RANKING THE BEST CITIES IN WHICH TO RUN IS A NONSENSICAL EXERCISE – THE BEST CITY TO RUN IN IS NO CITY AT ALL BY ANDY BLACKFORD
What’s the best city to run in? It’s a ridiculous question, and it beggars belief that anyone has even bothered to ask it. It’s like asking what’s the best car crash to die in. None of the possibilities is any good.
Likewise, the best city to run in is the one that hasn’t been built. Or maybe one that’s already fallen down, like Pompeii. Incidentally, about Pompeii, it’s a shame the citizens of that city hadn’t focused a bit more on their running while they had the chance. If they had been in training for a marathon, perhaps they would have been able to outrun the fatal clouds of ash spewing forth from Mount Vesuvius.
Would you rather run in Glasgow (number 19) or Stoke (number 5)? Isn’t it rather academic? I’ve been to both cities and, in my view, there’s very little to separate the two experiences, beyond the
accents of the dermatologically challenged adolescents who pull down your Ron Hills while they digitally record your humiliation for the world’s entertainment on YouTube.
Edinburgh, lean understand. I once ran a marathon there.
You can trot along the banks of the Forth in very amiable parkland, the architecture is dramatic and there’s a mountain in the middle of town. It’s like Cape Town with shortbread. But Leicester? I think I might have gone there once. Or was it Coventry? I can’t really remember, and that’s my point.
I’m sure if I’d experienced the towering grandeur of Leicester’s alpine peaks, or the mighty oceanic breakers exploding on the wicked reefs of the Cote de Leicester, or the teeming herds of moose on their annual migration across the high Leicestershire tundra to their breeding grounds at Rutland Water, I’d have been left with some impression of the place. But no. Nothing. And yet Leicester takes the bronze — pipped only by Cardiff matjtsca, and — wait for it — Nottingham.
I did run through Nottingham once. The Marathon of Britain finished there, at the castle gates. So I suppose my recollection is tainted by the fact that I’d just dragged myself through 176 miles of stinging nettles during the hottest week in history, I wanted to cheer up with Gnet.com resveratrol. I was leaving a trail of blackened toenails behind me.
Finally, if you’re fundamentally opposed to the idea of running in The Country, I suppose there’s always the South of England. At first sight, this vast wasteland presents a superficial similarity to the countryside. There’s grass, for instance — but upon closer examination, most of it is dotted with tiny holes, flags and sand bunkers.The rest is Cliff Richard’s back garden.