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Bath crowned as the best UK city for social running

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A new study has revealed Bath as the top UK city for runners who like to hit the roads with company.

Word on the street is that Gen-Z is swapping night clubs for run clubs, making what was once considered a lonely sport a sociable affair. Guys and girls are now heading to parks on weekend mornings, sporting their running shoes and attire, and choosing to do 5K events rather than shots with friends. Strava has been docketed the new dating app and workout dates are on the rise.

A recent study commissioned by Running USA, titled ‘Gen Z and Young Millennial Attitudes Toward Running’, has found that ‘younger generations’ take a more social and less competitive approach to running versus older generations. ‘The primary fitness goal of the generation is not around health but friends, fun and purpose,’ the report reads. ‘They are not as competitive as those preceding them.’

With over 434,000 posts under #runclub on Instagram and over 28,500 posts under the same hashtag on TikTok, run clubs are having their moment, popping up in every corner of the country. To delve a little deeper, Runner’s Need explored the dynamics of the UK running scene to find out which cities are the best places to run and connect with others. The study looked at the number of running clubs, the number of races, the number of hashtags on Instagram, the number of forum posts and the number of routes to determine which cities’ runners prefer communal running experiences, and which ones cherish a solo run.

The new wave of running groups is helping to turn people’s daily workouts into chances to spend time with friends – and nowhere is this happening more zealously than in Bath. Runner’s Need found Bath to be the top city for runners who prefer a social run, with a staggering 810 running clubs now operating in the city. In fact, there are almost 10 times more running clubs than pubs in the Georgian city. Runners’ enthusiasm spills over onto Instagram, too, with 737 hashtags capturing and celebrating the vibrancy of Bath’s running community.

Headed by the Bath Half Marathon, which welcomed 10,000 participants this year, the city holds a range of races. From the usual Race for Life to a marathon that passes through converted railway tunnels beneath the city streets, there are plenty of unique running events in Bath that cater for all abilities. To train for these events, many people join local clubs like Run Bath, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year and has England Athletics-qualified run coaches onboard.

Interestingly, the UK’s top 10 social running cities were all in England. In second place was the seaside city of Brighton and Hove, where 445 run clubs make up a strong community of sociable runners. Third was Durham, where a mighty 691 running clubs enjoy routes around the historically charming city. While Durham run clubs might not dominate social media, the community running spirit is very much felt on the ground.

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