On National Running Day, guess which Austin trail makes list of top running routes in U.S.?

Early morning joggers get in their exercise on the Roy and Ann Butler Hike and Trail as the sun rises on the Butler Hike and Bike Trail in this 2016 file photo. RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN


Happy National Running Day, people!

Here in Austin, runners know to head to the Butler Hike and Bike Trail around Lady Bird Lake if they want to chat with other runners, watch scullers glide up and down the river or count turtles perched on logs. Turns out our downtown trail ranks as one of the most popular running routes in the country.

Under Armour compiled a list of the most popular running routes in the U.S., based on data logged on by MapMyRun users.

The 3.02-mile Austin route that starts at the pedestrian bridge underneath Loop 1 (MoPac Boulevard), loops east to the Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge, crosses the river and heads west to MoPac, came in fifth on the list.

A highlight, according to the report? The nightly summertime bat migration that takes place beneath the Congress Avenue Bridge. According to the data, the busiest time to run the trail is 6 p.m. Tuesday. (I don’t agree. It’s way busier on a Saturday or Sunday morning.)

The list includes a route map, mileage, average running time, the most popular hour and day to run, and a male/female breakdown for each route. Every route except one – a loop around Rice University in Houston – takes runners along a river, lake or stream.

Who ranked above Austin? Washington Park Loop in Denver came in fourth, followed by Central Park in New York City, Prospect Park in Brooklyn and, in the top slot, Memorial Park Loop in Houston.

To see the top 20 routes go here.


Author: Pam LeBlanc

Pam LeBlanc writes about fitness and travel for the Austin American-Statesman. She has worked for the Statesman since 1998 and written her weekly fitness column, Fit City, since 2004.

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