United States

Columbus, Ohio

Capital of the U.S. state of Ohio, Columbus is the 15th largest city in the United States. The city has a diverse economy and gets good ratings for its livability and business climate.  It is also home to The Ohio State University, which is one of the largest in the country. The geography of Columbus is defined by the confluence of the Scioto and Olentangy rivers just north-west of downtown, and several smaller tributaries that run through the Columbus metropolitan area including Alum Creek, Big Walnut creek, and Darby Creek. This is a guide to the best places to run in Columbus, Ohio.

There’s a good running scene in Columbus. The highlights are the paths along the Scioto River, the 13-mile Olentangy Trail, and several parks.

Public transport in Columbus mainly consists of a bus system, run by COTA, the Central Ohio Transport Authority. Also, CBUS is a FREE downtown Columbus circulator running every 10-15 minutes from the Short North Arts District to the Brewery District.

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Some of our favorite runs in Columbus, Ohio

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The Scioto Mile

Columbus, Ohio

Stretching along the downtown Columbus Riverfront from the Arena District to the Whittier Peninsula, the Scioto Mile is the city’s premier downtown destination.

Olentangy Trail

Columbus, Ohio

One of the most popular bike paths in all of Ohio, the Olentangy Trail is located just west of North Bank in downtown Columbus. The trail spans a grand total of 13 miles north, and runs by Ohio State’s campus.

Alum Creek Trail

Columbus, Ohio

A 22-mile trail along one of the city's most scenic river corridors, from Three Creeks Park to Westerville. Most of it is paved, but some sections are unpaved and a little more challenging/technical. Many parks and trail heads along the way.

German Village

Columbus, Ohio

Historic area just south of downtown, with Italianate architecture, brick sidewalks, and alleys. Lovely Schiller Park is at the center. Nice place for a run, do it leisurely and randomly, rather than proscribed route. Combine with downtown run!

The Ohio State University Campus

Columbus, Ohio

Third largest university campus in the country. Miles of wonderful paths for running, with classic red brick buildings. Central and Southern Oval are large grassy areas. Olentangy River Trail runs through the campus. Leafy, pleasant, adjacent streets.

Big Darby Creek Metro Park

Columbus, Ohio

Stretching almost 13 miles, Big Darby Creek Metro Park runs along the Olentangy River and features more than 7,000 acres of forest, prairies, and wetlands. Lots of variety, and especially good for trail running. 18 miles southwest of Columbus.

Highbanks Metro Park

Columbus, Ohio

1150 acre park, 17 miles north of downtown, offering great options for trail running with lots of variety. Most trails are in the northern section of the park. There are some gentler, paved options too.

Antrim Park

Columbus, Ohio

Located 10 miles north of downtown, Antrim Park offers a beautiful 1.2 mile, gravel path around a tranquil lake. A nice option as part of the Olentangy Trail.

Olentangy Trail

Columbus, Ohio

One of the most popular bike paths in all of Ohio, the Olentangy Trail is located just west of North Bank in downtown Columbus. The trail spans a grand total of 13 miles north, and runs by Ohio State’s campus.

Columbus is a city with cold winters and hot summers. In January, average highs are just above freezing, with night-time low

s dipping to 20F (-6C). There can be a fair bit of snow. You’ll need warm clothing for running in winter.  Summers are ho

t, with average July high temperatures of 85F (29C) and warm nights. There is more precipitation in winter than summer.

Considering Columbus is a popular place for business travelers and vacationers, the city offers a wide variety of hotels. There’s a wide selection of hotels in the central downtown area, east of the Scioto River, and inside I-71 and I-670 that circle the city. Any one of these downtown hotels are within a mile of the river and other good running areas.

The Courtyard by Marriott, The Westin Columbus, and The Renaissance Columbus, are said to be some of the best options. Here are a couple more specific recommendations:


The Courtyard by Marriott

The Westin Columbus

The Renaissance Columbus

Le Meridien Columbus

Red Roof Plus

Northeastern Columbus/ Near Airport:

Columbus Airport Marriott

Four Points Sheraton Columbus Ohio Airport

Hilton Garden Inn Columbus Airport

University District:

Holiday Inn Express & Suites


Front Runner – Fun runs Thursday nights at 6:30 pm. Leaves from store location.

Columbus Running Company – Group runs Saturdays at 8:00 a.m. and Wednesdays 6pm.  Leaves from store location. Additional info on group runs: https://columbusrunning.com/pages/group-runs

Fleet Feet Sports Columbus – Frequent running clinics available. Click here for dates and details.

Speedy Sneakers – Various races throughout the year. Click here for dates and details.

Road Runner Sports Locations in Hilliard and Worthington. 

New Balance Columbus

Area Running Calendar #1 Courtesy of Speedy Sneakers. 

Area Running Calendar #2. Courtesy of Columbus Running Company.

Lady Tutu 5k and Little Princess Dash – April. Register here.

Run to Erase Epilepsy – April. Register here.

Arnold 5k Pump and Run – March.

Pi Day 5k – March.

Nationwide Children’s Hospital Half and Full Marathon. October.  Goes through Germantown and Schiller Park.