Another Day, Another Ranking: Arlington 3rd Best City For Runners

Published August 13, 2020

Smartasset, a financial technology company, recently published their “Best Cities for Runners – 2020 Edition” which features Arlington as the third best city for runners.

Smartasset reviewed data for 95 of the largest U.S. cities across the following six metrics: walk score, pedestrian fatality rate, number of gyms per 10,000 residents, number of races in 2019, percentage of the city that is parkland and housing costs as a percentage of income.


Regarding Arlington, the website states, “Arlington, Virginia has the second-highest number of gyms per 10,000 residents of any of the 95 cities in our study, at approximately 2.4. The city also ranks seventh overall for housing costs as a percentage of income, at slightly more than 20%. Arlington has a walk score of 68.9, the 15th-best score for this metric of any of the cities we analyzed.”

With all of the running and walking trails available around Arlington, it’s no wonder the city ranked so high.

Smartasset used the following as their “Data and Methodology” listed at

  • Walk score. This is a measure of a city’s overall walkability. Data comes from
  • Pedestrian fatality rate. This is the number of pedestrians killed in automobile accidents per 100,000 residents. Data comes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is for 2017 and is measured at the state level.
  • Gyms per 10,000 residents. This is the number of gyms per 10,000 residents. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2017 County Business Patterns survey.
  • Races held in 2019. Races include all 5ks, 10ks, half-marathons, marathons and ultra-marathons that take place in the city. Data comes from
  • Percentage of city that is parkland. This is the total adjusted city area divided by total parkland measured in acres. Data comes from the Trust for Public Land’s 2019 report.
  • Housing costs as a percentage of income. This is the amount of annual median housing costs divided by median household income. It was included in this study as a measure of affordability. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2018 1-year American Community Survey.

We’ve written before about Arlington’s neighborhood “Walk Scores” (read here) and how beneficial they are. According to, a “Walk Score measures the walkability of any address based on the distance to nearby places and pedestrian friendliness.” The scores are:

  • 90-100 = Walker’s Paradise: Daily errands do not require a car
  • 70-89 = Very Walkable: Most errands can be accomplished on foot
  • 50-69 = Somewhat Walkable: Some errands can be accomplished on foot
  • 25-49 = Car-Dependent: Most errands require a car
  • 0-24 = Car-Dependent: Almost all errands require a car

Arlington, Virginia as a whole has a walk score of 69, meaning some errands can be accomplished on foot. However, when you drill down to neighborhoods, such as Ballston-Virginia Square, the walk score gets much higher at 93, meaning a “Walker’s paradise.” This is the 2nd most walkable neighborhood right behind Clarendon-Courthouse, which also has a score of 93.

You can read more of the methodology and city rankings at