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RUN ATL: ATLANTA’S BEST LOCAL RUN GROUPS

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SAMANTHA DIMAURO

JUL 14, 2020

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Atlanta is a runner’s city, no doubt about that. Did you know the world’s consistently largest 10k race—AJC Peachtree Road Race—is held here every Fourth of July? More than 55,000 runners show up each year to run through Buckhead and Midtown, winding down at the finish line at Piedmont Park — and you can bet more than a handful get their training in with one of the city’s run clubs.

But no matter what kind of runner you are—whether you run to wear medals or run to drink beer—there’s a place for you here.

ATLANTA TRACK CLUB

Atlanta Track Club | Facebook

This club is the one behind the AJC Peachtree Road Race, and it’s best for serious runners. Top professionals and Olympians join the Atlanta Track Club elite to race, train, and coach all levels of running groups. With a membership, you can join the Atlanta Track Club Grand Prix Race Series, along with dozens of other events throughout the year. Fitt Tip: with a coach or doctor’s recommendation, members can use the facility’s AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill Pro 200. NASA astronauts use this type of treadmill after missions to adapt back to gravity; it’s a very unique way to keep your muscles moving during recovery from an injury and to minimize stress and impact on your joints.

CHATTAHOOCHEE ROAD RUNNERS

Chattahoochee Road Runners | Facebook

If you want to see Metro Atlanta by foot, join Chattahoochee Road Runners for a Go The Distance Run through a different part of the city every Saturday. The Club supplies water and Powerade along the route (which can stretch up to 20 miles), and occasionally buys post-run breakfast. Follow their Facebook for information on where and when the weekly jaunt takes place — it’s a good chance to try out a run with them before committing to a yearly membership.

FLEET FEET ATLANTA

Fleet Feet Atlanta | Facebook

Fleet Feet Atlantais great for runners living North of Atlanta proper. If you do, chances are you’ve been to a Fleet Feet store in Johns Creek or Lawrenceville Square for a pair of ultra-personalized running shoes. Every Wednesday night, head to Lawrenceville for a two- to five-mile run — or if you’d rather hit the trails, get with the Dirtbags Run Club on the first and third Saturdays of every month. They meet at the beautiful Tribble Mill Park, starting at the Holly Pavilion at 8am. Fitt Tip: Tribble Mill Park is home to fishing pond, mountain biking trails, and cross country course; make a day of it.

GEORGIA ULTRARUNNING AND TRAILRUNNING SOCIETY

Amber Sky Raines‎GUTS | Facebook

The trail runners with GUTS have, well… guts. They take on challenges as harrowing as the Operation Endurance 24 Hour Run—a solo run or relay at the one-mile dirt track at Fort Benning, every March—and Red Top Rumble, an 11.5-mile trail race at Red Top Mountain Park in Cartersville. A membership gets you weekly training sessions (including “1st Tuesday” pizza and beer), sweet discounts at runner’s specialty stores, and reduced entry to all of the crazy GUTS-sponsored marathons and trail races you can run.

YETI TRAIL RUNNERS

Yeti Trail Runners | Facebook

These folks are wacky and irreverent and not for the faint of heart. If you like to earn your beers, meet up with the Yeti Trail Runners for some good-natured debauchery. You’ll run until you can’t run anymore and be rewarded with a cold one along the way. Join them for one of their many boozy fun runs, like the Ultra Trail Beer Mile: five trail miles and three brews from local craft brewery, Creature Comforts.

HIGHLAND RUNNERS

Highland Runners | Facebook

This locally-owned running store in Virginia Highlands is all about setting you up the right pair of shoes — and then getting you moving (fast) in them. Every Tuesday (except the second of the month), Highland Runners gather for both three- and five-mile running groups, with a new route each week. But what happens on the second Tuesday of every month, you ask? Join the group for Shack Track & Field, where you start your run at the Buckhead Shake Shack and end it with a free drink of your choice.

MARC

Run with MARC | Facebook

MARC is your friendly, neighborhood Metro Area Running Club. They gather every for Saturday for long runs and like to get to it on the Silver Comet Trail. (You know, that 61.5-mile-long paved route starting in Smyrna and ending at the Alabama state line? Yeah, that trail.) You can also enjoy open runs Tuesdays (in Smyrna) and Thursdays (in Marietta) while training with your new best friends for the Smyrna Village 10k, which takes place every year in November.

ATLANTA HASH HOUSE

@copenhagenh3 | Instagram

Here’s how Atlanta Hash House works: the “Hare” sets off on a run. To where? You don’t know. But you and your fellow runners—the “hounds”—will follow flour/chalk-made trail markers, which may or may not point you in the right direction. And at the end? Beer, food, and a clean change of clothes. If you’re a seasoned runner looking for a laid-back crew to run long distances with and justify your decision to drink a lot, look no further. The start time and place for each run is determined… eventually. Check out their events page to figure out when to show up, or find another local hash to hare off with.

PONCE CITY MARKET RUN CLUB

Ponce City Market | Facebook

Mountain High Outfitters and lululemon at Ponce City Market organize this Wednesday night run club.These guys will take you on a 2.5- or five-mile jaunt — but make sure you save some energy for the after-party at MHO. There, you’ll be rewarded with beer, snacks, and the opportunity to browse their selection of trail running shoes. Prepare to splurge.

CITY RUNNING TOURS

City Running Tours | Facebook

New in town? Not after a few runs with City Running Tours. The Midtown Atlanta 5k starts at Piedmont Park and brings you past landmarks like the Fox Theatre, The Varsity, and the Margaret Mitchell House. Check out the Atlanta Beer and Beltline 5k to explore the more eclectic spots along the Beltline (Little Five Points, the Eastside Trail, Inman Park), then finish at Krog Street Market with a well-earned brew. Each tour lasts about one hour, and introduces you to places that may become regular pit stops on your weekly runs.

BLACK GIRLS RUN!

City Running Tours | Facebook

The ladies at Black Girls RUN! are on a mission. Founders Toni Carey and Ashley Hicks-Rocha decided to tackle the rising obesity epidemic in the African-American community, and started this running group to encourage all women—especially women of color—to make fitness and healthy living a priority. Join them (it’s free!) for insider access to Atlanta events, group runs, and training sessions. Welcome to the MOVEment!

PEACHTREE CITY RUNNING CLUB

Peachtree City Running Club | Facebook

You can bet the second largest running club in Metro Atlanta has a lot to offer its members. With PCRC, you’ll get to participant in weekly fun runs, the Club Grand Prix Series, and run for goals like the 1,000/5,000/10,000/15,000 mile awards. Save the date for the Peachtree City Classic 15k/5k, once voted the Best Course by Georgia Athlete Magazine — and for good reason. It starts at the Frederick Brown Jr. Amphitheater and weaves through Peachtree City, passing over creek bridges and through the lovely Luther Glass Park.

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