Striding through Santiago: Running Routes in the City

Whether dodging maniacal drivers zooming down narrow streets, navigating through overcrowded sidewalks or fleeing from seemingly ferocious stray dogs, many runners justly question their sanity while striding through downtown Santiago.

Photo by Joanna Rozniak
Photo by Joanna Rozniak

Fortunately, runners can escape the majority of these complications if they journey into the many parks dotting the city. Each provides an excellent alternative to running along city streets.

Photo by Joanna Rozniak
Photo by Joanna Rozniak

Parque Forestal

Many consider Parque Forestal to be the most convenient of these facilities, as it is located near the center of the city. Likened to New York City’s Central Park, a well-known sanctuary for joggers, Parque Forestal doesn't quite live up to the hype. While the tree-lined dirt path provides a small haven for runners trying to avoid chaotic roadways, most will find the park too small.

Joggers can easily find relief by accessing the connected paths along the Mapocho River. These trails seemingly stretch on infinitely, allowing athletes to vary the length of their trek and utilize exercise equipment such as pull-up bars interspersed amongst the occasional sculptures and other artwork.

Although considered one of the best running routes in Santiago, runners will still need to cross roads relatively frequently--which can destroy a jogger’s rhythm and can prove incredibly irritating.

Parque O’Higgins

Unlike the trails near Parque Forestal, Parque O’Higgins is entirely contained within a gigantic city block, eliminating the worry over traffic. Their fears, however, will not be entirely alleviated as stray dogs seem to gravitate towards the park and, on rare occasion, joggers as well.

Photo by Joanna Rozniak
Photo by Joanna Rozniak

Fortunately, most of the dogs are accustomed to runners and generally allow them to proceed undisturbed, making Parque O’Higgins one of the premier spots to jog in Santiago.

Featuring both dirt trails and paved areas, runners can find whichever running surface they desire, all the while enjoying excellent views of the Cordillera. Although the paved routes tend to be clustered around the unsightly yet lively amusement park, many of the trails explore other nooks within the park, including the Asian garden.

Estadio Nacional

Located just outside downtown Santiago in the Ñuñoa neighborhood, the grounds surrounding Estadio Nacional also feature panoramic views of the mountains to those jogging along the dirt trails and green fields.

Those jogging here will not find many trees, however. Rather, they will discover more soccer pitches and other athletic facilities instead. And while continually circling soccer fields may seem monotonous, the intense practices and scrimmages can easily break up the routine and make runs pass surprisingly quickly.

Parque Metropolitano

Like Estadio Nacional, Parque Metropolitano is situated slightly outside downtown Santiago. The immense park borders several Comunas and offers numerous options for runners. Choose wisely though - some of the dirt trails prove extremely challenging with steep hills stretching to the peak of Cerro San Cristobal.

Most recreational athletes consequently choose to follow the roads meandering to the top. If seeking to escape pavement, runners can stride on the dirt sidewalk lining some of the roadway leading to panoramic views of the city and picnic areas that can be used for other fitness activities such as bench dips.

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Runners in downtown Santiago have four parks to choose from when looking for places that not only make runs seem more enjoyable, but also allow runners to focus on mileage and splits instead of the possibility of a brutal collision with a car or a festering dog bite. Someday, perhaps, these joggers will be better prepared to return to the roads and run phenomenal times in some of the city’s many road races.

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