Sweating the final run of 2023, Singapore

The Best Runs of 2023

Journeys » The Best Runs of 2023

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!

“And we run because we like it, through the broad bright land.”

The Song of the Ungirt Runners” by Charles Hamilton Sorley

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.

I will post Travel Bytes from these Journeys as we sort through the tens of thousands of photos – after the Thanksgiving holiday!

Manhattan Kansas Linear Trail
Kaw River, Manhattan, Kansas
Crossing on the Kamo, Kyoto, Japan
Crossing on the Kamo River, Kyoto, Japan

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.

Hagley Park in Christchurch NZ
Hagley Park in Christchurch, New Zealand

#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.

Running in the Rain, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Running in the Rain
A city washed clean, Siem Reap, Cambodia
A city washed clean
Blue Green and Brown, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Blue Green Brown and White in Siem Reap, Cambodia

#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.

Nijubashi Bridge, Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Japan
Nijubashi Bridge, Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Japan

#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.

Tivoli Park
Piper in Tivoli Park
Ljubljanica River Promenade, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Ljubljanica River Promenade
Paritsan Memorial, Tivoli Park Ljubljana, Slovenia
Partisan (WWII Resistance Fighters) Memorial

#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.

Hungarian Parliament
Hungary’s magnificent Parliament

#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.

Reflections on the Lilies, Singapore
Skyline Reflections on the Lilies
River Runner, Singapore
River Runner
Helix Bridge to the ArtScience Museum, Singapore
Helix Bridge to the ArtScience Museum
Flightless Bird, Singapore
Flightless Bird

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!

Running Prague
The Lennon Wall
Prague, Czechia
Music in the Planty
These guys were phenomenal!
The Planty, Krakow, Poland
The Manneken Pis from Brussels
Ankle-buster near the Manneken Pis
Zagreb, Croatia
Assumption of Maria Church, Lake Bled, Slovenia
Assumption of Maria Church
Lake Bled, Slovenia
St. Euphemia reaching to the sky, Rovinj, Croatia
St. Euphemia reaching to the sky
Rovinj, Croatia
Beach Time, Baska Voda, Croatia
Beach Time
Baska Voda, Croatia
Love the Dalmatian Coast, Brela, Croatia
Love the Dalmatian Coast
Brela, Croatia
Church of St. Lucia on Brac, Bol, Croatia
Church of St. Lucia on Brac
Bol, Croatia
The Confluence of the Saone and Rhone Rivers, Lyon, France
Confluence of the Saone and Rhone Rivers
Lyon, France
Colorful Collioure, Catalan, France
Colorful French Catalan
Collioure, France
Our Lady of Good News, Port-Vendres, France
Our Lady of Good News gazing seaward
Port-Vendres, France
Vieux Port (Old Port), Marseille, France
Vieux Port (Old Port)
Marseille, France
Brunswick Monument, Geneva, Switzerland
Brunswick Monument
Geneva, Switzerland
Beautiful Blooms on the Canal, Colmar in Alsace, France
Beautiful Blooms in The Alsace
Colmar, France
The "Pompon Polar Bear" in Darcy Park, Dijon, France
The “Pompon Polar Bear” in Darcy Park
Dijon, France
Holy Deer sparring, Miyajima, Japan
Holy Deer sparring
Miyajima, Japan
Communist Memorial, Saigon, Vietnam
Communist Memorial
Saigon, Vietnam
Thong Nhat Park, Hanoi, Vietnam
Thong Nhat Park
Hanoi, Vietnam

More Running Bytes from Around the World

The Zagreb Rerun

We had time for a quick Zagreb Rerun this year.  Though short, it was a nostalgic stop, like visiting an old friend.

The Budapest Run

The Budapest run covered a millennium, from Magyars on invading on horseback to the 1956 revolt against the Soviets. What a city! What a run!

The Krakow Planty Run

I anticipated this for months: The Krakow Planty Run, through the park that rings Krakow’s old town.  Thank heavens for “Planty” of shade!


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