Running 2023: Our travels this year made for phenomenal runs, from Kansas to Kyoto and more! Below is the countdown of the six best runs of 2023, along with my favorite run photos from the 2023 run collection. Read on for the highlights!
An Amazing Travel Year
2023 has been an amazing travel year. We started with a couple of months in New Zealand and a stop-over on Hawai’i. Then three months at home, and we were off again to Central Europe and a French encore before heading east to Japan and Southeast Asia. All told, 19 countries, 64 cities, 18 languages, 14 currencies, and all 24 time zones. Whew!
So if you speak to us over the holidays and we have a dazed, goofy grin on our face – you know why.
The Best Runs of 2023
A week ago I added Singapore as the 52nd and final city in my 2023 “run collection”. That nasty ankle sprain from Zagreb has hobbled me for four months, so I missed running some amazing locations: Hiroshima Peace Park, Taipei, Bangkok. I’ll take the rest of the year off to “heel”, and savor the memories below until spring.
So without ado, the six best runs runs of 2023!
#6 – Hagely Park in Christchurch, New Zealand
Christchurch’s Hagely Park and Avon River Greenway were a great start to NZ running. Half of the entries in my 2023 “Run Collection” were New Zealand runs, and the photos were even better than the runs. For the great outdoors, NZ is truly an amazing place.
#5 – Downtown Siem Reap, Cambodia
Siem Reap is the hub city for visiting the incredible Angkor temples. During covid, the government invested heavily in infrastructure, so the sidewalks and parks were excellent. During my 30-minute run, heavy clouds unleashed a torrential rain, then scattered leaving brilliant sunny skies and a city washed clean. It was my first run in two weeks (due to the ankle), and it was glorious.
#4 – Imperial Palace in Chiyoda City, Tokyo, Japan
Another rainy run, and this time the skies didn’t relent. It was wonderful regardless, though it took a few days for the shoes to dry out. For a visitor, Japan is utopia: easy to navigate, safe, the cleanest cities I’ve ever seen (even more so than legendarily clean Singapore), super generous people, incredible landscapes and interesting history. And strange and wonderful food – I’ll go back for the ramen alone.
#3 Tivoli Park in Ljubljana, Slovenia
Ljubljana (pronounced “lyoob-lee-yah-nah”) is the lively capital of tiny Slovenia, the only country with “love” in it’s name. This is the industrious Alpine region of what was once Yugoslavia. Most visitors to the country head to Lake Bled, which is amazing but crowded with tourists. We preferred Ljubljana, with its unique architecture and pleasing urban plan developed by hometown architect Jože Plečnik. It is a small capital and university town, which balances with the tourism to make this a real and livable city. My run took me along the Ljubljanica River Promenade and through Tivoli Park.
#2 Running through History, Budapest, Hungary
Ok, I’ve already written about this amazing run through history, with invading hordes, medieval saints, holocaust martyrs, amazing architecture and even a vampire. Follow the link above for more.
#1 – Harbor Run in Singapore
Only 85 miles north of the equator on the South China Sea, Singapore is always hot and humid; not ideal. However, much of the city-state is built on land reclaimed from the sea, so the central city is really flat, which every runner loves. So my advice – get out early to beat the heat and enjoy the fantastic harbor and river runs. The city is clean, safe, and has stunning modern architecture and art everywhere. Running, even in the heat, was pure joy, and a great way to cap my 2023 Run Collection.
Favorite Run Photos
Every new run has something interesting; it was tough to get down to just six (I couldn’t get to only 5). Here are my favorite photos from the other cities from Central Europe, France, Japan and Southeast Asia. Check out the “Running New Zealand” post for the first half of the 2023 Run Collection!