The Best Running Routes in Ireland (Study)

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The Best Running Routes in Ireland (Study)

Running is a great form of exercise. You don’t need a lot of specialised equipment to get started, and running can take you all over. Whether you run alone or as part of a group, it’s a great way to get fit and get yourself into a better headspace.

With the New Year approaching, many of us are thinking about taking up a new sport, but how do you decide where to run? Here at Physiosupplies, we have found the best running routes in Ireland for you.

The full running study contains data for all of Northern Ireland and Ireland, with more than 20,000 data pieces across 32 counties. Here, we dive into the longest, most popular, and most picturesque routes in Northern Ireland and Ireland to help you decide where you should start your running journey.


  • For the most popular running routes - Using the Strava Segment Explorer, we used the map to find the most popular running segments. We then recorded this data in a table to show the most popular running route name, the location, the distance, the elevation difference, and the number of attempts.
  • For the longest running routes - Using the Strava Segment Search, we searched for running segments for each of the 26 counties in Ireland and 6 counties in Northern Ireland. We then collated the data together to find the name of the segment, the location, the distance, and the elevation difference.
  • For the most picturesque running routes - Using the data collected from Strava, we examined both the most popular and the longest-running routes, choosing our favourite three routes from Northern Ireland and Ireland that we believe are some of the most picturesque.

The top 5 counties for runners

Once we had collected the data, we were able to clearly see which counties has the most running routes and were most popular with runners. Dublin runners have been the most active, with 3,451 routes covered on Strava. Looking for where to run in Galway? There are more than 1,000 routes to choose from.


Total Number of Routes

Total Distance of Routes (m)

















The complete data set consists of 21,288 routes, covering 22,019.7 miles in total across the 32 counties that make up Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland running routes

The most popular Northern Irish runs



Distance (mi)

Elevation Difference (ft)



Lap of Mary Peters





400m Lap





Forum Track





Peace Bridge





Round the Mall





1. Lap of Mary Peters, Antrim, 144,654 attempts

Not only is the Lap of Mary Peters the most popular in North Ireland, but it also sits at the top of all of the Irish counties with 144,654 attempts. The lap takes you around the Mary Peters Athletic Track, with the fastest lap time coming in at 53 seconds.

2. 400m Lap, Tyrone, 80,203 attempts

The 400m Lap of Gortgonis Playing Fields is another popular route for runnings. While it is only 0.27 miles in length, there have been over 80,000 attempts, and the number of tries continues to grow.

3. Forum Track, Fermanagh, 35,261 attempts

Laps make for the most popular types of running routes on Strava, as they give runners the chance to focus on beating their own times. It isn’t surprising that the Forum Track in Enniskillen has had 35,519 laps recorded on Strava.

4. Peace Bridge, Derry/Londonderry, 32,564 attempts

When you think of landmarks in Derry/Londonderry, the chances are you’ll think of the Peace Bridge, and many runners have been testing themself by running across the bridge. Over 30,000 attempts have been made, and this is not only the shortest route on the top five list, but it is also the only one that isn’t a lap.

5. Round the Mall, Armagh, 29,177 attempts

The top five most popular running routes for Northern Ireland finishes off with another lap. Round the Mall takes you, unsurprisingly, around The Mall in Armagh. Just under 30,000 attempts have been made on this route, and at over half a mile long, it is proving to be a fun challenge for runners, with a current best time of 2:42.

Northern Ireland’s longest running routes

Name & Link


Distance (mi)

Elevation Difference (ft)

walled marathon

Londonderry, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom



WHM 2014

Londonderry, United Kingdom



Antrim Coast HM

Larne, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom



waterside 1/2 marathon new route

Londonderry, United Kingdom



Omagh Half Marathon 2016

Omagh, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom




1. walled marathon, Derry/Londonderry, 26.2 miles

Derry/Londonderry claims the longest running route in Northern Ireland on Strava with the walled marathon. The marathon route takes you all around Derry/Londonderry and is perhaps the most challenging route on this top five list. At its lowest elevation, the route is -4ft, while at the highest it is 207ft. This is a big difference when running and might be why this route is proving popular amongst local runners.

2. WM 2014, Derry/Londonderry, 13.2 miles

The other four in our Northern Irish longest running routes list are all half marathons, and this one gives you the chance to explore Derry/Londonderry without taking on such a hilly route. The WM 2014 covers 13.2 miles and takes you from Derry/Londonderry out to Eglinton and back again.

3. Antrim Coast HM, Larne, Antrim, 13.1 miles

Larne is known for many beautiful sights, which might be why the Antrim Coast HM is such a popular choice. This 13.17 miles route takes you along the coast, giving stunning views of the sea, and for those runners looking to run their first half marathon, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better route.

4. waterside 1/2 marathon new route, Derry/Londonderry, 13.1 miles

The third Derry/Londonderry route to appear in this top five is the waterside 1/2 marathon new route. Measuring in at 13.14 miles long, this route takes you over Peace Bridge, around Lough Foyle, and back towards the start again.

5. Omagh Half Marathon 2016, Omagh, Tyrone, 13.1 miles

The Omagh Half Marathon 2016 is 13.14 miles long, starting you off near the Omagh Leisure Complex and taking you on a picturesque tour of Omagh before returning to the start. It is one of the more popular routes on this list, with over 1,000 attempts.

The most picturesque runs in Northern Ireland

Causeway Coast Half Marathon, Ballintoy, County Antrim

The Causeway Coast Half Marathon is a 12.97-mile route, which starts in Ballintoy and takes you to Portballintrae. The views you will get of the Causeway Coast are incredible and might be just what you need to keep going on a difficult run.

The hexagonal rocks formed by an ancient volcanic fissure at the Giant's Causeway on the North coast in County Antrim (Sep., 2021)

Image source: Unsplash

Donard Summit to saddle, Newcastle, County Down

The Mourne Mountains are the highest mountains in Northern Ireland, and it isn’t surprising that many runners wish to challenge themselves by running the summits. There are many routes taking you up and down the mountains, but the real challenge is in climbing Slieve Donard, which is 850 metres high. The Donard Summit to saddle takes you from the peak and down again, offering stunning views as you go.

The foothills of the Mourne Mountains in County Down at sunset.

Image source: Unsplash

Waterfront Pathway to Peace Bridge, Derry/Londonderry

Lough Foyle offers gorgeous scenery right in the heart of Derry/Londonderry, and this route will take you along the waterfront and towards Peace Bridge. We already know that Peace Bridge is a popular running route, but the Waterfront Pathway to Peace Bridge means you can enjoy amazing sights as you run.

The sun sits low over the Cityside and the River Foyle.

Image source: Unsplash

Running routes in Ireland

The most popular runs in Ireland



Distance (mi)

Elevation Difference (ft)



Carrick aces track 1 lap





Westside Track 400m





Ballina Track Lap





Maguires Field Long straight





Lap of Arklow Track





1. Carrick aces track 1 lap, Monaghan, 106,530 attempts

Monaghan is home to the most popular running route in Ireland, as over 100,000 attempts have been made at the Carrick aces track 1 lap. The 0.26-mile lap has the best time of 55 seconds, and the fact that there is little elevation difference makes it a solid choice for beginners.

2. Westside Track 400m, Galway, 85,273 attempts

The Westside Track 400m in Galway takes you around Westside Playing Fields. More than 85,000 people have attempted this course, and the dedicated track for runners is potentially why it has proven so popular.

3. Ballina Track Lap, Mayo, 70,351 attempts

Another lap with a dedicated track for runners is the Ballina Track Lap. Over 70,000 runners have attempted this track, and the short 0.27-mile distance makes it perfect for those looking to improve their form.

4. Maguires Field Long straight, Limerick, 41,486 attempts

There are over 850 running routes in Limerick, but one of the most popular is the Maguires Field Long straight. It has been run more than 40,000 times and takes runners alongside Maguires Pitches. The straight run has the best time of 43 seconds and is clearly an excellent choice for runners looking to improve their sprint finish.

5. Lap of Arklow Track, Wicklow, 40,460 attempts

Unsurprisingly, running tracks make for some of the most popular running routes in Ireland. The Lap of Arklow Track, measuring 0.27 miles, has been tried over 40,000 times, with a current best time of 1:05.

The longest running routes in Ireland

Name & Link


Distance (mi)

Elevation Difference (ft)


Wicklow Eco Trail 80k

Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland




Sli Gaeltacht Mhuscrai Ultra

County Cork, Ireland




Connemara Ultra

County Galway, Ireland




Ballyhoura Ultra

Kilfinane, County Limerick, Ireland




WTF 43km Race Loop

Waterville, County Kerry, Ireland





1. Wicklow Eco Trail 80k, Wicklow, 48.3 miles

The longest running route in Ireland is a huge 48.33-mile-long trail. The 80k route starts in Bray in Wicklow, taking you down by the Wicklow Mountains National Park to Vartry Reservoir and back again. The route has a huge elevation difference of 2,058 ft, thanks to the route going through Luggala, White Hill and Great Sugarloaf, to name a few. If you are looking for a challenge, you have definitely found it.

2. Sli Gaeltacht Mhuscrai Ultra, Cork, 44.4 miles

If you are looking for Cork running routes, you’ll discover that many of them are hilly, and the perfect challenge for more experience runners. The Sli Gaeltacht Mhuscrai Ultra measures 44.44 miles, and you’ll start by Carriganass Castle before running up by the River Lee, through Béal Átna an Ghaorthaidh, and round by Claragh Mountain before finishing in Millstreet.

3. Connemara Ultra, Galway, 39.4 miles

The Connemara Ultra is 39.49 miles in length, and with an elevation difference of just 342 ft, it’s the kindest of the long-running routes in Ireland’s top five. Starting near Loughanillaun, you’ll be running a loop through Connemara National Park before ending in Maam Cross.

4. Ballyhoura Ultra, Kilfinane, Limerick, 37.5 miles

The Ballyhoura Ultra in Limerick is a winding 37.56 mile-long trail, with many ups and downs to contend with. The route starts and ends in Kilfinane, taking you down along the border with Cork.

5. WTF 43km Race Loop, Waterville, Kerry, 27.1 miles

Eager to run around Lough Currane? The WTF 43km Race Loop will take you from Waterville and around Lough Currane via An Bheann Mhór. Like many of the other ultra routes on this list, it is hilly, with an elevation difference of 1,333 ft, so be prepared.

The most picturesque runs in Ireland

Connemara Loop Climb, County Galway

Out of the top 10 longest running routes in County Galway, Connemara features in 5 of them. No matter where you run in Connemara, you’ll be rewarded with incredible views, but perhaps our favourite is the Connemara Loop Climb. The climb is only 0.63-miles long but the steep elevation climb of 599 feet means you’ll have earned the view at the top.

View of Connemara National Park, Letterfrack, County Galway

Image source: Unsplash

ship street steps D1, County Dublin

For those living in Dublin, particularly D1, there are some great inner-city routes that take you by stunning landmarks. The ship street steps D1 is just 0.17-miles long and will take you by Dublin Castle. It is a stunning sight no matter what time of year you run by it.

A view of the castle at 14-Ireland, 68 Stephen Street Upper Dublin, surrounded by red flowers

Image source: Unsplash

Coastal Cliffs, County Clare

The Cliffs of Moher are recognised as some of the most beautiful in Ireland, featuring on many lists. Naturally, we had to include them here. The Coastal Cliffs run is 2.37-miles long and offers gorgeous views and a fun but challenging run, ideal for beginners looking to improve their skills. If you just extend the run a little further, it’ll make for an excellent 5k running route in Clare.

Some sights and textures of County Clare in Ireland, with the Cliffs of Moher, Lislorkan North shown.

Image source: Unsplash

What do you need to start running?

Running is the ideal sport to get into, especially in 2022. To get started, all you really need is a good pair of running shoes and, if required, a sports bra.

You can run alone or with others if you so choose. Joining a local running club is a good way for beginners to make friends and push themselves. You may decide to build up to running a half-marathon or a marathon in the future. If so, your club can help you get to that point.

One of the best things that you can do post-run is to massage your legs. This will help to aid your muscles during the recovery process, but if you’d rather get a deep tissue massage at home, foam rollers are perfect for this. They are easy to use and you’ll see why most runners swear by them.

There are other items you can get to aid your running journey, such as creams and gels to prevent chafing. These are particularly useful for those taking part in longer runs or even those running in the summer, when their thighs may rub together with each step they take.

Running is an excellent way to get fit, and with so many stunning Irish running routes for you to take, it’s easy to see why running might be the number one sport in Ireland next year.

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