There is no shortage of places to run in England's second city.  From the many green areas and public footpaths in the south of the city and the extensive canal path network that crosses it, to the expansive and beautiful Sutton Park, just north of the city, those who are looking to exercise while visiting Birmingham are spoilt for choice.

The canals

Birmingham has no major rivers, but is connected to other cities in the West Midlands by a comprehensive network of canals.  The paths which run alongside these canals are popular running terrain for many of the Birmingham's runners.  The most popular of the canals is the Birmingham and Worcester Canal, a section of waterway that flows roughly south from the city, past the University and Bournville - famous for it's Cadbury's chocolate factory - towards Kings Norton.  The path is mostly unsurfaced, though the section between the university and the Mailbox in the city centre has recently been tarmacked. The Rea Valley path can be reached from the canal, just beyond Bournville, and this trail eventually leads back to Cannon Hill Park. The path that runs alongside Birmingham Canal, which links Birmingham with Wolverhampton, is also suitable for running, though sections can become muddy following heavy rain. The canals north of the city are less suitable for running, and sections are unsafe and inaccessible.

Woodgate Valley, Sennelleys Park and Edgbaston

Students at the University of Birmingham are not short of training venues, and this may be part of the reason why Birmingham's top academic institute regularly produces international standard distance runners.  Selly Oak Park, Cannon Hill and Sennelleys Park are just some of the places used for cross country training, while the network of public footpaths and green areas ensures that long runs never get boring. 'Disused', a public walkway along a former railway line, links Harborne with Summerfield Park.  For here, a run can be extended around Edgbaston Reservoir, or onto the Birmingham Canal.  Neverending Path links Selly Oak Park with Woodgate Valley Country Park, and is another popular route for a mostly-offroad long run.

Participant at Cannon Hill Parkrun
Credit: By Paul Holloway from Birmingham, United Kingdom (Cannon Hill parkrun event 71 (694) Uploaded by Fæ) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Sutton Park

Sutton Park is a major recreational area and green space in the affluent suburb of Sutton Coldfield, north Birmingham city centre.  It is a great place for running and other outdoor activities, and wide roads, with level surfaces, and which are closed to traffic, criss-cross the area.  There are small lakes, wooded areas and tranquil wilderness in what is an outdoor enthusiast's paradise. There is a playground and a couple of public houses/restaurants close to the city gate, and an ice-cream van or two normally visit on sunny days.


The city limits

There are a number of public footpaths through the farmland around Frankley, and hilly trails and paths through Licky Hills and the Clent Hills south west of the city.  Cofton Park, just south of Longbridge, is a popular cross country venue, and regularly hosts the British trials for the World Cross Country Championships.  The hills of south west Birmingham are also great for road cycling and mountain biking.

Weekly ParkRuns are held at Cannon Hill and Perry Hall Park in Perry Barr.