Let’s face it, Houston is well on its way to becoming the new “melting pot.” I like to think of Houston as being this massive pot of gumbo. For those of us in the south, we know the amount of ingredients it takes to make this delicious concoction and the effort that goes into it. That’s the beauty of Houston – the diverse cultures and backgrounds of the people, and the willingness to share and experience those cultures together are what make Houston the easiest place in the states to fall in love with. And our local running community isn’t any different. People from all over the city, from around the country, around the world even, and all at varying speeds and capabilities on their running journeys, just get together to run their hearts out. It’s quite the experience if you embrace it.
When my running buddy Andrew and his wife Aline moved to San Antonio for their residency, I felt like Will Smith on the episode of “Fresh Prince” when he was standing alone in that empty living room (can anyone else relate to the ’90s?!?!). All I could think about was I didn’t have my running buddy here to push me anymore. What was a runner to do? I did the only thing I knew, to fall back on the running community that Andrew introduced me to. And for me that was BON Running Club in Rice Village. From that very moment I realized the importance and the impact that Houston’s running clubs can make for all of us as runners.
I was born and raised in Houston, so thankfully I have friends and family here. But as I’ve continued my running journey I have met so many others along the way who have relocated to Houston and who don’t always have the luxury of having family or even an established circle of friends. If this is you, look no further than Houston’s vast running club scene. They connect us monthly, weekly and even daily to log our miles, build our confidence, see all of Houston and to just be social. So whether you’re new to Houston or just looking for a change of pace from your old running routine, know that there’s a smorgasbord of running clubs to choose from and at least one of them will most definitely suit you. Here are just a few of my favorites:
Kung Fu Running Club (KFRC) – KFRC is a weekly social running club that meets every Wednesday night at Kung Fu Saloon along Washington Corridor. The weekly 5k group-run starts and ends at Kung Fu Saloon, where we gather afterwards for a free post run snack and enjoy great drink specials with our friends. In addition, KFRC helps raise money and awareness for many great local charities.
BONUS: Membership to Kung Fu Running Club is free! Just sign a waiver the first time you run, and check-in every time you run to receive great membership perks!
Run Tuesdays with Yari – This is a relatively newer run club located in East Downtown Houston (EADO). It meets at 170 Sabine Street next to the bike rentals. This up and coming run club is pretty cool because not only is there a fun 3 mile run route with Yari but afterwards you can boost that runner’s high and participate in a 20 minute boot camp hosted by @duylifts. SECRET TIP: Sometimes after #RunTuesdays workout there are tacos (but you didn’t hear that from me, lol).
RACEPACE – Last but certainly not least – for almost two years my Thursday nights have not been the same because of this club. I can confidently say I was one of the inaugural members of it and that RACEPACE’s social Thursday runs hold a special place in my training plan. I’m honored to have witnessed it grow from just a small group of runners into a beautiful group of friends who support each other in so many other ways outside of running – it embodies the true meaning of community. In addition to the Thursday night social run, this is a one stop shop for coaching plans, treadmill studio sessions and group fitness classes too!
PERK: There is always at least one RACEPACE coach available at each event to ask questions and use as a running resource.
So it’s time to embrace the melting pot if you haven’t already in your running journey. Each of these groups and so many more running clubs throughout Houston have runners of all ages who are at different stages of running, so don’t be scared to jump right in! The friendly and welcoming atmosphere of social run clubs and events in Houston reduces the hassle of finding someone to run with or just wanting to become more acquainted with Houston. And, if you’ve been on the fence about registering for the Chevron Houston Marathon or the Aramco Houston Half Marathon because training alone seems daunting, have no fear the abundance of Houston run clubs has you covered with workouts, training plans and the motivation you need! It doesn’t matter if you’re just beginning your running journey or you’ve just recently moved to Houston and are looking to make friends, running clubs are a wonderful way to help with both.
A version of this blog was previously published on Ryan’s blog at ryanrunshouston.wordpress.com