As a person who has lived in NC for 15 years - Okay, Ill admit that Raleigh has much better running than Charlotte, but this is only because Charlotte is much more of an actual, true urban center. Therefore, sports typically dominated by African Americans (like football and basketball) are much more emphasized in Charlotte, while more "white" sports like swimming, running, tennis, golf, etc. are pushed to the curb. Raleigh is a minscule urban center compared to Charlotte, and Raleigh also hoards all the money from the state completely to itself. Thus, all the money that all NC residents pay to the state goes to building things like really nice parks and community centers all over the Raleigh area instead of being evenly dispersed throughout the state. The result of all this is that more middle class "white" sports (like distance running)are highly focused upon in Raleigh, and Raleigh also has the money to build really nice places to run to attract potential runners. But, Charlotte is still a really nice city, and I would much rather live in Charlotte before I ever lived in Raleigh. Charlotte is a much bigger city and has so many more exciting things going on - it has two pro sports teams and it is a great place to grow up and also raise a family. Hope this helps.