The Waterford Greenway in Ireland has been named the 23rd most beautiful and picturesque trail in the world, according to Instagram data.
Waterford Greenway in Top 25 Most Beautiful Trails
A survey of Instagram picture posts shows that the Waterford Greenway in Ireland is popular with trail runners. The Waterford Greenway ranks higher than many globally famous trails. It comes out ahead of the Pennine Way in England, Kings Trail in Sweden, Lunga Via in the Italian Dolomites, and the High Lonesome Loop in Colorado, USA.
Analysing Instagram hashtag data, the Waterford Greenway has amassed an average of 794 posts per mile. In total, there are four trails in Ireland in the top 50 most picturesque in the world. They are Waterford Greenway, Great Western Greenway, Kerry Way and Causeway Coast Way.
The research, conducted by Distinctly on behalf of trail running shoe specialists Zalando, analysed almost a million Instagram posts from the trails listed on Trail Run Project. The data revealed Emerald Lake in the US to be the world’s most picturesque trail, with 57,122 posts per mile. It’s followed by Tryfan in the UK, which has 35,843 posts per mile, and the Cinque Torri Loop in Italy, with 20,680 posts per mile.
Running is Fastest Growing Sport
According to the International Track and Field Federation, trail running is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world.
Joe Dale, competitive trail runner and owner of VPS Medicine, an osteopathy clinic specialising in treating runners, said:
“Running up and down hills, as one does with trail running, engages a far greater range of muscles than traditional road running. Whilst road running relies primarily on the calves, trail running tends to also give the glutes, quads and hamstrings a thorough workout.
“As well as this, the lack of ground stability on the trails means that the small stabilising muscles that support the ankles and knees have to work much harder. Therefore becoming stronger and providing better protection against long-term degeneration of the joints.
“The fresh air associated with trail running is far more beneficial for the heart and lungs than jogging around a polluted city.”
Lockdowns Encouraged More Outdoor Activity
Alexandra Merisoui, running technique coach and founder of Move Wild Academy, said: “The past two years of lockdowns, gym closures and limited ability to meet people indoors, have driven many people towards spending more time outdoors and particularly to trail running.
According to Bob Crowley – president of the International Trail Running Association – in his Trail Running Report, trail running has been growing approximately 12% year-over-year, globally, for over a decade. There are no signs of that trend abating.”