Active City Spotlight: Running in Denver

If you're heading to Denver on vacation, pack your running shoes. There's no better way to see the amazing scenery of Colorado than by exploring the land on two feet.

Make sure, though, that you're ready for the altitude. The Mile-High City sits more than 5,000 feet above sea level (hence the catchy nickname), which ensures that the air will be thinner than in most places. That means that precious air you inhale during a workout has less of what you need—oxygen. This will affect your endurance, unless you're in the area long enough for your body to start getting acclimated.

It's something to keep in mind, but it shouldn't discourage you from seeing the beautiful sights of Denver and its surrounding area through running. Here is everything you need to know about running in Denver: routes to run, races to try and running stores to visit.

More: Even Fit Athletes Can Fall to Altitude Sickness

Places to Run

The High Line Canal is a 66-mile path that spans three counties. It's popular for long runs. The surface ranges from concrete to crushed gravel, and a lot of the trail is shaded by mature trees.

The trail often goes underneath roads via tunnels to keep your run uninterrupted.

Other places to go:

  • Washington Park has a 2.2-mile loop that circles the perimeter of the park, passing two lakes. It is just south of downtown.

Races to Remember

The Colfax Marathon takes place each year in May, and includes 5K, 10-mile, 13.1-mile and 26.2-mile races.

The marathon and 10-mile run feature a run-through at Invesco Field, the home of the NFL's Denver Broncos. The half marathon goes through the Denver Zoo.

In all, the event has seven races spread over two days.

Other races:

  • The Rock 'N' Roll series goes to Denver every October with both a full and half marathon, starting and finishing at Civic Center Park.
  • The Cherry Creek Sneak has a 10-mile, 5-mile, 5K and 1.5-mile run every year on the last Sunday in April.
  • Denver is a stop for a number of national race series, including the Hot Chocolate 15K, The Color Run and more.

Running Stores to Check Out

The Boulder Running Company is one of America's top running retail companies. Though it's based up the road in Boulder, it does have a store in the Denver metro area at 8116 W. Bowles Avenue in Littleton.

In 2006, the Independent Running Retailers of America named Boulder Running Company the best running store in the United States.

More stores to check out:

  • Runners Roost, 1685 S. Colorado Blvd. in Denver (and several other stores in the suburbs).
  • Denver Run House, 3832 Tennyson Street.

One Last Tip

Trail runners love Colorado, with all of the mountains and scenic beauty it offers. The famous Leadville Trail 100 race is about two hours away from Denver, but you don't have to go that far to get some great trails. The Denver area has thousands of miles of tough trails, from Golden Gate Canyon State Park in Golden to Green Mountain in Lakewood.

More: Racing and Training in Denver

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