I love to travel. When I travel, my favorite way to see a city is by foot. (In fact, it was the day that a friend and I traveled over 26 miles by foot last summer in New York City that convinced me that a marathon wouldn’t be so bad!) A few years ago I heard about City Running Tours and was very excited to combine two things I love – site-seeing and running!
City Running Tours operates in thirteen cities currently – Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, New York City, Philadelphia, Portland, San Antonio, San Diego, San Fransisco, Seattle and Washington, DC. I just found out they will also be debuting soon in Annapolis and Baltimore! I first tried City Running Tours during a vacation to Boston in the spring of 2010. I had never been to Boston before and was overwhelmed by all the sites we wanted to cram into our two day visit. I was also training for a half marathon at the time and didn’t want my training to suffer while I was on vacation. When registering for a personalized tour, you can choose what sites you would most like to see. The guide plans the route according to your distance selected and things you want to see. Voila! Perfect workout and site-seeing tour!
When registering for your personalized tour, you not only choose your mileage but also your desired pace. One thing to keep in mind for those of you coming from more rural areas or locations where you run on paths or trails – urban city running has a lot of stops for traffic lights. Try to go into your run not too hung up on keeping your goal pace. If your goal pace is of utmost importance to you, I have had guides tell me they certainly can accommodate this but you may go out on a slightly less “scenic” route (i.e. not right through the heart of a major city). Once your tour is booked, your guide contacts you directly to arrange all the details. Your guide will come meet you right at your hotel lobby. The guides are runners just like you or me – individuals who are passionate about running and their city. It is like going for a run with a good friend that happens to also know lots of history and interesting facts about the city you are running through! All the guides I have had have been awesome about stopping for photos throughout the run. They are also great resources for their cities. Need to know the best places to tour, eat, shop, etc.? They are local and typically have great suggestions.
In Boston we managed to cram dozens of historical sites into a seven mile run. A highlight for me was a photo op at the Finish Line of the Boston marathon. This is likely the closest I will ever come to crossing this finish line, so it was pretty awesome.
My second running tour was in DC. Again, we only had a short time (one day) to site see while in town for business. Our guide took us by all the major monuments and sites as well as past some “hidden gems” in the city we never would have discovered on our own. It’s not every day that running up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial is part of my workout! I later had the opportunity (on another trip) to run a Half Marathon in DC and felt like I was “familiar” with parts of the course thanks to my City Running Tour.
My most recent tour was last summer in New York City. It was my first time in New York, and I knew as soon as I booked the trip that I would have to see it on the run. Our guide picked us up and took us on a subway ride (at their expense) to Brooklyn to begin our run. This was a very unique experience that allowed us to see even more by doing a “point to point” run as opposed to an “out and back.” My favorite part of running New York City was undoubtedly the Brooklyn Bridge. The views of lower Manhattan were spectacular before crossing the bridge!
As a small business owner myself, customer service is something I really value. When I come across a business with exceptional customer service, I will almost always become a repeat customer. I have absolutely no affiliation with City Running Tours and am sharing this review solely because I want all of you to know about this great company! If you are ever visiting one of the cities they operate in, I highly recommend trying them out.
Tours range from $25 (for group tours) to an average of $75 for a personal tour. This seemed a little pricey at first, but then I realized I regularly pay this for a great race that is usually not as enjoyable as a personalized tour. Included with your personal tour is a t-shirt and goody bag. I have found this experience worth every penny each time I have done it. You can check out City Running Tours (and book a tour) at http://www.cityrunningtours.com.