Europe

Belfast, Northern Island

The Best Places to Run in Belfast

The largest city and capital of Northern Ireland, Belfast sits on the banks of the River Lagan on the east coast of Ireland. This is a historic city and industrial center whose recent history was marked by ‘The Troubles’, the conflict between the Catholics (republicans/nationalists) and Protestants (loyalists/unionists) that still define the city’s geography. Running in Belfast is defined by this history, the River Lagan, and the hills northwest of the city.

Belfast is a compact city and many of our favorite places to run are somewhat overlapping. We’ve designed a 10k ‘runseeing’ tour of Belfast’s major sights, and a separate tour along Falls and Shankill roads that defined the conflict. There’s good running along the River Lagan, and a combo run in Ormeau Park and the Botanic Gardens. Just outside Belfast, we love the grounds of Stormont — northern Ireland’s government and Parliament buildings. For some beautiful and hilly trail running near the city, head to Cave Hill Park or the Divis and Black Mountain trails.

Belfast is a compact city and easy to get around. Most of our routes are easily accessible from downtown or the city’s good bus system. And be prepared for Belfast’s weather — often cool, windy, and wet or overcast. Plus, short days in winter!

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Some of our favorite runs in Belfast, Northern Island

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Belfast’s weather is milder than expected given its latitude, owing the the gulf stream. Summers are mild and pleasant for running, with average highs in the 18-20C range (high 60s) and coolish nights. Winters are chilly but not cold, with average January high temperatures in the mid-40s (6C), with about 30 nights a year falling below freezing. Snow is infrequent. Always have a layer and be prepared for precipitation, which falls on nearly half the days (but only totals 33″ annually).

Belfast is a fairly compact city. For the best access to running, we recommend staying in the main downtown area, inside the A1 and south of Victoria Square, which will be in good proximity to the River Lagan paths, Ormeau Park, and Belfast’s important sites.

STORES

Belfast has a burgeoning running scene, with a good selection of centrally located stores to buy running gear.

There are two independent running-centric stores: Pure Running, and Athlos Triathlon, both centrally located.

Sports Direct, Gotto Allsports, and Cotswold Outdoor all have great running gear. In Antrim to the north of Belfast are Asics and Nike outlet stores.

GROUP RUNS

Belfast has a particularly active Parkrun community, with 7+ weekly events. See this map from Belfast Running for locations.

Belfast Running is a great resource for group events, races, clubs, and other resources for running in Belfast!