An area guide to sweating it out in the city

By Reylynne Dela Paz | Lead photo by Niccollo Santos, Kimberly Dela Cruz/Inquirer.net (UP Diliman), Outside Slacker (Shotgun), and Javier Lobregat (Dasmarinas)

One of the reasons why I love running is that it doesn’t require a lot of preparation compared to swimming or biking. I don’t need to look for a pool or a bike-friendly location. All roads and many trails are runnable. It’s easier to find a safe place to run than to bike in a crowded city like Manila. If you’re looking for some of the best running places in the metro, I’ve rounded up some of my favorites to consider on your next run.

UP Diliman

Salcedo Village, Makati City to UP Diliman (via McKinley Road to Market Market through C5) covers 21 kilometers

Why I love running here:

  • You can measure the distance you’re covering if you just run around the academic oval, which is 2.2 kilometers
  • You’re in Manila but you still feel close to nature thanks to the tall trees providing respite from sunlight and the Sunken Garden. There is also less pollution especially early in the morning or late at night.
  • It’s a safe haven for runners since there are security guards roaming around.
  • People don’t stare at you like you’re a crazy person since running is common in the campus.
  • Being in the company of other runners keeps you more motivated to run.
  • There are hydration stations around where not only can you rehydrate but also enjoy a simple breakfast.
  • If you don’t have a car, there are also “baggage counters” where you can park your stuff with manang or manong selling water, sports drinks, softdrinks, buko juice, banana, pandesal with peanut butter, egg, or cheese, pancit canton, and lugaw.
  • You can also find your own favorite running route if you prefer running on your own.
  • There’s a hilly part called Heart Break Hill where you can do hill repeats
Shotgun in Timberland

Covers 37 kilometers from Marikina and back. There are many ways to attack the killer hills of Shotgun. You can start from a store just before the 3 kilometer ascent with an elevation that makes you feel closer to the sky or from Marikina for a longer run.

Why I love running here:

  • There are stores along the way for your nutrition and hydration needs. It’s a good training route if you’re preparing for an ultramarathon since you’ll run along main roads, some people, and lots of dogs.
  • There are almost no flat areas in the route. You either go up or down. That’s why it’s an ideal route to build endurance and strengthen legs.
  • It usually takes us less than six hours to complete a sub-40 kilometer route including short breaks to refuel. In summer, your heat training is already covered.
  • There are also trails around Marikina and San Mateo, Rizal.
  • Just be careful running with vehicles and some strangers. It’s best to go there in groups for safety reasons.
Dasmarinas Village

You’ll need to be a resident or secure a permit to run here but running inside the village is like finding a sanctuary and quiet place within the hustle and bustle of the city.

Why I love running here:

  • The village is well-maintained and there’s hardly any trash.
  • There are huge trees that protect you from getting sunburned.
  • If you want to use your running time to reflect, clear your mind, or escape from the world, Dasmarinas is the perfect place.
  • There are very few people in the area so you can focus on your training.
  • There are hills for hilly workouts.
  • The roads are made of knee-friendly asphalt.
  • Safety is not a concern because it’s a heavily guarded area.