Ah winter is upon us: the crisp air, the chilly temperatures, the low humidity...alright well maybe not this weekend. It was damn near 80 degrees. It was hot enough to see a bunch of runners out on the trail in shorts! It got me thinking that spring really isn't too far down the road, and with that, comes more days like this to get out and run.
Regardless of the weather, many runners will say that running is better when you run with friends. What better way to motivate yourself than talking with a few buddies as you push for that last mile, and it's easier to go grab a well deserved beer after finishing when ya got a running buddy to join you at the bar.
That idea is probably what has sparked the explosion of social running groups throughout Fort Worth lately. In the past year, so many of them have started it's hard to keep track. Some run in the morning,some run in the evening, some both and some the weekend. I decide to give a brief description of each along with when and where they all meet, so that no matter when you decide to run, you can always meet up with folks who you can convince to join you for a conversation or drink after you're done.
SOCIAL RUNNING (www.socialruns.com) Wednesdays @ 7:00 pm
Social Running (SR) is a group that's been active for a few years now. They are a great organization that caters towards runners of all paces. It started off as a group of runners that began running together, and it quickly transformed into a network of a huge group of runners. Their website explains that SR encourages high-fives, mingling, and sharing ideas. They run for different reasons but come together for two common things: running and socializing.
They group meets up at the Clear Fork Food Track Park off of Merrimac Circle. Usually they have a core group of regulars, and a big group of people that seem to rotate in and out. The last time I went, there were many people that were there who had just moved into town. It's a great place to meet new runners, but I would go on a nice day when the weather is great. They food truck park doesn't have much protection from the elements, so most people tend to high-tail it on bad days, making it difficult to meet new runners. Their course is a 4 mile loop course that runs through Trinity Park.
FORT WORTH RUNNING COMPANY (Mondays @ 7:00pm, 2401 West 7th Street)
Fort Worth Running Company has a group that started running on Monday evenings. I guess they wanted to get in on the social run craze. It's a small but dedicated group that usually runs at a faster pace than your average runner. They are still fairly social though and will gladly welcome new runners, even if they are slower than an average pace of 10 minutes per mile (what I consider the threshold between casual running and seasoned runners). Their route starts from their store, running on the Trinity Trails, mostly through Trinity park. Their course is an out and back, usually around 3 miles. I believe they congregate at Barcadia after their runs for a few "BEvERages".
LUKES LOCKER (Tuesdays and Thursdays @ 6:00am, multiple locations)
Lukes Locker was the social run group that I originally started running with in the mornings. This group has by far the most elite runners of any of the other groups in my humble opinion. They meet in the mornings, also like clockwork, no matter the weather conditions (except for lightning). This group is usually very fast, so you have to keep up, or there really won't be many people around to be social with. Unlike most of the other social run groups, this group runs a 6 mile course. The one I usually run with is off of ist 7th Street. They run and out and back on Tuesdays, and then a "hills" loop on Thursdays.
They beauty of becoming a regular with Lukes is that you actually get a discount when you shop at their stores. I'm not sure if it varies from store to store, but at the one I go to, it's 10% which is nice when you're buying $100 shoes.
Hash House Harriers (http://dfwhhh.org) (Varies depending on the club)
Hash House Harriers is probably the oddest of this group of social run clubs. There are stories about how they came to be and each one is different. They are a cross between a social hang out club, a drinking club, a running group, and an outdoor enthusiast club. They never meet in the same place two times in a row, and their runs usually have a little bit of "off road' running and hiking involved. I don't know much about them, but the website give a pretty good description of their organization.
Lone Star Runners (www.lonestarrunners.com) or (www.rundrinkbesocial.com)
Tuesday nights @ 7pm at Chimys Restaurant.
Well, we finally arrived at our social run group, Lone Star Runners of Cowtown. I won't elaborate much on our group, as the website "about us" section pretty much gives a good description. I will say a few things though. I know I am biased, but I believe our group actually has the best camaraderie of all of the groups. We always hang out after our runs and sit together and include everyone in the conversation. Chimy's also provides a great location, because regardless of the weather, we are always protected from the elements. Unlike the other groups, we have rendezvous point just in case the weather turns bad. Regardless of the weather, we'll still meet for the social aspect of our motto, and we normally stay socializing for over an hour after the end of our run.
I encourage one to check out all of these social run groups and see which one has a vibe that clicks with what you are looking for in a social run club. Regardless of where you go, you can bet on one thing: it's much better to run with friends than alone!