If it’s a solitary pastime you’re after, you’re all set. But if it’s a more social experience you crave as a runner, there are lots of ways to make running buddies. Take your pick from our five ways to go from lone wolf to leader of the pack.
One of the greatest things to happen to the running community is parkrun, the free, timed weekly 5K run phenomenon. There are now over 400 parkruns in the UK alone. All you need to do is find your nearest one on parkrun.org.uk, register with the site and print off your personal barcode. Then turn up, run, get your barcode scanned at the end and you’ll get your time later that day by text or email.
You’ll meet lots of like-minded folks willing to have a post-run chat over a cup of tea and a bacon sandwich (other fillings are available) in a nearby café. It’s a ready-made running community waiting to accept you.
One of the best ways to get to know people there is to lend a hand doing one of the volunteering roles like marshalling, scanning barcodes, timekeeping or handing out position tokens. Our tips on How to make the most of parkrun should also help.
2. Join a club
Running clubs are a great way to meet other runners. Most clubs meet twice during the week for training and will organise runs with sub-groups for runners of similar paces to ensure you do your sessions with people of the same ability level.
There are also numerous events organised by running clubs for other clubs to take part in, so you’ll be introduced to a whole world of runners you might not see at other events. Most clubs organise social evenings and fundraisers, too, so you’ll get to mingle with members over a drink or two.
Just don’t overdo it on the first social or you’ll attract some funny looks at the next training night. Still not sure? our 4 great reasons to join a running club should convince you!
3. Start a group
You don’t need to be part of a registered club to belong to a running collective. It might suit you better to form your own, more informal group; a band of friends or acquaintances who fancy meeting for a midweek run in your local area.
With chat apps like WhatsApp, it’s easy to coordinate times and locations that work around everyone’s schedules and before you know it you’ll have a weekly little gang to get the miles under your belt with.
There are also lots of groups aimed at particular people, like a school mums’ groups that start once the ankle-biters have disappeared through the gates for the day.
4. Write a blog
Penning your fitness adventures is a great way to get to know other runners. There are lots of running bloggers out there and they occasionally come together to take part in events or socialise.
Once your blog is under way, you’ll be busily promoting it on Twitter and Facebook and you’ll get to know lots of other regular running bloggers keen to meet up.
There are also lots of online running collectives like BOSH Run and UKRunChat, who utilise social media platforms to encourage inspire and share advice with each other.
5. Join the Running Bug
There’s a friendly running community right before your eyes, here at the Running Bug! Become a Bug member, read all the latest articles and training advice and get to know the 100,000 Bugs all striving to be the best they can be! We are a supportive bunch so the more the merrier.
As the old African proverb goes: 'If you want to run fast, run alone; if you want to run far, run together.'