Asia Pacific

Almaty, Kazakhstan

Flickr: Michal-Huniewicz

Almaty, with a population of 2 million, is the capital of Kazakhstan and is the country’s major commercial, financial, and cultural centre. It’s located in the mountainous area of southern Kazakhstan near the border with Kyrgyzstan in the foothills of the Trans-Ili Alatau at an elevation of 700–900m. Running in Almaty can be a bit of a challenge, given the wide roads, congestion, and pollution. But there are also some large open spaces and parks, making for some decent running options.

A great way to start is with our Almaty ‘runseeing’ tour, which is nearly all off-road and features Republic Square, Park of 28 Panfilov Guardsmen, Astana Square, Zenkov Cathedral, & the main commercial streets. Just to the east of this route are some nice paths in Central Park and along the Kazachka River. In the Atakent area, we like running in the Botanical Garden, and the tree-shaded path through Gandhi Park. Near the Tastak historic district, runners like the 3.7 km loop around the Sairan Reservoir. One of the best places to run in Almaty is combining First President Park and the Big Almaty River Bank path in the Bostandyk District. Trail runners will scenic and challenging running on the hiking trails in the mountains south of the city.

Notes: Runners should be prepared for Almaty’s cold & snowy winters. For getting around, there’s a good bus & metro system. And for a post-run treat, head to the Arasan Wellness center — one of the largest bathhouses in Asia.

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Almaty has a humid continental climate with hot summers and cold winters. Summers are warm and sunny, with daily highs in the 30C range, and warm nights. Rain comes in downpours & thunderstorms. By contrast, winters are cold, with high temperatures near freezing and nights of -8C (18F). It’s quite a bit colder just outside the city. There can be a fair bit of snow, especially in the mountains just outside the city. Runners should be prepared for a winter climate.

Almaty has a large number of centrally located hotels. We recommend staying in the area west of Republic Square and between Al-Raiymbek Ave. & Al-Farabi Ave. north-south. That will provide good access to some of our favorite running routes.