Despite its reputation for being congested and chaotic, Mumbai offers its runners quite a few options in open spots and interesting roads. Running has become popular in the city off late; running events are frequently organized and the active pace of the sport suits the naturally busy tempo of Mumbai quite well. Despite the sultry summers and heavy rains, more and more people have taken to lacing up and taking on the city for a run. The next time you’re planning to take your treadmill routine outdoors, look up these recommended areas for a good run.
Nariman Point – Marine Drive: One of the city’s favorite spots in general, this stretch is particularly popular among Mumbai’s runners who use it as training ground for the city marathon and other running events. With the Arabian Sea for company, this 4-km route from the NCPA to Wilson College comes with a wide pavement and often several other motivated runners for company.
Aarey Milk Colony: If you want a taste of trail running in the heart of Mumbai, the Aarey Colony within Sanjay Gandhi National Park is tailor-made for you. The route is a challenging one, punctuated with narrow trails and steep climbs that are more than useful for building up endurance and skill. Besides, the entire stretch is extremely scenic and peaceful and despite sudden occurrences of potholed roads, running here is sure to make for a great start to the day.
Five Gardens, Dadar: Located near the Dadar Parsi Colony, the Five Gardens area is a heritage precinct that essentially comprises five different parks criss-crossed by stretches of road. Anyone who knows Dadar will vouch for just how precious such greenery is in the area; it gives you a hint of the trails within city limits. Recently revamped, the location now offers proper footpaths around the gardens as well as drinking water facilities.
Powai: With roads that are maintained slightly better than the rest of the city, the famous Hiranandani complex in Powai provides a good option for pavement pounding and even throws in some natural sights. The Vihar Lake promenade is well-kept, and there are adjoining green parks that offer jogging tracks as well. Even within the sprawling complex, wide footpaths and looping, interconnected roads are quite conducive to running.
Versova Beach: While we do not recommend barefoot running here, or on any beach in Mumbai, to have the sea surging alongside is always a great motivation for a run. Relatively flat, the coastline at Versova all the way to the jetty, offers runners a chance to build up their stamina through continuous runs on a largely smooth stretch with a few rocky outcrops. Open yoga sessions and laughter clubs are also hosted regularly at the beach, and are a perfect way to end your run.
Worli Sea Face: With magnificent views of the sea and the sea link, the Worli Sea Face promenade is a great place to train. While not as dedicated as Marine Drive, this stretch is nevertheless armed with a good uninterrupted pavement that lets you train in relative peace and quiet. You might have to dodge morning walkers and excited tourists at times, and unless you want to run alongside a symphony of blasting horns, avoid the stretch during rush hour traffic.
Mahalaxmi Race Course: Strategically located within the city, the historical race course offers a smooth 2.2km mud track that your knees will thank you for. There’s also plenty of room for warm ups and stretches on the greens that surround the track. Open twice a day from 5am to 9am and again from 4pm to 8pm, the venue is free for the public.
Main Image: Anshul