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13 New York run clubs worth lacing up for

Running groups

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New York has more running clubs and teams than we could ever count. That’s great a thing if you’re a runner who needs peer pressure when it comes to pavement pounding or training for a half marathon. But it’s also overwhelming.

“It seems like everyone has a team or a group to train with. The number of run clubs is enormous,” confirms Terence Gerchberg, expert run coach and Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp trainer. (NYRR has a pretty all-inclusive list, here.)

So how do you choose? “The advice I give everyone is to try it before joining,” Gerchberg says. “See if you connect with some of the members, because if you don’t, you’re not going to do well. And somewhere local is always better, because you actually need to show up.”

To help you get started, we sorted through some of the more popular clubs—with help from Gerchberg and Gia Alvarez, the running coach and marathoner behind Run, Gia, Run—and pinpointed a few worth highlighting.

Here are 13 great run clubs worth checking out:

FREE CLUBS

Lululemon: Free weekly runs at each Lululemon store. “These are lead by their run ambassadors, like me,” says Gerchberg, “so the coaching level is very high, in my humble opinion.” Perk: they email you the day before with what to expect each upcoming workout. Various times, all store locations. www.lululemon.com 

Meatpacking District Running Club: The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers and apparel company Icebreaker joined forces to start this weekly club that takes runners through a one-hour long coached workout in the Meatpacking District and along the Hudson River. Sports Center trainers split people into two groups based on run length. Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m., Meatpacking District, www.chelseapiers.com

Niketown Running Club: Led by Nike running coaches, this club, which meets three times per week at the 57th Street store, splits into several groups by pace and distance and sometimes includes drills like intervals, hills, or sprints, mostly in Central Park. (There’s also a run club at the Flatiron location.) Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:30 p.m., Saturdays, 9:00 a.m., Midtown East, www.meetup.com

North Brooklyn Runners: This Williamsburg and Greenpoint running community hosts several runs a day of varying paces, distances, and levels. (Think McCarren park and over the Williamsburg Bridge.) And while it’s free, the club’s no joke—its members finish lots of races, and it ranked at the top of NYRR’s standings in 2012. Multiple times and locations, www.northbrooklynrunners.org

Paragon Sports: Free weekly, all-level runs led by a Paragon coach and pacers leave from the Union Square store. Runs vary between pacing, distance, and intervals and the day’s workout is posted on the group’s Facebook page in advance. Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m, Flatiron, www.paragonsportsrunning.com

CLUBS WORTH PAYING FOR

Brooklyn Road Runners: This group meets four times a week to run through picturesque Prospect Park and Park Slope on fun runs, long runs, and for speed work. Membership also includes discounted rates for races and training workshops. Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:45 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays, 9 a.m., Prospect Park, $20 per year, www.brooklynroadrunners.org

Central Park Track Club (CPTC) New Balance: Founded in 1972 and now more than 350 members strong, this is one of the city’s best competitive running clubs. Over the years, its runners have gone on to national championships and Olympic trials. Group coached workouts take place in Central Park, Van Cortlandt Park, East River Track, and Colombia Track. Various times and locations, $125 per year, www.centralparktc.org

Dashing Whippets: This club has more than 400 members and the most terrain diversity—its members run everywhere from along the Palisades and through Central Park to the East River and Prospect Park. Runners of all levels are welcome, but they’re encouraged to have a specific training goal. Various times and locations, $20 per year, www.dashingwhippets.org

Exceed Physical Culture Track Club: Gina Alvarez recommends this structured six-week Upper East Side club, run by the neighborhood’s boutique fitness playground. “Coach Marianna Biribin takes you through a series of exercises and runs to build strength and endurance, including tempo runs, endurance runs, hills, and more.” Members work at their own pace within the group. Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:30 p.m., Wednesdays, 9:00 a.m. One run/week: $110, two runs/week:$130, three runs/week: $150, starts April 2, www.exceedphysicalculture.com

Galloway Running Club: Former Olympic runner and record-setter Jeff Galloway leads this club that features weekly runs in Central Park, email tips, a copy of his book, nutrition and running clinics, and a subscription to Runners’ World. Saturdays, 8:00 a.m., Columbus Circle, $159 for six months, www.gallowaynyc.org

JackRabbit: This go-to sports store offers organized group training programs that leave from all seven of its New York locations, from beginner clinics that work up to a 5K, to “Targeted Training for a Faster Finish.” Each store also hosts free meetup run clubs at least once a week. Various times and locations, prices vary, www.jackrabbitsports.com

Reservoir Dogs: This multi-level, midsize club meets four times a week to run different routes in Central Park, all four miles or longer. Perks include a members-only message board, guided training programs, team swag, and discounts to several local running stores. Bonus: The Saturday run is usually followed by group brunch. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, 7:30 p.m., Saturdays, 9:00 a.m. (summer), 9:30 a.m. (rest of year), Central Park, $35 yearly membership fee, www.thereservoirdogs.com

Urban Athletics: “These guys are the real deal,” says Alvarez, and Gerchberg agrees. The club’s training programs are operated by Jerry and Cara Macari, certified coaches and well-known runners on the NYC scene, boasting NYRR “Master Runner of the Year” titles. Programs range from marathon training to speed and form intensives. Various times and locations, $15-$650 for group sessions,  www.urbanathleticsnyc.com

Are you running in one of these clubs? Or got one you love? Tell us in the Comments, below!

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  1. March 18th, 2013 at 10:47 am

    I am the leader of the Push The Limit Run Club from Pushcart Coffee in Gramercy (21st/2nd). I am a Group Fitness Instructor at Crunch Fitness, Pedal NYC and Exceed Fitness and began the club a few months ago. We have about 30 members so far and we meet twice a week at the coffee shop (Tuesdays 6:30pm/Thursdays 6:30am)to do long runs/tempo runs with 3 different group levels! This spring we are also adding a TRX bootcamp day on the East River Running path..would love to get our name out there more!! Follow us on Twitter for more info @PushTheLimitRC

  2. March 18th, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Please do a similar article on bikes.

  3. March 18th, 2013 at 10:57 am
  4. March 18th, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Van Cortlandt Track Club, VCTC as we’re known in the Bronx, is 350 members strong. We serve Inwood, Bronx, lower Westchester, and lower CT. We meet for a group run every Saturday at 8 am in Van Cortland Park, near the ice skating rink on Broadway. Our membership fees are only $20 for singles, $30 for families. We’re a fun-loving mixture of serious racers, every day runners, and walkers.

    Gene–VCTC Membership

  5. March 18th, 2013 at 2:56 pm
  6. March 19th, 2013 at 8:34 am

    I’m part of The New York Flyers, the largest running club in NYC! The Flyers offer speedwork on Tuesdays at 6am and 7pm in Central Park. We also offer group runs 6 days a week in Central Park and downtown as well as fun social events!!

  7. March 22nd, 2013 at 11:47 am

    I’ve done two training programs now with Jack Rabbit – The NYC Marathon program and the Advanced 1/2 Marathon program and I am getting ready to start the Target training program next week.

    Incredible coaches, great people and a perfect support system for any level runner. Whether you choose to do the free group runs or a designated training program I guarantee that you will not be disappointed!

  8. March 22nd, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    (see what I did with my name?)
    New York Running Company (Columbus Circle) has a really fun (and really free) running group called “Sexy Pace” on Mondays, and a group that does hill repeats/intervals/etc called “Fast Twitch” on Tuesdays. Their East Side store has groups (also at no cost) on Wednesdays & Saturdays.
    Both also do training groups for races which are really cheap relative to what’s out there.

    North Brooklyn Runners has really awesome groups for those in Brooklyn!!

    See you on the roadz!

  9. March 22nd, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    How could the Prospect Park Track Club, the largest and oldest running club in Brooklyn, be omitted? We certainly qualify as a club worth lacing up for and then some! We are an inclusive club that welcomes and nurtures athletes of every ability level. Check us out at http://www.pptc.org.

  10. March 23rd, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    i’m a BRidge Runner and we BReak every Rule. Join us if you dare!

  11. March 23rd, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    I’ve been running alone or with friends for years but never thought of joining a club. Will certainly look into joining the dashing whippets as they are my nearest.

  12. March 26th, 2013 at 10:14 am

    I haven’t joined any clubs but I constantly run in parks and around the neighborhood. If its rains, I run in my treadmill at home.

  13. May 7th, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    Brides Run New York is a wildly innovative, physically challenging and guaranteed fun 5k running event. The event encompasses a pre race party, post race party, the opportunity to party with your wedding party while releasing the stress that comes with planning your wedding day and prizes that can be used to help plan your wedding day. All this is disguised as fun! Open to brides, grooms, bridesmaids, groomsmen and everyone else in or invited to your wedding, this event will give you a shared experience and a lot of laughs as you begin or continue to plan your perfect wedding day.

  14. Jerneal Gelfman @NYCKidsbookshop
    June 10th, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    Running, my new hobby-sport. :) I look forward to joining Nike town and North Bklyn Runners.

  15. June 27th, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    A few friends and I started http://www.YouWantGame.com, a website that helps NY’ers find free fitness activities going on around them. You can find free running groups, free yoga classes, pickup soccer, and a lot more. We have posted over 500+ free fitness events going on in NYC this summer, and that number gets bigger every day! Check out the site and please feel free to post any events you don’t see :)

  16. July 22nd, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    The Secret is out NBR is more then worth lacing up for, as a member for 3 years (So I’m biased) it is the club that has something for everyone from beginners to seasoned racing veterans. Most runs accommodate all paces that no runner is left behind. All the run leaders are very supportive and are more then willing to help new comers. If your in our neck of the woods stop by for a run.

  17. Henry
    February 1st, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    I haven’t tried it yet but if you’re in Queens there is a group in Sunnyside Woodside area and they have a lot of regular runs. You can check them out on Meetup http://www.meetup.com/Woodside-Sunnyside-Runners/

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