Is running the hottest trend in the travel industry?
A jogger runs in a path at the Hudson River park in New York in this 2012 file photo. Hudson River Park between Chambers Street in Lower Manhattan and 59th Street with a bike path, green spaces, playgrounds and recreation ranging from mini-golf and skateboarding to kayaking and even stand-up paddleboarding. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Published Sunday, September 15, 2013 8:45PM EDT
Is running the hottest trend in the travel industry? As more international hotel chains offer incentives to get guests pounding the pavement, sightrunning tours in major cities around the world are also on the rise.
Runner's World reports that the hottest travel trend is sightrunning, with tours available in nearly 50 cities around the globe, including New York, Boston, Paris, Copenhagen, Barcelona, and Cape Town, with that number rapidly growing. Most are launched by local entrepreneurs who love running and can guide small groups around their home turf, all while enjoying fresh air and exercise. A beer run is sometimes included.
"Now it is the time that we have to do the next step to become as popular as the walking, bike, bus or Segway tours," Robin Florax, one of the coordinators of Go! Running, an international association for organizing running tours, told Runner's World. "That means, when a runner is traveling around the globe, that it becomes normal to check first the destination if a running tour provider exists there."
Even Royal Carribbean is in on the trend of offering running-focused travel experiences: in addition to installing Bolidt rubberized running tracks on its enormous ships, this December it is inviting avid runners to join a runners' cruise on the giant Allure of the Seas ship, with celebrity runners onboard, personal training, and a 5K in St. Maarten.
Hotels have also been increasingly catering to runners. Westin Hotels and Resorts will loan guests a pair of New Balance sneakers and workout clothes just in case they've forgotten theirs at home. If you need a running buddy, a "running concierge" can lead the way. Also in partnership with the Rock ‘n' Roll Marathon Series, the hotel chain is offering VIP marathon packages including bib pick-up, pasta dinners, access to a post-race recovery tent, and ice bags delivered to their hotel rooms.
New York boutique hotel INK48 also offers a runner's kit that includes a pre-loaded iPod, sports watch, running belt, water bottles and a map. Also, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts offer mp3 players and "run clubs."