Whether you’re a a sinewy ultra-marathon specialist or complete beginner who only breaks stride to shamble frantically onto a beeping tram, Manchester boasts some of the best outdoor running opportunities in the country, from parkland circuits to world-class synthetic sprinting straights.

As the days lengthen and the temperature flickers noncommitally into the teens, there’s never been a better time to take your fitness goals outside.

Here are some of Manchester’s best outdoor running tracks.

Regional Athletics Arena: Sportcity | Etihad Campus

Situated on the Etihad Campus, the Manchester Regional Athletic Arena’s high-spec 8-lane 400m outdoor circuit began life as the warm-up track for the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Open to the public from 7am-10pm weekdays and 9am-5pm on weekends, the arena accommodates individual runners while also regularly hosting local clubs, including Sale Harriers, Belle Vue Racers and Manchester Kestrels.

Gate 13, Rowsley Street, Etihad Campus M11 3FF, Tel: 0161 220 3800
Longford Park Athletics Stadium | Stretford

Alternately referred to as Trafford Athletic Stadium and Stretford Stadium, this 400m 6-lane track in Longford Park hosts a range of running clubs and school athletics sessions with facilities for long-distance and sprinting. Trafford Athletics Club often holds open meetings, although they encourage new runners aged 12 and above to head down to a training session on Mondays and Thursdays at 7pm to try it out for just £3.

Leigh Sports Village | Leigh

Lying in the lowlands between Manchester and Wigan, Leigh Sports Village provides South Lancashire’s finest sports and fitness facilities with a range of state-of-the-art equipment and spaces, including a 6-lane 400m running track with two covered 110-metre straights for sprinters. The Leigh Sports Village’s New Madeley Park Athletics Stadium is home of the Leigh Harriers running club – make a membership enquiry here.

Sale Way, Leigh, WN7 4JY
Boggart Hole Clough | Blackley

Open daily from dawn until dusk, the 400m synthetic athletics track at Boggart Hole Clough regularly hosts running groups and individuals, while the paths weaving both through and around the park offers the perfect mixed-terrain route for trail runners and cross country enthusiasts.

Charlestown Rd, Blackley, Manchester M9 7DH, Tel: 0161 795 2650
Heaton Park Loop | Heaton Park

Undulating, scenic and precisely measured, the Heaton Park loop provides 5km of highly diverse terrain which takes runners through woodlands, along boating lakes and past the central neoclassical manor, Heaton Hall, before a merciful downhill section to finish. Runners can add an extra lap for an exact 10k, while four laps with an extra out-and-back section at the start makes for a half-marathon.

Middleton Rd, Manchester M25 2SW, Tel: 0161 773 1085
Cleavley Track | Eccles

Open from 4.30pm-6pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, Cleavley Athletics Track is an AAA-rated 8-lane synthetic circuit which offers some of Manchester’s best track running after a £447,000 investment in 2020, which included a comprehensive refurbishment and full resurface.

Winton, Blantyre St, Eccles, Manchester, M30 8HY, Tel: 0161 787 7107
Wythenshawe Park Athletics Track | Wythenshawe Park

Sat within 290 acres of sprawling South Manchester parkland, the Wythenshawe Park track is a 400m synthetic circuit ideal for every type of runner. Open from 6-7pm every Tuesday and Thursday, Wythenshawe Park Athletics Track hosts a range of training sessions for runners of all abilities aged 7 and up, led by the Manchester Harriers. Enquire about membership here.

Wythenshawe Road, Wythenshawe, Manchester, M23 0PH, Tel: 0161 998 2117
Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Mon 20 May 2024