The benefits of running with an organized group can be significant. It can boost your accountability factor, it gives you the opportunity to learn from more experienced runners and running with others is often times just more enjoyable. But what if there aren't any running groups in your area, or none that you feel comfortable in? Why not start your own?
You might be drawing a breath to say you're too busy to take on something like this, but starting your own running group can actually be quite simple. There are a few different ways you can go about it, and none of them require too much time or work on your part.
Possibly the easiest way to start a running group is by putting the word out to your friends via email or social media. To establish the group, spend about ten minutes setting up a closed group page on Facebook. Be sure to choose a descriptive title for the group, such as "Downtown (City Name) Running Group for SLOW Runners." Then simply invite your runner friends to join the group and use the group page to keep members up to date on planned runs, weather cancellations, etc. Monitoring communication among group members is as easy as scrolling through your Facebook news feed. This type of running group creates a relaxed, "show up if you can" atmosphere befitting social media.
Encourage members to invite their friends and extended network—via both social media and word of mouth—to foster organic group growth.
Make it Official
If you want to attract a wider range of people across your local geographical area—or if you want a more organized framework for managing group communications—you can start your running group using meetup.com. This is a low-cost way to get the word out to a network of individuals in your area who have already indicated their interest in a specific activity—in this case, running. A basic plan costs $9.99 per month and allows your group to have up to four organizers and 50 members. To recoup this monthly cost, you can charge members a small dues fee or simply accept donations from them. (See the legal implications of this below.)
This type of running group is likely to have more members from a more diverse social circle (not just the friends you already know), so it's a great way to meet new people.