Where to run in circles, all across the UK
Why run on a track? Maybe you’re surrounded by dense traffic and busy sidewalks. Maybe you’d like a perfectly flat, perfectly manicured course for fitness testing or interval training. Or maybe you’d just like to run in the footsteps of great competitors. Wherever you live or visit, there’s likely a world-class running track within reach.
1. Lee Valley Athletics Centre, London
61 Meridian Way, Edmonton, N9 0AR
Located in Stratford, with an Olympics legacy, the Lee Valley centre offers a 200m indoor track and a 400m outdoor track. It’s a top choice for year-round training in some of the best facilities in the country. If you’re considering joining a club, the Enfield and Haringey Athletics Club hosts training sessions there on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7 to 9.30pm.
2. Paddington Recreation Ground, London
Randolph Avenue, Maida Vale W9 1PD
Another home of London’s 2012's Olympic games, the outdoor Paddington ground is cloistered in the woods of Maida Vale Park. It offers a small dose of peace and quiet year round. There are facilities for all the major track and field events. If you’re feeling social (or competitive), join the Serpentine Running Club here on Tuesdays between 5 and 7pm.
3. Linford Christie Athletics Track, London
White City, W12 0HU
In West London (get off the tube at East Acton) this is an 8-lane outdoor track in a park. The Thames Valley Harriers train here on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 6 and 8.30pm, and on Sundays, too, offering something to avoid or aspire to, depending on your ambitions.
4. Crystal Palace Sports Centre, London
Ledrington Rd, SE19 2BB
Another beneficiary of 2012 Olympic lore and funding, the outdoor Crystal Palace centre merits a visit at least.
In addition to eight running lanes, it offers facilities for hammer throwing, long jump and discus. A short walk from the Crystal Palace Overground station, the ground is open throughout the week. The Blackheath & Bromley Harriers Athletics Club trains at the centre every Tuesday evening.
5. Manchester Regional Arena, Manchester
Rowsley St, M11 3FF
Situated on the renowned SportCity campus, this indoor arena hosted the 2002 Commonwealth Games. It offers an 8 lane 400m track, an outdoor 4 lane 200m track, and an 8 lane 60m sprint track.
In addition to facilities for long-jump and javelin, there’s seating for 6,500 spectators—so start inviting your fans early.
6. John Charles Centre for Sport, Leeds
This Yorkshire outdoor running facility offers an 8 lane track, a 50 meter, 6 lane indoor sprinting and hurdling track, a gym for strength training, a pool, and tennis courts. The Leeds City athletics club meets Tuesdays from 6.30 to 9.pm.
7. National Indoor Athletics Centre (NIAC), Cardiff
Cyncoed Campus, Cyncoed Road, CF23 6XD
One off the first purpose-built indoor athletics tracks in the UK, NIAC has been updated to a state-of-the-art facility. They offer a 200m banked track, a 9-lane 60m sprint track, 6 140m lanes, and facilities for long and triple jumps, high jumps, and pole vaulting.
Afterwards, recover with help from the onsite physiotherapy treatment specialists.
8. Nethercraigs Running Track, Glasgow
355 Corkerhill Rd, G52 1TQ
This 400m outdoor track is open seven days a week, from 2pm on Tuesdays and Friday, and 9am every other day. Access is pay-as-you-go, so there’s no upfront commitment, other than the one you made to face the Scottish winter (or summer) on an outdoor track. The club also offers a fitness studio, 5, 7 and 11 a-side synthetic football pitches as well as grass rugby and football facilities.
9. Saughton Sports Complex, Edinburgh
Stevenson Dr, EH11 3HB
With a 400 metre, 6 lane track surrounded by green fields and trees, Saughton offers a perfect escape from the urban bustle along with opportunities for rigorous training.
The track is open from 9am to 10pm during the week, allowing plenty of time or after-work sessions. Weekend hours are 8.30am to 6pm.
10. Mary Peters Track, Belfast
Upper Malone Road, Belfast BT9 5PR
Belast’s 8-lane outdoor track is open to everyone, but due its popularity you should consider booking the track in advance by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re looking for a club to train with, there are currently nine clubs that train regularly at Mary Peters.