By Anastasia Hansen
No matter where you are in your running endeavors, running groups are a great place to finding camaraderie, friendship, and accountability. Over the years, I’ve dabbled in a bunch of run clubs in Houston and the ones on this list are the ones that I keep returning to. Whether it’s your first mile or five hundredth, these clubs are free, offer something for everyone and are especially great for beginners and those looking to get into the sport!
P.S. I’m an ambassador for the 2019 Houston Marathon & Half Marathon! Have you signed up yet? Use my ambassador code here to register for the race: haku.ly/anastasia
Kung Fu Running Club
- Type: Social
- Date: Wednesdays
- Distance: 5 miles (6:15pm) or 3 miles (6:30pm)
- Type: Training
- Date: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 5:30am – 6:30am
- Distance: 3-5 miles depending on the workout
If you hate running in straight lines, then Wills Hills is for you. Led by the quirky af runner Will, this group meets in the wee-hours of the morning and is chock-full of, well, hills. A workout teaser is sent out via email the night before along with the run location, which rotates between Spotts Park, Lost Lake and Memorial Park, and sometimes even Heights Blvd. I like this group because the variety of the hills and off-the-path workouts keeps things fresh. Plus, it’s nice to get in a run before work, and take advantage of the coolest part of the day. The only way to know where the club is meeting next, is to get on the email list. The workouts are challenging and engaging, ranging from running the clover leafs around the Waugh bridge to doing sprints off-trail in Buffalo Bayou. All in all very adventurous and makes for great cross training.
- Type: Training
- Date: Tuesdays (5:30am), Thursdays (6:30pm), Saturdays (6:00am)
- Distance: Varies
Coordinated by the owners of the treadmill running studio RacePace, this run club meets on Tuesday mornings for track workouts at Heights High School, Thursday evenings for fun runs that end at Holler Brewing, and during marathon season early mornings on Saturdays for long runs. Distances vary. For those looking to get extra mileage in before/after the Track Tuesdays, you can meet at RacePace or Golden Bagel to run to the high school. Thursdays are chill social runs with options for a 3-mile loop around the bayou. Long Run Saturdays vary the distances and ($5 drop-in) start up in August in anticipation for the Houston Marathon. Join the RacePace Running Community Facebook group to get news of the weekly runs and track workouts ahead of time. Once you’re hooked on the outdoor runs, you can compliment your training with classes inside the studio. Think a spin class but with treadmills – here’s 10 Things to Know Before You Go.
Laces Out Eureka Heights Running Club
- Type: Social
- Date: Thursdays 6:45pm
- Distance, 2, 3, or 5 mile run
Once again, we find that running pairs nicely with beer. Each week Eureka Heights offers three runs cleverly named after their different brews. If you’re just starting out as a runner or are not in the mood to take on the 100+ degree heat, the 2-mile option is a great run to get your toes wet with the running spirit. Depending on the distance, the courses loop through the Heights neighborhood and along White Oak Bayou. At the beginning of each run, you check-in and after various milestones you get Eureka Heights swag, such as headbands (5 runs), t-shirt (10 runs), and even socks (20 runs). Anyone who completes the run is eligible for $2 off beer. Might I suggest a refreshing Buckle Bunny?
Run for Wellness Free 5K Series
- Type: Race
- Date: Sundays 7am
- Distance: 3 miles
The Run for Wellness Free 5K Series is the brightest hidden running gem in Houston. The non-profit Houston Wellness Project (which is actually one of the beneficiaries of the Houston Marathon Foundation) is the perfect excuse to race. The free 5K races occur on White Oak Bayou the first Sundays of the month and at George Bush Park the last Sundays. I’ve also seen events on Facebook at San Jacinto Park, the Heights, and Sugarland. The events are pretty low maintenance. You can sign up ahead of time online and get a bib (usually recycled from another race) if you want to be timed. Typically around 50-100 people show up. Volunteers set up 1 water station at the halfway point. I’ve spontaneously decided to go to the event without signing up, so I didn’t get timed, but the energy and vibe of the race is perfect regardless. I love these races when preparing for a big one (like the Houston Half!) because I get to practice race day conditions–waking up early, figuring out what to eat, how to stretch, how to deal with crowd of people at the start line etc. See the schedule of upcoming Run for Wellness races here.
For a more extensive list of running clubs in Houston, check out HARRA’s list here. Also see my other articles on 12 Places to Run in Houston, 5 Places to Trail Run in Houston, and 10 Reasons to Run the Houston Marathon or Half!