Great Scot! Being in Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland, has its advantages. This city has so much to offer, you almost forget that you are in Scotland, a country with only 5 million residents. Yet when you step onto George's Square, the heart of the city, you will be surrounded by great shops, theaters, operas, museums, and ballets. And you don't have to venture far from the center to figure out there is a lot of green space here! It's almost overwhelming to look at a map of Glasgow to see just how much open land there is. Is it possible that there are too many parks in this city on the River Clyde? Nah. It's just all the better for the running traveler.
Glaswegians will tell you that the running boom has hit the city hard in the last few years. Running is now one of the trendiest things to do after work and before the pub. So whether you are staying in the middle of downtown or residing somewhere on the outskirts, there are a number of beautiful Scottish countryside parks where you will find other runners at all times of day.
Here's the run-down on Glasgow's best running spots:
- Pollock Park is by far the largest and most rewarding park for a tourist to run in. It is home to the famous Burrell Collection (and fabulous scones!) Pollock was voted Europe's most beautiful park in 2008, and it lives up to its reputation. You can run any distance in Pollock Park and never cross the same road twice. But be careful, it's easy to get lost. Check out Run#2 for more information on running in Pollock Park.
- Queens Park is the perfect 2 miler. Easy to find, and even easier to navigate, this park is great if you are staying anywhere near it. If not, it's a bit of a schlep. But it does have a great view of downtown Glasgow from the center if you run up the steps!
- Most running clubs and runners who want to take a mid-day run head to the Glasgow Green. Inside this park there are several attractions (including the People's Palace and the WInter Gardens) and ancient relics of Glasgow's history. Check out Run #1 to find out more about running the Glasgow Green.
All in all, you cannot visit Glasgow without heading into at least two of the parks that BTG profiles, so why not strap on your running shoes, grab our maps, and check them out? By working out and sight seeing at the same time you will kill two birds with one stone? (BTG does not suggest killing birds with stones or oddly-shaped pebbles).
- Golf Balls! The contemporary game of golf stems from Scottish origins. In fact, the first historical record of the sport dates back to 1457, when King James II banned the sport among his people in hopes of increasing their interest - and aptitude - in archery. The sport survived, clearly, and remains hugely popular in the country today. Keep your eyes open for flying practice balls as you cruise the back paths of the park.
- A Glasgow Kiss. If someone asks you if they can give you a "Glasgow Kiss", don't be fooled. The rest of the UK knows that this is a headbutt.
- Glaswegian dialect. It is near impossible to understand a drunk Glaswegian speaking in English!
Did you know? "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" the song, by The Proclaimers, a legendary Scottish band, must have been about running, no?