There are many cities and towns across America with well established running clubs that provide a wealth of benefits to their members.
I’m very fortunate to be living in one such community that has an absolutely amazing running club and culture.
That said, there are also many cities and towns across the country that don’t have an organized running club for one reason or another.
If you find yourself living in an area without one, you should really think about starting a running club for your community.
5 Ideas for Banding Together and Starting a Running Club
Starting a running club may seem like a big undertaking.
If you’re like most modern day humans, you’re already so busy with life and family and running that adding another thing to the mix seems out of the question.
I get it. But remember, starting a running club doesn’t have to be solely your responsibility.
It’s a club, remember?
If I was going to try and start a new running club, here are the first five steps I would take. And as you’ll see, none of these steps are really that difficult or time consuming.
- Connect with Other Runners in Town: A club of 1 isn’t much of a club, so the first step to starting a running club needs to be connecting with the other runners in your area. Organize a weekend long run and invite every runner you know. Don’t know any runners in your area? Meetup.com is a great resource for getting people together and it’s free to use. Even if only 2 or 3 others show up, you can plant the seed with them and see what they think.
- Talk With Members of Other Clubs: I feel like we’ve already established runners as good people who don’t mind helping each other out/offering advice when asked. So ask! Contact other running clubs both near and far and ask those in charge what advice they would have for starting a running club.
- Get On the Internet: If you haven’t done so already, at this point you NEED to get a presence on the internet. You don’t need to spend any money on a fancy website yet, but getting a site with some basic information and contact details is huge! If I’m new to an area and I’m looking to find a running club, the first thing I’m going to do is google “<city name> running club”. If you’re starting a running club, get online and allow people to find you! Down the road you can worry about a fancy site, an interactive FB group, and whatever else you want to have. But you need a simple page online, and there are plenty of high quality and free options available.
- Find Your “Spot”: Every club needs a club house. Talk to locally owned restaurants and see if they wouldn’t mind hosting running club meetings. At first, meetings don’t have to be super fancy, but bringing the club together on a semi-regular basis helps to build momentum, foster community, and spark ideas for ways to continue to grow the running club.
- Start Running Together: There are many things where the “if you build it, they will come” philosophy is off base. That said, if you’re serious about starting a running club I believe that putting it out there will attract others. The best way to put it out there is to get your group together and go for a group run. Then when you meet other runners, just let them know that y’all are putting the group together and every Saturday you meet at the local coffee house at 6 am for a group run. And then invite them to join you next week.
Starting a running club may seem like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be. These five steps will help you get started, gain traction, and add some new members without a huge time or financial commitment.
And I promise, the relationships that you create/nurture during the process will far exceed the time and energy that you put into it.
A running club is an awesome thing to be a part of, and if there isn’t one in your area I can’t encourage you enough to consider starting one for your community today.