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RUN PHILLY: LOCAL RUN CLUBS TO JOIN IN PHILADELPHIA

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JENNY WILLDEN

JUL 14, 2020

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IMAGE VIA PHILADELPHIA RUNNER FACEBOOK

We get it — running's hard. And even if you have a killer playlist that you never get tired of, going for a jog or training for a race solo is lonely. That's where Philly's many running crews come in. Runners of every pace are welcome, and whether you choose roads or trails, run long or short, there’s a group in the City of Brotherly Love for you.

FISHTOWN BEER RUNNERS

@phillyphotoculture Instagram

This club’s meteoric rise has spawned chapters across the state, a documentary called Beer Runners, and a massive community of beer-loving runners throughout the city. It's all the result of founder David April reading a study from a Spanish professor, who found that moderate beer consumption is just as beneficial as water for rehydration and post-exercise recovery. Now, local runners gather every Thursday at Palmer Park in Fishtown, at 7th & Bainbridge in Bella Vista, and at City Hall for a three- to five-mile run to a local tavern. Membership is free, but make sure you bring cash to pay for your beer(s).

PHILADELPHIA RUNNER

Philadelphia Runner Facebook

Free beer, race entry discounts, prizes — you never know what you’ll get at one of Philadelphia Runner's run clubs. Every Thursday evening at PR's Center City store, you'll log some miles through Center City and along one of the nation’s best urban running trails — the Schuylkill River Trail. And if you want more, you'll find weekly runs in University City on Wednesdays and Sundays, Manayunk on Thursdays, at Valley Forge National Historic Park first and third Saturdays of the month, and at Brandywine Creek State Park every other Sunday morning.

SHACK TRACK & FIELD

Shake Shack | Facebook

Technically, Shake Shack's running group is powered by Philadelphia Runner, but it deserves some individual recognition for its perks. Meeting at PR's Center City shop on the second Tuesday of every month, runners will take a three- to five-mile community jog to the University City Shack. And the biggest draws: the first drink is free, plus Shake Shake will transport your gear from Philadelphia Runner as a courtesy!

CHASING TRAIL

@chasingtrailphl Instagram

Skip the crowds of Kelly Drive and wander the woods with this Sunday morning group instead. Meeting at Valley Green Inn every Sunday, you'll explore the Wissahickon’s vast trail network with fellow trail-loving runners. And you don’t need to be an expert trail runner to join, and it’s probably best if you’re not — they focus more on fun than speed, so expect a high-five or hug when you're done.

CITY FIT GIRLS

@cityfitgirls instagram

Rally your girls for this extra-social running group. City Fit Girls is a Philadelphia-proud organization of strong ladies, and run leaders Sharon, Rachel, and Takia show up at Dilworth Park every Wednesday evening ready to put you through the paces. Whether you’re training to run Broad Street or your first 5k, these three- to five-mile runs (plus online accountability and strength programming) will have you training with one of the most supportive crews in the city.

PHILLY RUNNERS

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Philly Runners prides itself in never canceling group runs — ever. Thus you're guaranteed to find this club, founded in 2002, at the bottom of the Rocky Steps in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Tuesday and Thursday nights and Saturday mornings. Tuesdays are typically casual out-and-back runs along scenic Kelly Drive, Thursday evenings focus on speedwork and hills, and Saturdays are a chance to go long (a little over eight miles). They also know Kelly Drive can be sorta sketchy after dark, so the crew always splits into pace groups on Tuesdays, assuring no one has to run alone.

SOUTH PHILLY STRIDERS

@run215 Instagram

Early birds get the shaft on running clubs in this town, but thanks to South Philly Striders, those that like to run before the sun finally have a club to call their own. Serving South Philadelphia, Penn’s Landing, Old City, and Queen Village neighborhoods, the Striders meet Tuesday and Thursday at 6:15am and Saturday at 8am at Front and South streets.

WEST PHILLY RUNNERS

@phillyrun Instagram

Come hail or high water, this crew always meets on Wednesdays at 6:30pm at 45th and Locust. Choose your own distance: two-, four-, and six-mile routes each week. All three distances start together and end at the same place. Don’t worry about being left in the dust, though — while runners typically run 10-minute miles or faster, all paces are welcome. Need for more speed? They host an interval training workout on Monday evenings at Penn Park.

BLACK MEN RUN

Black Men Run Facebook

African American men can run three times a week with this supportive group focused on goal setting and fitness. Seasoned sprinters and total newbs are welcome for these five-mile runs held on Saturday mornings at 7:30am (meeting at 33rd & Diamond), Monday evenings at 6:30pm (63rd & Market), and Wednesday evenings at 7pm (Lloyd Hall).

MANAYUNK RUNNING CLUB

@runningwithmo Instagram

This club is all about balance. Most of its members know they'll never stand on a podium, but they're still serious about their training. Join them on Tuesday and Thursday evenings for four to seven miles through Manayunk (just turn back early to reduce distance). No judgment if you turn back early… that just means you’ll be first in line at the bar!

PASSYUNK BEER AND JAVA RUNNERS

phillymag.com

The only thing a beer running group is missing? Coffee. Join this community club for runs at the Passyunk Fountain for group runs at an eight- to 10-minute-per-mile pace. About that beer and java... Tuesday evening three- to five-milers start at 7pm and end at local bars; Thursday morning four- to seven-milers begin at 6:30am and finish at East Passyunk coffee shops.

ORIGINAL PROPAGANDA ATHLETIC CLUB

@reggyville for @originalpropagandaathleticclub | Instagram

Original Propaganda wants to become a part of Philadelphia’s cultural fabric, somewhere at the intersection of sport, fashion, and social activism. Hands down, they get our vote for best gear in the city, but it’s not all for show — you’re expected to sweat in that O.P.A.C. tank or hoodie. Join up Tuesdays 6:30pm meetup (7pm run time) at Ten Stone Pub in Center City.

PHILADELPHIA FRONT RUNNERS

Philadelphia Frontrunners | Facebook

You can find a Front Runners club in just about every major city in the United States and as far away as Australia. And Philly’s community is a shining example of what this LGBT running and walking group stands for. They balance the runs on Monday evening (at William Way Center) and Saturday morning (at Lloyd Hall) with “food, fun, and frivolity” — otherwise known as a post-run boozy brunch.

PENNYPACK TRAIL RUNNERS

Pennypack Trail Runners | Facebook

If you’re an avid trail runner, you know Saturday mornings aren’t for sleeping in. No exception with the passionate Pennypack Trail Runners. Bright and early, every Saturday morning, the club runs the dirt trails of Pennypack Park. As a beginner, you’ll form up with the casual group for one to three miles at a reasonable pace. Trail junkies? You’re in with the experienced group, who wouldn’t call it a Saturday if they didn’t come back with muddy legs during the brisk four to six miles.

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