Where Are the Best Running Cities in America?

As a sport, there’s no doubt running has exploded. More than 18.75 million people completed a running event in 2014. That’s more than double the 8.5 million people who finished a race in 2000. Races of all kinds – from half marathons to fun runs – have gained in popularity as the number of runners has increased. But running can be a demanding sport. Pounding the pavement mile after mile stresses knees and joints. According to the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, nearly 70 percent of runners will suffer a running related injury.

RunDisney01 300x199 Where Are the Best Running Cities in America? Photo

Orlando topped Vitals’ list of best running cities in America.

The latest Vitals Index ranks America’s Best Running Cities based on quality ratings and access to sports medicine physicians and orthopedic surgeons. It also considers the number of full and half marathons hosted by a city, the number of participants for the largest race and the number of runs per person

Runners training for a full or half marathon often run upwards of 30 miles per week. Yet, ramping up on mileage too fast or not having the right sneakers can result in some of these most common injuries. If you need the care of a sport medicine. Sports medicine doctors and orthopedic surgeons deal with running injuries every day.

But not everyone has equal access to high-quality sports specialists. In fact, some cities known for their mega-marathons have fewer sports specialists per capita than more intimate racing venues.

The top cities according to the Vitals Index Best Running Cities Rankings are listed along with key data.

Rank City Sports Specialists per capita Sports Specialists Ratings Runs per person No. of Full/Half Marathons Largest Race
1 Orlando 1:2,590 3.87 41.4 7 65,523
2 San Diego 1:6,109 4.14 41.4 11 13,391
3 Las Vegas 1:6,145 3.88 43 16 35,289
4 Miami 1:2,937 4.07 41.4 4 17,529
5 San Francisco 1:6,242 4.04 41.4 12 19,768
6 Seattle 1:3,478 4.08 41 7 11,043
7 Washington 1:6,916 4.15 40.09 6 27,437
8 Birmingham 1:2,021 4.16 41.7 3 5,526
9 Charlotte 1:6,305 4.12 42.2 8 4,385
10 Atlanta 1:2,308 4.04 40.9 7 7,830


Data and reporting compiled with help from Ali Cirik, Data Engineer at Vitals.