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RUN THE DISTRICT: THE BEST RUN CLUBS IN WASHINGTON, DC

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KARA MCCARTNEY

JUL 14, 2020

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IMAGE VIA DISTRICT RUNNING COLLECTIVE FACEBOOK

Whether you’re running through the Mall or just running to catch the Metro, you’ll never have to run solo in DC. There’s a group tailored to almost every fitness level and area of interest. So if you’re shooting for the top ten in Cherry Blossom, or just want someone to keep you from getting lost in Rock Creek, you’ll find one to match your goals and routine. Take a look at these groups running around the District:

CAPITAL AREA RUNNERS

Capital Area Runners (or CARs, if you speak DC runner) is a fairly competitive group centered on long distance training. Its 200 members span from intermediate athlete to Olympic marathon qualifiers, bringing a wide range of talent to the group. If you’re just starting out, join in Wednesday evenings for a recovery run at Road Runner Sports in Falls Church, or hit the C&O Canal Saturdays or Sundays for a morning long run. Expect everything from distance runs to interval track workouts to tempo runs too!

PACERS SOCIAL RUNNING CLUB

If you’ve ever run…well, anywhere in this city, chances are you’ve passed by a Pacers store. With five area locations, a full race calendar, and group runs held almost every day of the week, this store offers much more to the running community than apparel. Community fun runs are held Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, as well as Tuesday and Thursday evenings. How do you become a Pacer? By paying an annual fee, you can enroll in a formal training program and train under a coach who will oversee your progress.

POTOMAC RIVER RUNNING COMPANY

If you ever need someone to run with, just drop by your local PR Running store. Free community fun runs are hosted by at least one store each night of the week, and It’s not uncommon for runners to grab a bite to refuel post workout! If you’re looking for something a bit more competitive, PR has its own racing team as well. Teammates meet up for informal workouts during the week, and receive free access to PR races.

GEORGETOWN RUNNING CLUB (GRC)

The blue and white GRC logo is a familiar site at DC area races—particularly if you’re located near the front of the pack. If you’re a former collegiate runner or have lofty goals for your upcoming season, you should consider training with GRC. Expert coach Jerry Alexander trains those competing anywhere from the mile to the marathon. Organized practices are held Wednesday evenings at 6:30PM at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School.

MONTGOMERY COUNTRY ROAD RUNNERS (MCRRC)

MCRRC is one of the largest running groups in the nation—pretty cool that they’re in our own backyard! Their programs come in individual and family packages, so you can whip the whole gang into shape. Organized practices are held each day of the week, with each run accommodating various fitness levels. Nervous about joining a running group? MCRCC’s “Back of the pack” runs may be the perfect way to get started.

DC CAPITAL STRIDERS

Sometimes, you just need a running buddy to help you stay motivated. We get that. And so do the Capital Striders. DCCS holds group runs every night of the week, and newcomers are always welcome. Runners of all speeds are invited to partake in their group runs, which are held twice per day (most runs begin at 6:30AM and 6:30PM). DCCS meets at Columbia Heights, 14th Street, Chinatown, and the National Mall, so you’re sure to find a location near your neighborhood.

DISTRICT RUNNING COLLECTIVE

The District Running Collective was founded to promote culture, diversity, and community through healthy living. If you’re someone who believes running is all about fun, this is the group for you. The collective meets every Wednesday at 6:30PM at the Coupe in Columbia Heights. Oh, and membership is completely FREE. Runners of all speeds are welcome, as the founders hope to make running “less like a chore, and more like a lifestyle.”

DC FRONT RUNNERS

Serving DC’s LGBTQ community, DC Front Runners welcomes runners of all fitness levels. An annual membership costs just $25, and gives you access to all group runs. Runners gather each Tuesday evening at 7:00PM at the intersection of 23rd and P Street NW in the spring and summer months, and in the lobby of Union Station from September through March.

DC ROAD RUNNERS

DC Road Runners’ primary focus is promoting running in the community. It’s also the best deal in town, as a $20 annual membership gives you a free entry to 19 races per year. Lace ’em up and join in for a 10 mile run Monday mornings, a Thursday morning track workout, or a weekend long run. For an additional fee, DC Road Runners can help you train for your upcoming race—offering concentrated programs ranging from couch-to-5k to marathon training. If you’re looking to lead the pack or collect some medals, join their High Performance Training Group.

WASHINGTON RUNNING CLUB (WRC)

If you’ve ever played a team sport, you know the camaraderie team-based athletics can bring. WRC is bringing this same sense of community to the DC running scene. The club grabs coffee together after each run, and participates in social activities throughout the year. While runners of all fitness levels are welcome, WRC is made up of mostly experienced runners. The group meets every Sunday at 8AM in front of CB2 in Georgetown, running anywhere from 8-20 miles. An annual membership is just $20/year, but that includes the happy hours, volunteer opportunities, and weekly track workouts.

CAPITOL HILL RUNNING CLUB

The Capitol Hill Running Club started 15 years ago by the Marine Corps Legislative Liaison Office on Capitol Hill. Each spring, the club helps congressional staff members put down the bills and train for the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM). There are no fees to join, and all are welcome – even those that don’t run the MCM. In the offseason, the group meets at the Ulysses S. Grant statue near the reflecting pool at 6:30AM every Tuesday and Thursday for a four-miler.

NORTHERN VIRGINIA RUNNING CLUB

Since the 1970s, the NOVA running club has brought community (and a little friendly competition) to Arlington and Alexandria. Come all ye runners, this club is for everyone—from the former collegiate athlete to those training for their first 5K. An annual membership of $50 allows you to train under a professional coach, while being part of a great running community. Join the group on Tuesdays at 6:30PM at Wakefield High School for an interval or Thursdays at 6:15PM at Bluemont Park for a tempo.

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