A list of free run clubs in New York City

A few years ago when I was living in DC, I attempted one run with my local Lululemon run club.  I made it three blocks before hiding behind a building and running off on my own (the Great Escape of Lululemon Logan Circle). At the time, running was a space for me to mentally check out. I’d pick a route ad hoc, listen to my tunes and do very much my own thing. I thought a run club would make me a stronger runner, but I wasn’t ready for the discipline that running by someone else’s rules required. (I also didn’t want to wait at a red light, a courtesy you have to extend when running in a city with a group.)

Running on the pier off the West Side Highway

Running on the pier off the West Side Highway with Lululemon Lincoln Square

Older, wiser and more into running, I gave it another go last week with the Lincoln Square Lululemon run club. Runners met at the store and we jogged together to the West Side Highway. Each run club is lead by a Lulu Ambassador. I’m not totally sure on the running background of each of the ambassadors, but Abby (the leader of the Lulu Lincoln Center club) was more laid back than drill sergeant.  She made sure we worked at a level that everyone could keep up. We did sprints up and down Pier by Pier i cafe. In between the sprints we did burpees, jumping jacks, mountain climbers. Then we finished off with a 2-mile run up the WSH.

The workout changes each week. I’m on the list for the Lincoln Center group and they send an email out the day before with the prescribed run (though it can change day of) so you have a sense of what you’re in for (ie: long run, hill sprints, West Side Highway/Central Park)

I really loved it. I’ll definitely be back.

A run club can help to diversify your running routine and it also encourages accountability ( I mean probably, right?) Below I aggregated a list of all of the free run clubs in NYC I know about for your running pleasure. What am I missing?

Free Run Clubs in New York City (Manhattan)

All links go directly to running group information and not promotional store stuff so click away for more deets.

Most Lululemon stores have one. They let you leave your belongings in a fitting room. You can also change in one of their changing rooms if you’re coming straight from work.

Jack Rabbit (the sneaker store) has a few locations and a few different clubs. They also let you leave your bags in the store and change in a fitting room.

  • The UWS store (140 W. 72nd Street) does a long run (10+ miles) at 8am on Sunday am and a shorter run Wednesday at 6:30am.
  • The UES Store (1255 Lexington Avenue) does a group run on Mondays at 7pm.
  • The Union Square Store (42 W. 14th Street ) does what is described as a fun run (conversational pace) Tuesdays at 7pm and a more hardcore run on Thursdays at 7pm (Runs are 7-10 miles at 9-10 min/mile pace). The Thursday run is informal and no Jack Rabbit staff are involved but they still let you leave your belongings in the store.

New York Running Company stores unsurprisingly also have runs clubs. You can leave your belongings in the store while you run. They also have events where you can test out new sneakers on your run.

  • Columbus Circle Store (Time Warning Building) hosts a more casual run Monday at 6:30pm, on Tuesdays at 6:30pm the run is more of a workout (says the lady on the phone) and Wednesdays at 6:30pm is “Ladies Night”, which while co-ed is I think NYRC code for more of a party.
  • Upper East Side Store (1051 Third Ave) hosts a run Wednesdays at 6:30pm and Saturdays at 10am.

November Project: Every Wednesday at 6:28 am at Gracie Mansion. This is more than just a run, it’s a free workout with some running involved. Ali on the Run wrote about it, so read that for more information.)  November Project meets on Mondays and Fridays at different spots around the city.

Paragon (18th and Broadway) hosts a running group Tuesdays at 6:30pm.

Nike (welcome to NIKETOWN)

  • Flatiron Store (20th and 5th) hosts a number of runs each week. Tuesdays and Thursdays they run at 6:30pm. Fridays at 6:30am, Saturdays at 8am and Sunday beginner runs and info session at 10am
  • Niketown (Flagship store: 6 East 57th Street) meets every Tuesday at 6:30 pm (There is also a run and info session option for beginners and first timers on Tuesday only at 6:00 pm), Thursday at 6:30 pm, and Saturday at 9:00 am (Starting in June, Saturday long runs will begin at 8 am through the summer months).
  • Upper East Side Store (67th Street and 3rd) runs every Monday & Wednesday at 6:30pm and Saturdays at 8:00am

Athleta (Gap’s athletic clothes spin off stand-alone stores)

CitySports stores offer both a 3 mile and 5 mile route each week and welcome all paces.

What am I missing? Know another free run club in NYC? Leave it in the comments so I can add it (I’ll credit you if you like.)

15 Comments

  1. Susan Haber
    June 19, 2014 / 2:40 pm

    If I lived in NYC I would be there

  2. JW
    August 14, 2014 / 12:40 pm

    Great post! Yes, virtually all retail fitness and running stores in NYC have their own running clubs. You hit the big ones. And you nailed it — running with other people is a great way to stay motivated, be held accountable, and to diversify your training. Some other upsides to the retail stores are often free stuff, giveaways, food, and the most important thing in NYC: bag check!

    Are there other free running clubs that you didn’t mention? YES! In fact the list is so long there’s no way I’ll be able to remember them all. Maybe you could visit a few of these and do a follow up post? All of these are grassroots groups — started locally here in NYC with no national organizing body, corporate structure, etc. And most importantly these are all free. I’ve also parenthetically added the thing I like the most about each of these groups.

    * Orchard Street Runners (epic night races) – http://orchardstreetrunners.com/

    * NYC Bridgerunners (one of the longest running underground run crews in NYC) – http://instagram.com/bridgerunners

    * The Most Informal Running Club, Ever (huge group track workouts) – http://nyc.informalrunning.com/

    * NYC Fun Run (Wed. Run & Chug is enormously successful) – http://www.meetup.com/NYC-Fun-Run/

    * Shack Track & Field (great perks if you like shake shack!!!) – https://www.facebook.com/ShackTrackAndField

    * Blood, Sweat, and Cheers Run Club (FREE BEER!!!) – https://www.facebook.com/groups/168307826713835/

    * The Rise (Friday’s hill running workout will destroy anybody) – http://www.therisenyc.com

    * Runstreet (awesome Saturday runs) – http://www.meetup.com/Team-Runstreet/

    * Team Joe Coffee Running Club (coffee and running – it doesn’t get more NY than that) – https://www.facebook.com/groups/teamjoecoffee

    * Wanderlust 108 (Running, meditation, and yoga — great combo) – http://wanderlust108bklynrunclub.splashthat.com/

    • August 14, 2014 / 1:21 pm

      This is amazing!!! Thanks so much JW! Challenge accepted. Which one should I try first?

  3. Zuleika
    February 9, 2016 / 5:02 pm

    Which Club tailors to beginner runners?? I want to start jogging, but would like a group setting & to learn.

    • February 9, 2016 / 7:25 pm

      I would say November Project or a Lululemon club!

  4. Anna
    June 30, 2016 / 2:33 am

    The Lole store in Soho has a shakeout run every Monday night at 6:30pm. They usually do 3-4 miles, open to all levels and paces.
    https://m.facebook.com/lolenewyork/

    • June 30, 2016 / 7:12 am

      Great tip. Thank you.

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