We San Franciscans are a social bunch. And no doubt that extends into our athletic endeavors. Nothing makes a three-mile jaunt or a 20-mile training run go by faster than having a buddy to chat with along the way. Or buddies.
Whether you’re running for fun or training for a marathon, there’s a run club in San Francisco that’ll follow your lead…or drag you along. Find your stride–pretty much any day of the week–by joining up with any of these local run clubs.
San Francisco Road Runners
The largest run club in San Francisco, the San Francisco Road Runners meets for Tuesday night track workouts at Kezar Stadium, tempo runs on Thursday evenings at Golden Gate Park, and group long runs on Saturday mornings. The Tuesday and Thursday runs are only open to members, but anyone can join the Saturday morning runs which depart at 745am. The meeting place changes week to week and can be found on their website. Worried about being left in the dust? Don’t. They have pace groups from 7:30 minute miles to 12:30 minute miles and offer distances of three to 16 miles.
Golden Gate Running Club
Offering track workouts on Wednesday at 700pm at Kezar Stadium and group runs on Sunday at 10am at the Warming Hut in Crissy Field, the Golden Gate Running Club invites runners of all abilities to come join. If you’re looking to make like-minded friends, their annual membership fee of $50 includes lots of social bonding activities outside of running like happy hours, baseball game outings, and group dinners.
Impala Racing Team
For women serious about running, you can apply to join the elite Impala Racing Team. They compete in the USA Track and Field Pacific Association and that’s a big deal. We watched a few of their members run the Olympic Marathon Trials in LA in February 2016 if that gives you any inclination of their talent. And if you’re accepted (there’s a time standard) to meet and interview process), you can expect comped race entries, personalized training, and a group of women who also want to take their running to the next level.
Nike Run Club SF
Whether you’re looking for a speed workout, long run, or a recovery run, you can join the Nike Run Club SF to log some miles. They host a Saturday long run every other week starting at their Union Street store and bi-weekly Tuesday night track workouts that meet at Kezar Stadium (obviously, a popular run spot). Register online prior to the event and don’t forget to put a reminder in your calendar!
lululemon Group Runs
lululemon’s Cow Hollow outpost on Union Street meets every Monday at 630pm. The run is manageable and the conversation is usually heavy. And you can keep it rolling as you follow the group to the Blue Light Bar next door to refuel and socialize after the run. Fitt tip: We’ve heard rumors of free gear(!) from time-to-time, if that gets you out the door.
Fleet Feet San Francisco
While being our favorite place in the city to score a new pair of running kicks, Fleet Feet is also our favorite place in the city to meet for a group run. Every Tuesday at 630pm they host three-five mile fun runs from their SoMa and Marina stores. They often offer the chance to take shoes from Adidas, Brooks, and Hoka (to name a few!) out for a test run at this time, no strings attached (other than coming to give them back, of course!).
Dolphin South End Running Club
Is your running style more laid-back? Then the Dolphin South End Running Club is for you. Their motto is “start slow and taper off” (and don’t we all feel that way some days?). Their other claim to fame is hosting over 40 races per year. Most are low-key 5K and 10K cross-country races in Golden Gate Park or at Baker Beach. Annual dues are $25, and you’ll pay a $3 as opposed to $5 race fee. Members are also required to volunteer at three events per year, but that’s just being a good neighbor. Meeting location time and place varies each week, so stay up to date on their Google Calendar.
If you’ve run the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon and 5K, you’ve likely heard of Pamakids (they are the presenting sponsor). Inspired by family group runs around Lake Merced, Pamakids was formed as one of the first running clubs open to the whole family in the area (Pamakids is short for ‘Pa, Ma, and the Kids’). For $5, you can join them for Tuesday night track workouts at Kezar Stadium at 630pm (the fee that helps subsidize the coach, Andy Chen).
San Francisco FrontRunners
Founded in 1973, San Francisco FrontRunners was the first running club in the nation to promote running for the LGBTQ community and their supporters. And they want everyone to run; you’ve got options. You can join them at the Stow Lake Boathouse in Golden Gate Park Saturday mornings at 9am for their one-mile walk around Stow Lake, the three-mile Carousel run, the four-mile Bison Trail run, or the five-mile ocean run.
Half Full Running Club
Are half marathons or full marathons your thing? Then you’ll want to go for a run with the Half Full Running Club. They’ll kick your butt for your 13.1 or 26.2 and have a team of experienced coaches and pacers to help you run your goal time. Whether you run a 7:00-minute mile pace or a 13:00-minute mile pace (keep on chuggin’), you’ll love their Monday and Wednesday runners that meet at 600pm at the Ferry Building. You can find other impromptu runs on Twitter.
San Francisco Track and Field Club
Aiming to promote LGBT athletes in the Bay Area, the San Francisco Track and Field Club members train for various track events (100m, 200m, 400m, 800m 1,500m, 5,000m, and 110m hurdles). SFTFC boasts free membership, a track workout every Sunday morning from late January to early October, and a number of track meets available from local meets to National Championships. The group meets at 1000am on Sundays (rain or shine!) at San Francisco State University’s Cox Stadium.
Back On My Feet
Come on, team. Give back to the San Francisco community while you run. Back On My Feet recruits members at homeless and residential facilities to commit to running three days a week in the early morning. After 30 days, members with 90% attendance can move into the second phase of the program called Next Steps, which provides education, employment, and housing opportunities. Where do you come in? Once you attend a 60-minute orientation, you can run with the group Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings at 530am. Awesome. FYI: They just launched in SF, so sign-up to be notified of their group runs here.