Your Run of the Year Stories and Photos 2021

Thank you for all your wonderful contributions to the 2021 ‘Run of the Year’! Below is a slideshow put together by our senior editor, Kelsey Perrett. Click on the arrows to advance forward or backward. On mobile, they can be viewed in portrait or landscape mode.

Meredith M.

A trail run up to Angel's Landing is truly unique and once in a lifetime! They've just instituted that permits will be needed beginning in April, 2022.

— Meredith M. in Zion National Park, UT
Rory G.

COVID restrictions made traveling around China hard and outside of China almost impossible. Shanghai’s constantly congested, hectic nature felt oppressively inescapable. Then I discovered very early morning running; where even the usually crowded Bund was quiet. The sun rose and the wide avenue was only populated by kite flyers, people practicing Tai-chi and fishermen. All focused on our own interest; in that silence we all found a place to be alone among 21 million others. —Rory G., Shainghai

— Rory G. in Shanghai, China
Troels W.

Due to Covid we had to reschedule our planned trail running in Colorado/Utah to 5 days in the Stavanger-area in Norway instead. The run up to Preikestolen in sunshine on an early Sept morning, with clouds hiding the fjord far below, was true magic.

— Troels W. in Preikestolen, Lysefjorden, Norway
Lapo B.

This place is a kind of Eden and I ran there at sunrise completely alone, accompanied by herons and mallards. In a word, that is what I call running poetry.

— Lapo B. in Sardina, Italy
Aurelie V. 2

The feeling of running on a cloud! I wanted to feel what extreme runners feel when they leave for a 100 miles run in the Bonneville Salt Flats. It was a long straight line, full of mirages, cadenced by the sound of the crushed salt. An unforgettable experience.

— Aurelie V. in Bonneville Salt Flats, UT
Louise G.

My first marathon event, through the countryside. It was the most amazing experience with the most amazing support. In the morning the sky looked awesome so I knew it was going to be a good day.

— Louise G. in Newport, Wales
Rogerio G.

In times of pandemic, in order not to be locked up at home without exercising, we used to wake up at 4 am to run on a deserted Copacabana Beach. It was a chance to keep pace and admire beautiful sunrises everyday! With all the care and God's support we are alive!

— Rogerio G. in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Hollie A.

I had researched this run on your site and it sounded perfect. It was beautiful. I was felt like I had a private sunrise viewing. My family was asleep and there was hardly any traffic. It was my own special paradise (even though it’s #1 beach on everyone’s list).

— Hollie A. in Lani Kai Beach, Kailua, Hawaii
Jared S.

Sunrise and cool ocean breezes for a glorious 16 miles in the morning.

— Jared S. in St. Augustine, FL
Neil S.

A lovely cross-country track with panoramic views on a warm summer evening with friends.

— Neil S. in Belmont Regional Park, north of Wellington, New Zealand
Joe R.

Sunrise, with friends, sounds of ocean waves hitting the rocks and receding. Ebb and flow.

— Joe R. in Newport, RI
Juliet D.

This year I completed my first Ironman 70.3 in Washington State! After canceled plans, it was awesome to get back into racing. The run was my favorite part (flat, tightly packed dirt), and I've already signed up for next year.

— Juliet D. in Maple Valley, WA
Nana F.

It was a 10 mile run through a national park right in the heart of Nairobi, Kenya about 2000 feet above sea level. The view was incredible - waterfalls, caves with bats in them, and the ability to see different wild life like porcupines, Harvey's Duiker, bush pigs, bush babies, etc.

— Nana F. in Nairobi, Kenya
Neil Z.

"Out there away from all the madness...."

— Neil Z. in The Pyrenees
Andrew C.

My home Half Marathon in October 2021. Torrential rain just before the start and for much of the race flooded several roads. Managed a PB of 1:24.

— Andrew C. in Leicester, England
Greg S.

The Dick Beardsley half marathon was my first ever half marathon, never thought that I would ever.

— Greg S. in Detroit Lakes, MN
Aurelie V. 4

The different color of the two different lakes, the wildlife, the incredible landscape around us.

— Aurelie V. in Alaska
Scott H.

COVID forced cancellation of our usual New Year's Eve and New Year's Day in-person races, so we ran through midnight, from 2021 into 2022.

— Scott H. in Walnut Creek, California
Rich H.

Cold morning run around the lake with the sun just coming up over the mountains

— Rich H. in Como, Italy
Pamela S.

It was my first day learning to 'navigate' using a compass, and I was accompanied by Champion mountain runner Moire O'Sullivan. She expertly led me though 6 peaks for the day, running from hill to hill. It was also the hottest day ever recorded in Northern Ireland and our water stops included a lot of 'running streams'. It was a fabulous day, a great introduction to Mountain running and one I wont forget. Easily accessible with parking at a local hostel - it was the perfect day out.

— Pamela S. in The Mourne Mountains, Northern Ireland
Aurelie V. 1

Amazing and unreal landscape at Petrified National Forest.

— Aurelie V. in Petrified National Forest, AZ
Mark L. 1

OK, so here are two highly anticipated runs I DIDN'T get to do! Near Savannah, I was psyched to run under the famous mile-long canopy of live oaks at Wormsloe, except that road is only open to cars, and not pedestrians. Boo, hiss! And in Eugene, Oregon, after a running pilgrimage to Pre's Trail, I'd hoped to do a couple of laps around the track at the newly refurbished Hayward Field, where the Olympic Trials had been held a couple of weeks earlier. But alas, it's closed to the public (notwithstanding the fact that the track is located on a university campus...)

— Mark L. in Savannah and Eugene
Mark L. 1B

Disappointment at the Hayward Field track.

— Mark L. in Eugene
Jennifer T.

It was clear, crisp, and cold on our vacation in Nevada. I watched the sun come up over the mountains and hit the plateau behind me and it took my breath away with its unique beauty!

— Jennifer T. in Mesquite, NV
Sally J.

The cliffs, river, and snow are so spectacular and you can see bald eagles, otter, bighorn sheep and deer.

— Sally J. in Yakima River Canyon, Washington
David H.

I was finally able to make it to run Pre's Trail, where Prefontaine trained while in Eugene. It's a beautiful, wood-chipped trail along the Willamette River.

— David H. in Eugene, OR
Mark L. 2

On a trip last April to the southeastern U.S., I had several gorgeous runs under the enchanting canopy of live oaks. This photo is on Cumberland Island, which can only be reached by ferry.

— Mark L. in Cumberland Island, GA
Christine G.

On 11/7/21, I ran my first half marathon on the D&L Trail from Slatington to Northampton, PA. My only goal was to finish and experience the race. I finished in 2:28! I stopped at every water station to talk and take selfies with the volunteers, I took pictures along the beautiful Lehigh Valley Trail with all the gorgeous fall foliage and I had time for self-reflection. I’m so happy to put my 13.1 magnet on my car and can’t wait to do my next half!

— Christine G. in Slatington, PA
Jeffrey T.

I beat my last time.

— Jeffrey T. in Scottsdale, AZ
Stephen S.

On a clear day, you can see forever. Soon, we'll be able to run Treasure Island from the bridge.

— Stephen S. in San Francisco, CA
Juliana A.

In a year of so many uncertainties, running alongside these imposing and deserted cliffs made me think and believe in better days.

— Juliana A. in Praia de Pipa, Brazil
Eric H.

Due to COVID restrictions, events were cancelled. I created my own challenge to run the virtual Brooklyn 1/2 marathon under 2 hours. The route was exceptionally beautiful for this area.

— Eric H. in Hoeksche Waard, Netherlands
Heinz V.

It was the first marathon in my life.

— Heinz V. in Vienna, Austria
Ian A.

The last time I took my late wife for a 5km.

— Ian A. in Johannesburg, South Africa
Jeff B.

A run on the beach with the 5 year old granddaughter, the sheer joy of her running and the excitement as she tries to beat ‘Papa’.

— Jeff B. in Aquidneck Island, Middletown, RI
Vincent E.

The morning calm, shared only with other runners and occasional walkers. The view of the lake on this 8 km path that follows the shoreline is never ending. There are many adjoining paths leading uphill to castles, lookouts, and magnificent hotels all with lakeside views.

— Vincent T. in Lake Bled, Slovenia
Prem L.

Me at the "Palace of Golden Horses," Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, before COVID-19 pandemic lockdown!

— Prem L. in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Chad C.

For 2021 my big running goal was to complete a 100 mile race. My first attempt in October was disappointing as I got all the way to mile 88 and my legs couldn’t go anymore. After spending a month recovering I signed up for one more 100 mile attempt in December 4 at the Unico 100. The course was a 5 mile loop in Jesse Helms Park which had to be completed 20 times. After 27 1/2 hours of running I was overjoyed to be able to cross that finish line.

— Chad C. in Wingate, NC
Sandy C.

This CHALLENGING trail half marathon was held on a coffee plantation. The race support folks were incredible and welcoming, the course held everything from banks of beehives with calmly buzzing bees, to coffee beans being harvested, to the shoe-sucking mud around the irrigation system, to congenial aid station folks and incredible ocean views at the top! Quite a stretch for me but I survived!

— Sandy K. in Pahala, HI
Sarah W.

I ran this race with my beautiful daughter, her first 5k at age 11! I was so proud of her

— Sarah W. in Cohasset, MA
Fabio Z.

My first half marathon — the Hackney Half, great vibes and a time well below what I was expecting…

— Fabio Z. in London, UK
Julie T.

My return to live event racing post lockdown, the scenery was beautiful and I ran with two of my favorite running buddies. The photo captures our feelings of being free to run again!

— Julie T. in the Smoky Mountains, TN
Aurelie V. 3

The beauty of the landscape from the beginning to the end of the run.

— Aurelie V. in Palo Duro Canyon, TX
Landen B.

Lots of bald eagle sightings!

— Landen B. in Lake Sammamish, WA
Mark L. 3

Two memorable runs from a trip to Oregon in July: A gorgeous sunset run among the Painted Hills at the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument near Mitchell.

— Mark L. in Painted Hills, OR
Mark L. 3B

Gorgeous run at Smith Rock, near Bend. Flat, easy trail run in the river valley while watching the rock climbers.

— Mark L. at Smith Rock, near Bend
Sharon D.

It was at Bass Lake in Yosemite. You get up and it's so dark and then the light comes on when you're on as you run. It was so beautiful and so quiet.

— Sharon D. in Yosemite National Park, CA
Laura D.

The scenic views of the ocean, watching the beautiful sunrise.

— Laura D. in Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Danjiela M.

Running by the Adriatic Sea through the pine forest Punta Corrente with spectacular views of the Sea and Islands in the Adriatic.

— Danijela M. in Rovinj, Croatia
Jelena M.

Running at 5am in the morning through the cozy empty streets of a small Italian town in Tuscany and running up a forest hill along a zigzag curved path to the tip of the high hill, where a picturesque view of the sunrise opened up in front of me!

— Jelena M. in Tuscany, Italy
Joe F.

Golf course Hilton — stunning place to run.

— Joe F. in Montego Bay
Raoul S.

Running with a local running guide through the center of Copenhagen. Going all alone along the Danish Royal residences with the guards outside.

— Raoul S. in Copenhagen, Denmark
previous arrowprevious arrow
next arrownext arrow