Running alone can be quite enjoyable, but there is a lot to be said for running with a group. Group running can push you to new paces and help make the miles pass a little easier. Running with a group also has the added benefit of providing safety in numbers and a great sense of community.
But if you lack an established running group where you live, it’s not that difficult to start one of your own. Here’s how.
Network1 of 7
Your local paths and running trails are the best place to start. Strike up conversations with other local runners you know or see if they'd like to meet up. Ask them to invite friends—and friends of friends. This organic way of networking is a lot simpler than you may think. If you are an introvert, flyers work just as well, but start with people you know or see running on your route regularly.
Set Up a Schedule2 of 7
After you've established a group to run with, set up regular days to meet and plan your route. Make sure to designate an alternate group leader in the event that you cannot make it to a training session. It's important to keep this schedule regular and arrive on time. As your group grows, you can always add days if needed.
Plan Your Route3 of 7
Your group run route is important. Make sure that it's safe, well lit, and populated by other runners and walkers. Make sure it's easy for everyone to park, meet up and find their way back. If a loop isn't possible, start with a simple out and back. Be sure to ask everyone what pace and distance they are running so that you know when everyone has successfully finished their run if you are separated.
Get Social4 of 7
Currently, most running groups have social media pages and use them as a way to communicate. Facebook is a great tool to keep everyone engaged and inspired. If you have runners who aren't on social media, then setting up an email box will also work. Social media is great for communicating and marketing. If you are looking to continue adding members, consider a website or Instagram account.
Name It and Cover It5 of 7
You can do this step first if you so choose, but you can also wait until your group is a little more established to set up an official organization. Many insurance companies offer plans if you decide to make your group official and want members to pay dues or be covered by insurance. The Road Runners Club of America and the USA Track & Field organizations also offer insurance to their member clubs or teams.
Final Steps6 of 7
The beauty in starting your own running group is that you can make it as large or as small as you wish. Some running clubs offer a vast array of benefits for their members, like coaching and holiday parties. Others simply meet for one run a week at a local coffee shop or pub. Determine what your needs are when you start and manage your club's growth accordingly. Good luck!