Running is a way of life for many here in Jax. But hitting the pavement alone isn’t always the most exciting way to get your sweat on.
Enter run clubs. Run clubs are free groups you can join that offer the opportunity to connect with fellow runners, so you can stay in shape while staying social.
Most clubs have meetups after work (a few exceptions), so it’s a perfect way to break up the work week and get your work out in while making friends and enjoying the beautiful parks and other scenic locations around Jax.
Regardless of your skill level or the day of the week, there’s a Jax run club that’s perfect for you. Read below for some of our favorite run clubs that combine fitness with fun:
Looking for a fun, casual running group that also loves to drink? Jax Beach Runners is your group. Meeting at different places throughout the week (with most of them being bars that are beachside), a popular favorite is the Wednesday Green Room Brewery Run, which starts at 7 pm. The group meets in the parking lot and has a pre-measured 3-mile loop as well as a 5-mile run to help you burn off the calories you’ll drink following the run. All running and drinking skill levels are welcome. The best part? Green Room discounts your beer afterward if you do the run, so that should be some sort of incentive to exercise!
#FrayLife Tip: They are kind-of off the grid, so the best way to find them is to hop on www.meetup.com and just search the “Jax Beach Runners” to join!
1st Place Sports Running Club
With a number of stores, 1st Place Sports does weekly group runs Monday through Thursday (all are free). They mostly have 5K distances, but will vary how far they go depending on the day. With over 300 members in their run club and a very competitive racing team, 1st Place Sports basically controls the running world in Jacksonville, so they are a great group to join. Some of the racing members take it very seriously, but a lot of Jax people just social run to burn some calories.
#FrayLife Tip: They do their Brewery Run on Wednesday at 6:30 at Aardwolf Brewery if you’re looking for a fun way to earn your beer.
Although the main goal of this program is helping people train for a half or full marathon, the Jacksonville Galloway Training Program is for all levels of runners. As one of the more popular running clubs, this group really embraces the fact that people have lives and their description even notes that this is for “those who have jobs, families, and a life.” It’s named after Jeff Galloway, a great Olympic marathoner, and they host a number of shorter weekly runs. If you’re a snail, but enjoy running, their group runs feature walking breaks and they have different paced groups, so absolutely excellent if you still want to give the whole running thing a whirl. They meet on Saturday mornings all across Jacksonville and is a group for those that need some encouragement and love to socialize.
#FrayLife Tip: A Group Leader is assigned to each running group to keep the speed slow enough, and to enforce walk breaks from the beginning to the end. You might not want to join if you are a serious runner, because you will get seriously frustrated.
If a Running Club were to win an award for trying to make running fun for anyone, PRS Running Club would be the winner. They have group runs all week in multiple locations, but one of our favorites is Wednesday nights where they hold track sessions at Episcopal High School. The club is super inviting and welcomes all pace levels. Because they are the most inventive and fun, they sponsor the Bold City Beer Run Series and the Krispy Kreme Challenge. However, the BEST part is that their mascot is a running kiwi bird named Paul. We could tell you about the history of Paul, but let’s just take him for what he is – seriously dope.
#FrayLife Tip: PRS Running Club publishes a weekly newsletter, the Kiwi News, and has monthly socials to boost that community feel. If you’re looking for a club that feels bigger than just a weekly club, PRS Running Club is really into making friendships.
The Florida Striders focus on giving back to children and sponsor 5 races each year with the proceeds going to fund their Children’s Running Program. Always encouraging and promoting a healthy lifestyle through running, the Florida Striders is one of the largest running clubs in North Florida and impacts 18,000 children. The biggest con of this group is that you have to pay for your membership and their cheapest option is $20, but never fear, the pros of running (like a hot skinny bod) outweigh the cons of a lighter wallet. Plus, it’s for a good cause.
#FrayLifeTip: Last year, they were recognized as the Running Club of the Year by the Road Runners Club of America.
With all of these clubs having an end goal of fitness and community, you can’t go wrong with any of them! Whether your goal is to run and burn off some beer calories, meet a friend, or seriously train for a marathon, you have all of these options available. So run on, my friends, run on.
View More Articles By Lexi Aughenbaugh
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