There are three types of runners: those who run to win races, those who run to improve their health, and those who run for beer (and maybe a few slices of pizza). It doesn’t matter which category you fall into, it’s always more fun to run with a crew.
With that in mind, we’ve rounded up the best run groups in San Diego for every type of runner! We’ve organized this list from run-focused to fun-focused to beer-focused (a logical progression). Get in on the action with one (or a few) of these groups.
San Diego Track Club
During the summer you can find track club taking over the trails of Balboa Park every Tuesday night, running hill repeats galore. During the winter they move to the Balboa High School track for some seriously tough intervals. Though, Coach Paul splits the crew into squads based on pace, so you’ll always have people your speed to run with. Speedwork and hills not enough to satiate your masochistic love of grueling workouts? Show up on Saturdays for a long run that’s guaranteed to wear you out. Fitt tip: Being a Track Club member ($50/year) will get you discounts at local running shops and races as well as a marathon training program to help you nail that 26.2 mile goal.
Hoofin’ it in North Park, Milestone Running’s Hump Day Run Group channels the neighborhood’s vibe: Hardcore meets hipster, with a dash of SoCal casual. The store’s dedicated runners are like family. And this community comes out in full force on Wednesday nights at 6PM for their weekly three- to five-mile group runs. Even in the dead of winter, 75+ people will show up for those pitch black and freezing cold (translation: 55 degree) night runs. Afterward, stay for the raffle. You just might win a pair of socks. Or a pineapple. Or a craft brew. For real, the raffle is random and hilarious — and worth the wait post-run!
Movin Shoes Soledad Challenge
Sometimes Monday can feel like an uphill climb. So finish it off literally, and figuratively, at the top by taking on the Mt. Soledad Challenge from Movin Shoes running shop in Pacific Beach. Meet at their store at 6PM for a 10k (out-and-back) route that will take you to the highest peak in the ’hood. Enjoy the view from the top, then cruise back down and roll right into the rest of your week.
The RWB stands for Red, White, and Blue and this veterans organization is so much more than a run group. Their goal is to help veterans of all ages re-integrate into their communities through community events, connection, and activities. Weekly group hikes, yoga classes, bootcamps, and yes, runs (even with other run groups) draw in a whole range of members. You’ll be able to easily pick out members by their red t-shirts with a screen printed eagle as well as their dedication and serious positivity. And as San Diego is one of the largest military hubs in the US, the Team RWB chapter here boasts over 500 people.
Can you guess what this run group does best? The Sunday morning crew heads out from the Just Run store in Bird Rock and takes a three-or-so-mile jaunt around the neighborhood. Then, the fun, you’ll stop at an oceanfront park for yoga, and chase it with (you got it) brunch! Really, nothing says California like spending your Sunday sweating and stretching by the Pacific and topping it all off with an acai bowl. Oh, and if you’re into this store, which we’re sure you will be, swing back through on a Thursday night for their weekly run club (free swag likely).
Mikkeller Running Club
Founded in Copenhagen by the owner of Mikkeller Brewing (Mikkel himself), this group fully believes in staying fit to live a longer and healthier life. This includes drinking beer, which is their passion. They meet up for training runs that always end up at a local bar — not only in Copenhagen, but all over the world. Places like Tokyo, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Chicago, and (duh) San Diego. And while the runs aren’t on a consistent basis, you can always rock your Mikkeller Running Club shirt when you are training and racing in San Diego for a chance meeting with your kindred beer loving spirits!
Hash House Harriers
Hashers (as they’re affectionately known) are a “drinking club with a running problem”, famous for giving each other crazy nicknames on adventurous runs. In fact, once you’ve been given a nickname, chances are people will promptly forget the name your parents gave you at birth. Hashers organize scavenger hunt-like runs and post the details on the San Diego website. Most runs have a small fee (think less than $10) and include a finish with beer. You’ll find themes from onesies to bar crawls to puppy-friendly trails. But no matter the details, you’re bound to have fun with your new friends Peanut Butter, Spreadsheet, Swing Low Don Julio, and Electile Dysfunction. Seriously.