Get Inspired with These Special “Olympic Sites” Routes!
In honor of the XXXII Summer Olympic Games, Great Runs has developed 40+ special ‘Olympics’ routes in cities that have hosted the Games. Here's a sample.
With the upcoming Tokyo Games, it’s hard to avoid talk of all things Olympics this summer in running circles! In honor of the XXXII Summer Olympic Games, the team at Great Runs has developed 40+ special ‘Olympics’ routes in cities that have hosted the Games.
In many of these cities, the major Olympics venues have been preserved as signature athletic facilities and parks. Nearly every Olympic Stadium built or repurposed since the first Games of the ‘modern era’ in Athens in 1896 is still intact and being used in some capacity.
The theme for these ‘Olympics’ routes is that they incorporate the Olympics venues in some way. Some routes are entirely Olympic-themed, while others incorporate Olympics sites or a running track as part of a run featuring other scenic spots or important sites. The routes below are a summary of some of our favorite Olympics routes, organized by city in alphabetical order, with the year(s) hosted. Click on the link to see more detail about the route and a route map. To see all of Great Runs’ Olympic-themed routes, click on this Category. And in honor of the upcoming Tokyo games, we’ve created an overview map that overlays our Tokyo routes with Olympic venues.
Olympic Routes Around the World
Amsterdam (1928). An enjoyable 10k run in the southern part of Amsterdam, starting at the still-used Olympic Stadium, then two lovely parks, and some canal-side paths.
Antwerp (1920). One of our favorite runs in Antwerp combines Nachtegalenpark and Middelheimpark, with an easy add-on passing Olympic Stadium – Beerschot.
Athens (1896, 2004). Two exciting routes: A must-do is Panathenaic Stadium, which dates back to the 4th century BC and was the site of the first ‘modern’ Olympic Games in 1896. You can run on the dirt track inside the stadium, or up and down the marble stairs. Then do a separate route showcasing the 2004 games in Athens, with paths passing the Olympic stadium, Velodrome, Aquatic Center, and other facilities.
Atlanta (1996). Centennial Olympic Park is included in our Downtown Atlanta ‘run seeing’ tour.
Beijing (2008). Olympic Green is the Olympic Park built for the 2008 Summer Olympics, which will be used again for the 2022 Winter Olympics. The southern part of the park features the main Olympics sites, and trails around several lakes and ponds, while the Olympic Forest Park is a large, man-made nature park situated at the northern end.
Barcelona (1992). Several route options incorporating the Olympic Stadium on Montjuïc, the broad, shallow hill overlooking the harbor. There are numerous gardens, walking paths, museums, and a castle at the summit.
Berlin (1936). Berlin Olympic Park is a large, well-preserved site from the1936 Summer Games. It’s a good spot to enjoy a scenic and historic run around the stadium and the Olympiapark grounds, containing numerous fields and other recreational facilities.
Helsinki (1956). The Töölönlahti Bay route is one of our favorites in Helsinki, and passes the Helsinki Olympic Stadium, where you can hail the statue of Paavo Nurmi — one of the greatest runners ever, and winner of nine Olympic gold medals.
Lausanne. The official ‘Olympics City’. Our scenic tour of Lausanne’s Port d’Ouchy, waterfront path, and Le Denatou mansion, also features Olympic Park, where you can do a pleasant running tour of the grounds, with its museum and athletic track.
London (2012). This great run in East London incorporates pathways along the several canals, a jaunt by the area built for the 2012 Summer Olympics, and the paths of gorgeous Victoria Park.
Los Angeles (1932, 1984). Explore the park-like grounds around The Coliseum, which served as Olympic Stadium for the Summer Games in 1932 and 1984, and will be used again when L.A. hosts the Olympics in 2028. Combine the run with a tour of the gorgeous campus of USC.
Melbourne (1952). A lovely 10k tour of several central Melbourne Parks, Parliament, and Olympic Park, which contains buildings from the 1956 Olympic Games and is now the site of the Australian Open and numerous recreation facilities.
Mexico City (1968). Combine a tour of Estadio Olímpico Universitario, a running track, Olympic Pool, and paths around the gorgeous Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM) — one of the largest university campuses in the world and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can also head to Canal Cuemanco, in the eastern part of the city, and run the paved 5K path around the venue for rowing competitions in the 1968 Games.
Montreal (1976). Get inspired by a running tour of Olympic Park, where you can see several facilities from the Olympics such as Olympic Stadium (an ode to Brutalist architecture), Velodrome (now a biodome), and other sites. Combine with adjacent Maisonneuve Park, and nearby neighborhoods with classic Montreal architecture.
Munich (1972). Olympiapark was created for the 1972 summer Olympic Games, and is now an impeccably maintained park with a 5.2 km perimeter path around Olympiaturm, Olympia Eishalle, and the iconic BMW museum.
Paris (1924, 2024). Not a great run, but if you want to get a sense of history, run the field and track at Stade Olympique Yves du Manoir in Colombe, site of the 1924 Games. The adjacent riverside Pierre Lagravère Park has some nice paths along the Seine. For the 2024 Games, the State de France, a major venue for soccer, rugby, and concerts, will serve as the Olympic Stadium. It’s in Saint-Denis, but there’s not much in the way of great running options around there.
Rio de Janeiro (2016). Several routes showcasing Rio’s Olympics sites, where venues and events were clustered around four areas.
Rome (1960). The stadium built in 1937 was restructured for the Olympics in 1960, and anchors the Foro Italico sports complex, which has some nice paths. Then cross the Tiber using the 2nd-century Ponte Milvio to explore Villaggio Olimpico. For a longer run, the iconic Villa Ada and Villa Borghese are nearby and lovely for running.
Seoul (1988). Situated in the southwest part of Seoul, Olympic Park still boasts six Olympic venues and 197 original sculptures set among the grounds. It’s a center for walking and running, with several marked paths of varying length.
Stockholm (1912). This central Stockholm run features several parks, running paths, and worthwhile sites. Start at Olympic Stadium, a still functioning facility dating back to when Stockholm hosted the games in 1912, and enjoy a loop of the running track, grounds, adjacent recreational facilities, and the 3k Lill-Jansskogen off-road race track.
Sydney (2000). Olympic Park is now a large sporting, cultural and leisure complex in the Inner West area of Sydney. This 1500-acre park boasts 35 km of multi-use paths that are popular for cycling and running.
Tokyo (1964, 2021). To commemorate the site of the 1964 Games, Komazawa Olympic Park has numerous facilities, including a running track and a dedicated ‘jogging/cycling course.’
For the 2020 Games, being held in 2021, many of the sites are in the Chuo City & Koto City areas in southern Tokyo. See this super-cool map which overlays Great Runs routes and Olympic venues!
About the Author
Mark Lowenstein is Chief Running Officer of Great Runs, the ultimate guide to the best places to run in destinations worldwide. He can be reached at email@example.com.