Running Routes in Doha and Beyond
Running is good for you! Pounding the pavement is a great cardio exercise, which, done regularly, can improve your heart's strength and keep your arteries clear, reducing your risk of heart disease. As a weight-bearing exercise, it helps to strengthen bones and build muscles. Plus, running is excellent for keeping you physically fit and toned, boosting your immune system and mood, and enabling you to sleep better, which is also good for your health! But where to run?
You can, of course, run just about anywhere, but specific running routes designed for runners and joggers (and sometimes pedestrians), with rubberised all-weather surfaces, lighting for evening exercise, shaded rest areas (especially relevant in Qatar), and, if you're lucky, water stations, are much more gratifying. Even if the route is simply an unbroken pedestrian route, it's safer than navigating heavy traffic to cross and re-cross roads.
Qatar has a wealth of running tracks, trails and paths, mainly in the capital city, but you can find great routes further afield too. And several have cooling systems in place to ensure you can run whatever the weather and whatever time of year. Yes, even in Qatar's blistering summer!
Running Tracks and Paths
Image: Neetu Sajith/Shutterstock.com (Umm Al Saneem Air Conditioned Running Track)
The following is a list of specific running tracks and trails, and pedestrian paths in and around Doha, and further afield, that Qatar’s runners and joggers jog, trot, race, sprint and dash along:
- 5/6 Park - Sandwiched between the Lusail Highway and the city coastline, with Doha city centre to the south and Lusail city to the north, 5/6 Park offers a 1.4 km running trail. The park also boasts additional fitness facilities - a free-to-use open-air gym, a 1.1 km cycle path, and a 1.4 km walkway.
The 0.65-hectare green space on Hayr Al Harba Street in Onaiza is open every day from 6 am to 10 pm and can easily be reached by car or taxi, with parking available at both the northern and southern ends of the park. The nearest Metro station is Al Qassar Metro Station on the Red Line.
- Al Bidda Park - Al Bidda Park is a beautiful green expanse of 188 hectares that runs alongside Doha’s coastal Corniche. The park is split into three main areas, each with its own running trail; a 1.5 km track in Al Bidda Park, a 2.5 km path in Al Rumailah Park, and an 800 m trail in Wadi Al Sail Park. Aside from the running tracks, the park also offers fitness nuts an extensive network of cycle lanes, seven free open-air gyms (one for ladies only, and three sports areas containing floodlit courts and pitches for basketball, tennis, volleyball and football, and padel courts (available for a fee).
The park is open daily from 4 am to 12 am and can be accessed easily by road or Metro. Six underground car parks are available around the park’s perimeter, and the nearest Metro stations are Al Bidda Metro Station on the Red or Green Lines or Al Corniche Metro Station on the Red Line. For a map of the park, head to the Al Bidda webpage.
- Al Gharafa Air-Conditioned Park - One of Qatar’s first parks to install an air-conditioned exercise path, Al Gharafa Park has a 700 m covered trail cooled via AC, powered by solar energy. The covered track, with inside temperatures of between 26 - 28 degrees Celsius, operates all year round, meaning runners and joggers can keep on the move 365 days a year. The 5-hectare park, open daily from 6 am to 12 am, also provides a 1 km cycle track and two free open air gyms for alternative exercise routines.
Al Gharafa Park is accessible via Umm Al Zubar Street, close to Thani bin Jassim Stadium in Al Gharafa, with parking on the opposite side of the green.
- Al Rayyan Park - Located in the heart of Al Rayyan and also known as the Green Carpet, Al Rayyan Park incorporates a 1.2 km running track dotted with water fountains. While the majority of the park is green lawn and excellent for ball sports, the 13 hectares also offer two free open-air gyms, a 1.2 km cycling path and a Fitness Box, screening free exercise classes!
The park, on Al Rayyan Road, provides parking accessible via Al Rayyan Al Ateek Street. Alternatively, the nearest Metro station is Al Rayyan Al Qadeem Metro Station on the Green Line. The park is open 24 hours a day.
- Aspire Park - Al Waab’s Aspire Park, one of Qatar’s oldest and largest green spaces (88 hectares), offers a 5 km rubberised running/cycling track. The park also boasts a sand trail, two free outdoor gyms, grass sports pitches for football and tennis, and (for a fee) Padbol courts (a fusion sport combining elements of football, volleyball, squash and tennis). And just outside the park, you can also find Padel courts and a climbing wall, Esqalar.
Located on Al Waab Street, the park is open 24 hours daily. Outdoor parking is from Al Waab Street, Furousiya Street and Lehwaila Street. The nearest Metro station is Al Aziziyah on the Gold Line.
- Doha Festival City Outdoor Trail - The outdoor trail at DFC Mall offers a 3 km running track that loops around the outside of the venue. However, the course also incorporates a 3 km bike track, with thirteen technical trail features. The running track provides additional facilities such as water fountains, shaded rest areas and free-to-use outdoor gym equipment.
Off the Al Shamal Road at Al Ebb, DFC Outdoor Trail is open 24 hours daily. Plenty of parking is available at the Mall, though you can also cycle to the track.
- Katara Hills - The green hills overlooking Katara provide a 2.5 km track for joggers and runners who want to add a little gradient to their exercise. The path winds up and down the hilly garden park and provides some stunning views of the ocean and Katara Cultural Village. Padel courts are also available at the park for a fee.
The park is open daily from 6 am - 10 pm, with parking available from the village on Al Moasses Street. The nearest Metro station is Katara on the Red Line.
- Lusail Sports Club - Lusail Sports Club, located at Losail International Circuit, Qatar’s motor racing venue just outside of Lusail City, opens the 5.38 km floodlit track to runners and joggers (and cyclists) on Tuesday (ladies and children only) and Wednesday evenings, 5 pm to 8:30 pm, for three free hours of training.
North of Lusail City, off of the Al Khor Coastal Road, Lusail Sports Club is easily accessible by car and has ample parking on-site. However, you can also cycle to the circuit (12 km) from Doha Sports Park on the Olympic Cycle Track - car parking is provided at the beginning of the cycle path.
- Oxygen Park - A green space for the campus community in Education City, Oxygen Park offers a 1 km looped track, with shaded and cooled stretches for protection against the heat and sun. The park is divided into two distinct zones; one for sports and one for recreation. The sports zone, with upper and lower level sports bowls, has three circular, multi-use sports pitches, the running track, and a horse-riding track.
The 13-hectare park is open to the public from 6 am to 10 pm daily. Underground parking is available from Huwar Street, with a covered walkway leading to the park entrance, or you can jump on a Yellow Line tram from Oxygen Park Tram Station to the park’s north entrance. The nearest Metro station is the Qatar National Library on the Green Line.
- Rawdat Al Khail Park - Previously Al Muntazah Park, Rawdat Al Khail Park, on the C-Ring Road, re-opened in 2022 with many facilities, including a 1.2 km running path, a 1.1 km cycle path and three free outdoor gyms.
Open every day from 5 am to 12 am, the 9.8 hectare park offers almost 400 open-air parking spaces accessible via Wadi Rasheeda Street to the north or the park and Abu Al Qasim Al Shabi Street to the west. The nearest Metro Station is Al Mansoura on the Green Line.
- Umm Al Seneem Air-Conditioned Park - With the world's longest air-conditioned outdoor track (Guinness World Record, October 2022), Umm Al Seneem Park offers runners a cool, shaded 1.143 km track for leisure and exercise year-round. If fitness is on your mind, the park also provides a 1.1 km cycle track, three free outdoor fitness parks, and a Fitness Box - an upcycled shipping container with a giant screen that broadcasts free tailor-made fitness classes led by professional fitness instructors.
The 13 hectare park is open from 5 am to 12 am every day. Parking space is provided in two locations at the park's southern end. One is accessible via Waab Lebareg Street, and the other is from Wadi Al Theebiya Street.
You can run in any of Doha’s parks (they have plenty); some, including the above green spaces, have specific running trails, while others offer standard pathways for all park users.
Image: Qatar2022 (Al Bayt Stadium Running Track)
It’s also worth noting that the majority of Qatar’s FIFA World Cup Stadiums also have running tracks installed around their perimeter or in the surrounding precinct:
- Ahmed bin Ali Stadium - next door to the Mall of Qatar, off the Dukhan Highway, the stadium offers a 3 km running trail around its perimeter and the adjacent park and sports fields. The nearest Metro station is Al Riffa on the Green Line.
- Al Bayt Stadium - located in Al Khor, around 50 km from Doha city centre, the stadium park provides a 4-4.5 km running track around its perimeter, as well as seven outdoor gyms, sports courts (to hire for a fee) and a 4.5 km cycling track. You can also cycle to the stadium from Doha on the Olympic Cycle Track if you want to earn extra credits. The path is 33 km long and runs from Doha Sports Club to the arena.
- Al Janoub Stadium - the stadium, in Al Wukair south of Doha, is surrounded by green spaces, a cycle track, open-air gyms and a 2 km running path. The nearest Metro station is Al Wakrah on the Red Line.
- Al Thumama Stadium - the stadium, in the heart of Al Thumama, has a 4 km running route and cycling track encircling the stadium's perimeter and the surrounding grounds. The nearest Metro station is Oqba Ibn Nafie on the Red Line.
- Education City Stadium - located adjacent to the stadium is the West Green Spine Running Track, a running trail that loops around a football pitch, volleyball court, basketball court and skate park - looping each is approximately a 1 km trail. The nearest Metro station is Education City on the Green Line.
Alternatively, Doha’s promenades and boulevards are also popular places to take a run or jog:
- The Corniche, running along the city centre's coastline, is one of the most popular places to run in Doha; it's possible to travel for up to 7 km along the path from start to finish.
- Lusail Marina Promenade runs 4 km from Lusail Esplanade, opposite Al Maha Island, along the coast to Lusail Expressway, adjacent to Lagoona Mall.
- The Pearl’s beautiful boulevards are also great places to jog, with plenty of opportunity to rack up the miles.
Qatar’s Competitive Annual Running Opportunities
Image: QUR (North Challenge)
Qatar also hosts several annual running events, a great opportunity to put all your running practice into action. So, if you're game, you can extend your running skills to the following events:
- The Ooredoo Marathon, which incorporates a full marathon, a half marathon, a 10K and a 5K run;
- The Qatar Running Series, which operates as a series of separate events, each with numerous races ranging in length from 3K to 10K, spread between August and June annually;
Off-road and desert races, such as the Qatar East to West Ultramarathon (a gruelling 90 km run from the east coast to the west through the baking desert plains), the South Challenge (a 20 km off-roader over sand, stone, rock and dune), and the North Challenge (a 2 hour off-road looped track against the clock).
To find out more and how to sign up for Qatar’s running race events, read our Marathons to Mini-Runs, Qatar Has Something For Everyone article.
If you run regularly, you can plan your runs and measure and record your distances, individually or against other members, using running apps, such as C25K 5K Trainer, Map My Run, Nike Run Club, Runkeeper and Strava. These apps help map out and pick routes tailored to your needs, and they also help motivate you to improve your running, whether by distance, time or competitively against other app members.
And don’t forget, slap on the sunscreen if you’re running during the sunlit hours, wear hi-vis clothing in the evenings, and stay hydrated no matter what time of day!
Many of Qatar’s running routes run alongside the nation's cycling paths. So if you want to alternate from cycling to running for an all-over fitness programme, check out our Pedalling Around Qatar’s Extensive Cycling Routes article.
Main image: Mr.Yogen/Shutterstock.com
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