9 of Strava's Most Iconic Run Segments


, by Howard Calvert

Photography by: zxvisual

‘Iconic’ is a word that gets bandied around a lot. So much so that it often loses its meaning. So can we describe Strava segments as iconic? We think so. After all, the Cambridge English dictionary defines ‘iconic’ as ‘very famous or popular’, and these segments are all one, or both.

So which Segments make the grade?

Here are nine famous Strava Segments to seek out if you live in, or are visiting, the following cities and towns:

Heartbreak Hill, Boston, USA

Mention the Boston Marathon to any runner, and it’s inevitable the subject of hills will rise. Specifically, the infamous Heartbreak Hill, which arrives at mile 20 of the marathon. It marks the end of four climbs, known collectively as the Newton Hills, and this 900m-long segment gives you a taste of the historic course without having to run for a few hours to reach it. The vertical gain of 30m is manageable, and once conquered you’ve snagged a true icon of the marathon world.

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Margit Island, Budapest, Hungary

If you visit the Hungarian capital, this purpose-built 5km running track skirting the edge of Margaret Island was made for runners, making it a must-complete segment. It’s flat and fast, and provides sweeping views of the River Danube and the surrounding halves of the city – Buda on one side and Pest on the other.


Quai de Branly, Paris, France

Named after the Promenade du Quai Branly which runs parallel, this short 1km segment also passes the famous art museum, Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac. Not only that, it takes in some of Paris’s most famous sights — starting in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, it follows the arc of the River Seine ending just past the Pont de l’Alma. As it’s only 1km, you could, if your legs are feeling spritely, choose to go for a crown, but to do so you’ll need to beat 2.45(m)/3.30(w).

Few cities can rival Paris for iconic views when out for a run. Photography by: Gumbao

Central Park Loop, New York, USA

This segment has seen 80,000 runners complete it, making it an iconic segment for a reason. The horseshoe-shaped loop takes you through the park’s highlights across nearly 9km, including along two sides of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (who used to jog here before segments existed) Reservoir’s gravel running track, and up to the tree-lined North Woods.

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The Whole Hog, Edinburgh, Scotland

Arthur’s Seat is an essential destination for every runner in Edinburgh. Encroaching onto the edge of the city center you’ll find Holyrood Park, a 640-acre Royal Park housing the ancient volcano, Arthur’s Seat. Rising to 823ft / 251m, this segment takes you off-road and up to the summit for windswept vistas of the Scottish capital.

The view from Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh. Photography by: Sergii Figurnyi

Tafelberg Rd, Table Mountain Climb, Cape Town, South Africa

A more challenging segment than some of the others on this list, this is a short but steep part (310ft / 95m of elevation gain in 1312ft / 400m) of Table Mountain’s Tafelberg Road, the famous 3.9 mile / 6.3km-long paved track taking you up towards the summit. It’s populated with runners and hikers, not surprisingly as it provides a backdrop to your run that’s worth interrupting your run for photo after photo to wow everyone on your Strava feed.

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Stanley Park Sea Wall, Vancouver, Canada

Eight kilometers of sea salt-drenched panoramas, this run along the sea wall edging Vancouver’s Stanley Park will live long in the memory. Transitioning from views of the docks to British Columbia’s North Shore Mountains and across the sea of English Bay, the segment is packed with runners, cyclists and walkers, all soaking up the same unforgettable experience.

Bushy Parkrun, London, England

The course that started a movement, the Bushy Parkrun in Teddington, London, was where Parkrun began in 2004. This segment follows the current 5km course, so when you run it you’re running a piece of history. Bushy Park itself is home to 300 deer, and the Parkrun attracts more than 1,000 participants every week, so arrive early to tick this one off with the masses or run it in your own time whenever you fancy.

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Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, USA

A segment that requires little introduction, this spans one of the most recognizable bridges in the world. For just under 3km, you’ll find yourself marveling at your surroundings — not simply the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, but the feat of engineering you’re running across. There’s no surprise that 50,000 people have completed the segment — this one’s more about the views than your time, so take it steady, dodge the tourists, and let the scenic Marin Headlands be your focus.

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