The best way to run? With a squad cheering by your side! Running groups are having a moment in Toronto and there are plenty of crews to tag along with. Vv Magazine’s Libby Roach gives us a rundown on the best run clubs in Toronto.
Whether you’re new to running or looking to switch up your route, Toronto’s running clubs span the gamut from newbie novice to ultra-enthusiast but all share one common characteristic – misery loves company and dialling into those long runs can be a snap with the right crew.
Run clubs aren’t just about the route, it’s the people that keep you motivated and runners, with their pack like mentality, will not only encourage you to new lengths, but they won’t leave you behind if you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.
Here’s my list of the best running clubs in Toronto:
Stunning scenery and stair-after-stair keep Castle Runners coming out in droves. Aptly named for their Casa Loma location, this run club combines running with a workout – adding a little triceps dip to that sprint session. Runners meet up every Thursday morning at the castle.
Parkdale Road Runners
This group has been kicking around since 2010, meeting up around the Gladstone Hotel in the city’s west end. Runs are every Tuesday and Saturday, with some geared towards women only. The group rallies around its proud members – look for them screaming in their singlets cheering each other on at local Toronto races.
Members cough up $45 a year to join this team, and that’s money well spent in winter, when they set up shop inside Leaside High School. Aiming at runners who can reliably tackle 6K and up, their weekly workouts with coaches will take you to that next level.
Hogtown Hash House Harriers
This feel good crew has their priorities in check; keeping properly hydrated is of the utmost importance of course. Runners meet up at a local TTC accessible bar, crush a beer (or two) before heading out on an ad-hoc route created by volunteer ‘Hare’. Runs take place almost daily, with special events and ladies-only runs sprinkled throughout the month.
Night Terrors Running Crew
With locations in Toronto and LA, this tightly knit crew clocks their kms (mostly) in the evenings, with special events and races peppered throughout the year, like their midnight half marathons. Runs span the city, with Trinity Bellwoods, High Park and Queen West being prime meet-up locations.
Nike Run Club
With members spanning across every continent, Nike’s run club lets you log miles thru their app, making the run club meet ups that much more social. The Loft on Richmond St. is home base for this crowd, with satellite clubhouses in Liberty Village and in the Eaton Centre. Distances start at 5K and edge up, with some runs amped up with a NTC workout thrown in for good measure.
Black Toe Running
One of the best running stores in the city also happens to boast its own running club, as well as the newly adopted mentorship program which bridges both coaches and mentors to motivate runners. Runs head out Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, with varying distances and speeds to conquer. Head to the shop to meet-up, located just at the foot of Bathurst near King.
Pace and Mind
In addition to their one-on-one counselling and mentorship programs, coaches at Pace and Mind also offer weekly runs absolutely free and open to the public, kicking off from the MaRS Discovery building at Queen’s Park and College. Distances are dialled up – expect to run 15km and up with this crew.
Run TO Beer
This sudsy squad aims to energize runners by combining a social fun route with post run pints at local downtown breweries. Distances tap out at 15K, winding down to an approachable 3K for those new to the sport. Toast your victory with your new pals over some of Ontario’s finest craft beers, wrapping up at home bases like Left Field Brewery, Bar Hop Brew Co. or Amsterdam Brewery.
Known more for their yoga classes (or tight pants) than running, Lululemon does offer free run club meet-ups. Both the Briar Hill and Queen Street locations boast run clubs (check your local shop for run info). Distances are usually about 5K, making it an easy gang to tag along with.
Did we miss any run clubs in Toronto? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below, or tweet us @ViewtheVibe.