

World’s best golf courses: Adam Scott

Having won 29 professional tournaments including the Masters, Adam Scott has been honoured as an official Fan of Mandarin Oriental and travelled the world, playing golf at the highest level on memorable courses, in thrilling matches, and in some of the most desirable locations around the world