The Twin Cities are consistently lauded as a top running locale by folks in the know, and there is no shortage of high-quality trails winding around lakes, through leafy woods, and along urban corridors. The paths along the Mississippi River, however, offer a particularly spectacular setting for either a short or long run. And thanks to the proximity of the Franklin Avenue, Lake Street, and Ford Parkway bridges, it's not hard to set a sneaker-shod foot in each of the cities before breakfast. Heading north on the Minneapolis side, one can see the University of Minnesota campus and the downtown skyscrapers glinting in the sun. Heading south on the St. Paul side, the views of the steep cliffs and dark waters are breathtaking, particularly in autumn when the leaves are turning. The surrounding neighborhoods are pleasant and peaceful. Runners training for the Twin Cities Marathon seek out the route because it makes up a central section of the race: This is where many runners hit the proverbial wall during their 26.2-mile adventure, and there's a particularly daunting hill toward Summit Avenue. In other words, during September you may need to make way for running teams on a mission—or join one yourself.


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