Running clubs in Toronto
Running clubs in Toronto are where to turn to when running solo starts to get boring and the lure of zombies chasing you on your iPhone isn't enough motivation to keep running. Thankfully, there are plenty of running clubs in the city so for those looking to join one it's worth taking a look at the options below.
I should note that one of the biggest misconceptions of running clubs is that they're for elite and advanced runners only. In reality, many running clubs are for all levels and are a perfect way to socialize your workouts while keeping you motivated to stick with a run schedule.
Here's a list of some of the running clubs in Toronto. Have a favourite? Be sure to add it in the comments.
When: Tuesdays at 6:20 p.m. Commerce Court Running Room
Distance: 7-8K, 10-11K & 13-14K.
What started as a dozen or so people 10 years ago, has grown to over 60 runners joining Rat Tuesday. Less-advanced runners should join on the first Tuesday of the month where a moderate pacer is available, but this popular club is for those who can run 10K at a moderate pace or faster. Other Tuesdays offer a social, a Tip of the Month and Matching Shirt runs.
When: Saturdays at 9 a.m. Grenadier Restaurant, High Park and Sundays at 9 a.m. West End YMCA
Distance: Saturdays, 5-10K and Sundays, 12-36K
Cost: $50 running membership/$25 for students.
With more than 160 members, the Roadrunners must be doing something right since they formed in 1980. All running levels are welcome, even for the longer distances on Sunday where the club tries to ensure every runner has someone to run with. For those looking for a goal to work towards, the Toronto Island Run (5 and 10K) on September 9 is the official Longboat race.
When: Various. Many Lulu run clubs have Facebook pages
Not just for yoga, Lululemon hosts run clubs from many of their stores across the city. Their seasoned run ambassadors typically host runs twice a week within the 5-10K ranges including a 5-6K on Wednesday and various distances (5, 8 and 10K) on Saturdays from the Eaton Centre store. Beginners are not just welcomed, they're encouraged.
Nike Runner's Lounge
When: Various, with four locations
One of the city's newest run clubs began is support of the mammoth Sporting Life 10K and has four locations that meet once a week, running from four 'hotspots' across Toronto; the Queen West club meets at R Squared Cafe, The Annex club at The Hart House Arbor Room, the Central club at Bulldog Coffee and the North Toronto club at the Sporting Life at 2665 Yonge St. For more info, check out our previous post here.
When: Wednesdays, 6 p.m. and Sundays, 8:30 a.m. All Running Room locations
Cost: Free, but requires registration
With a name like Running Room, you expect them to have a wealth of running options, and they deliver. Practice is open to all runners and walkers with multiple groups under the guidance of pace group leaders. Running Room also holds walking training programs including Walk Fitness, Walk 5K, Walk 10K, Walk Half-Marathon and Walk Marathon in addition to women-only, learn to run and training for all major distances.
Toronto Beaches Runners Club
When: Wednesdays, 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, 8:30 a.m. at the Beach Running Room
Distance: Various between 6 and 30K depending on what people are trained for
Cost: $35 for a one-time membership
In just two years, this run club grew from 20 to 140 runners, with about 30 runners joining for each run. The club is spearheaded by Dave Emilio, who's currently embarking on Project 370 with a goal of running every day for a year. Enough motivation for you?
Toronto Running Club
When: Wednesdays, 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays, 8:45 a.m at North Toronto Memorial Community Centre
Distances: 7, 10 and 13K
Cost: Free, but a $45 membership comes with perks
Midtowners can get in on the running action by joining the Toronto Running Club with between 20 and 30 runners that join each Wednesday and Saturday. The club hosts a pub night every week after the run.
When: Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. at Sunnybrook Park
Distance: Various, starting with a 10-15 minute warm up run
Cost: $40, annually
Runners of all levels are welcome at XSNRG, which was formed in the late 1980s. Billed as workout runs, the club combines running with intervals that vary weekly from hills to speed. It's recommended that runners should be able to tackle 6 to 8K.
The Mascot Running Club
When: Tuesdays, 8 p.m. at The Mascot Café
Distance: 3-5K with a longer run on Sunday held monthly
The Mascot launched its run club in October 2011 and usually boasts yoga following the run. The later start time is perfect for the warmers days of summer and for those who work into the evening. The running routes are posted weekly on their blog.
When: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:15 p.m. and Saturdays, 9 a.m. at Cawthra Park
Distance: 10 and 15K on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 5, 10 and 15K on Saturdays
Frontrunners Toronto is a chapter of the International Frontrunners GBLT running organization and run a variety of distances for all levels. For runners aiming for the Pride and Remembrance Run, training with the club happens throughout May and June. Saturday runs finish up with a social hour at The Croissant Tree.
Writing by Matt McNama. Photo by shotzy in the blogTO Flickr pool.