It may sound cliché, but running really can take you anywhere you want to go. From the deepest woods to the highest peaks, from bustling cities to serene shorelines, there are some places in the farthest corners of the earth that are best (or only!) experienced by foot.
Whether you’re daydreaming about where to journey next or simply looking for inspiration to get you out the door, these thumb-stopping Instagram images will delivery the necessary motivation. But be warned! Scrolling through this list of “runspo” pics will not only get you up and at ‘em, it might also cause a serious case of wanderlust, too.
20 Epic Instagrams for Running Motivation
1. Chasing Light (@fmarmsaterphoto)
Photographer Fred Marmsater says, “chasing natural light is one of my favorite things about being a photographer.” He and ultrarunner Luke Nelson high-tailed it all the way to this amazing sunset in the San Juan Mountains in Colorado.
2. Play Bridge (@stravarun)
Strava, a social network for athletes (particularly cyclists and runners), encourages its 1.2 million global users to share all aspects of their training — including data, digital maps and photos from their routes. User Jim Harding snapped this powerful shot of the award-winning Rewa Rewa Bridge and Mt. Taranaki in New Plymouth, New Zealand.
3. Breaking New Ground (@pickybars)
Think this is just another photo of two running gal pals out for a weekend jog? Think again. This photo by Ken Etzel follows Krissy Moehl and Jenn Shelton, two of the most badass women ultrarunners around, attempting the FKT (fastest known time) running the 223-mile John Muir Trail. NBD.
5. Sand ‘Gram (@vo2_max)
The from-the-ground-up timed shots have become the new running selfie and Instagramming runner Steve Clemons is a pro. Here, he and his wife Malia, show us how to hit the sand running in a beautiful sunrise shot in Kailua Beach, Hawaii. Not pictured: Steve’s dog Maka, his usual running companion.
6. Leaf It All Behind (@heyjuniorbeltran)
The running season always hits its stride when the leaves start changing and fall is in the air. Our new happy place: Greenwood Tree Farms in Oregon. Junior Beltran, we’re right behind you!
7. #NeverStopExploring (@thenorthface)
For ultrarunner Timmy Olson, running (or flying!) through the French Alps in Chamonix is just another day at the office. Shot for The North Face by photographer Tim Kemple, this photo inspires us to #NeverStopExploring, too. But seriously, how can we get this job?
8. Desert Domination (@nathansportsinc)
Get a glimpse of the grueling Rim to Rim to Rim, a 40-plus-mile out and back route across the Grand Canyon. The technicolor skies in this photo from Nathan Sports-sponsored ultrarunner Paul Giblin don’t make it look that bad though, right?
9. Weather Warriors (@novemberproject)
November Project is a free grassroots fitness movement that started in Boston and now includes 30 participating cities around the globe. Earlier this year, Reykjavík, Iceland, pictured here in a photo by Dylan Ladds of Dooster Film, became the first location outside of North America to join the growing “#weatherproof” tribe.
10. World Wondering (@annafrosty)
Why walk the iconic 15th century ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru when you can run them? Ok, maybe not everyone can handle the intense elevation of the Andes Mountains region, but popular mountain ultrarunner Anna Frost sure makes it look easy.
11. No Shoes, No Problem (@discoverearth)
We’re in the camp that believes anyone, anywhere can be a runner. Just look at this captivating photo shot by Joe Greer and “ask yourself why you don’t” run. It lets you leave everything else behind…even your shoes.
12. California Dreamin’ (@ultramarathon)
There are few people on the planet who are fitter than the “ultramarathon man” himself, Dean Karnazes. When he’s not traveling all over the world for endurance events, you’ll likely find him running local California routes, like this breathtaking stretch at Lands End in San Francisco. Can you spot the faint Golden Gate Bridge through the thick fog?
13. Rock and Roll (@mykehphoto)
To catch this wave (one of the most surreal sandstone formations in nature), you’ll have to travel to Marble Canyon, Arizona. And then you’ll have to win the lottery for one of only 10 daily permits given to see “The Wave.” Ultrarunner Jim Walmsley and photographer Myke Hermsmeyer were among the lucky few.
14. Concrete Jungle (@nikenyc)
From a distance, the New York City silhouettes in this striking Nike photo could be anyone. (The city is home to more than eight million people!) Take a closer look and you’ll see it’s Ironman triathlete and Paralympian Sarah Reinersten who’s leading this crew through the streets.
15. Private Playground (@trappephoto)
For this Feetures socks shoot, photographer and filmmaker Matt Trappe escaped the crowds of Zion National Park and ventured to Snow Canyon State Park, right outside of St. George, Utah.
16. Racing the Sun (@scottjurek)
Ultrarunner extraordinaire Scott Jurek calls this the “magic hour” at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. Magic, indeed — and not a soul around. (Except, of course, the intrepid photographer — Jurek’s wife Jenny.)
17. Daredevil Descent (@rickeygates)
What goes up must come down…and fast. Photographer and ultrarunner Rickey Gates has no fear of running in the “fells” (a Northern England terms for hills and mountains). Fellow photographer and athlete Kelvin Trautman took this treacherous shot of Gates, seasoned fell runner Ricky Lightfoot and their brave videographer Dean Leslie doing just that down the rocky terrain.
18. Parisian PR (@toutesenbasket)
Grab your meilleur ami (aka your BFF) and check out the French fitness bloggers Elsa and Laurina. Their awesome photos, like this one taken near the Eiffel Tower by Yoann Rochette, exhibit strength and sisterhood through the power of sports.
19. Trails and Tails (@mattshryock)
According to ultrarunner Matt Shyrock, man’s best friend is named Major and he’s quite the runner. This Anchorage, Alaska sunset shot is just one of many showing the duo racing through the mountains together, with most photos taken by fellow runner and friend Adam Jensen.
20. Runner’s High (@patagonia_trailrunning)
One of the things we love most about running photography is wondering where the photographer is and what he or she had to do to get the perfect snap. Take it from Patagonia and National Geographic photographer Mikey Schaefer — a simple point and shoot method won’t cut it. His advice? “The view tends to be the best from where most haven’t been.”