Looking to jump start your 2024? Here are 4 Latino running clubs in L.A.

Three people running
Founder of Run Montebello Run running club, Angie Jimenez (center), runs with members, Marin Vega (left) and Valentina Shibata.
(Ringo Chiu / For De Los)
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From training plans to gear and race fees, there’s so much to learn about running that it can feel overwhelming for a hobbyist. It can also feel lonely. While outdoor runs can be a solitary activity, they don’t always have to be.

For the record:

2:34 p.m. Aug. 8, 2023An earlier version of this article misstated the name of a Border X Bandits founder and the year of her death. She is Beatriz Rafael and she died in June.

There are many well-established running clubs across Los Angeles, like We Run LA, Blacklist LA, Runnings Mamis and many others. There’s now a new wave of social-run clubs founded by Latinxs, who are leading the way and finding different ways to stay healthy while building community. Throughout Southeast and East Los Angeles, running clubs offer a space to make friends and get active.

Montebello Run Club

Angie Jimenez, a Montebello resident and lifelong runner, got the idea to start a running club in the fall of 2020. She wanted to create a space where people could gather but still adhere to COVID-19 restrictions. She teamed up with fellow runners Jeff Jimenez and Salvador Melendez to create the Montebello Running Club. Creating different running routes to offer an accessible starting point for anyone looking to join was important to Jimenez.

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“We’ve made sure that it wasn’t just for elite runners,” says Jimenez. “Everyone felt that there was a space that they could safely come and just work their way up to jogging and running. Before you know it, walkers turn into runners.”

A group poses for a photo
Founder of Run Montebello Run running club, Angie M. Jimenez, poses a photo in front of members before a run.
(Ringo Chiu / For De Los)

Jimenez takes pride in her members gaining confidence and taking ownership of the club. “There’s like this sense of belonging — now you’re a runner,” she says. Jimenez plans on adding “Wonder Woman Wednesday” which incorporates a 1-mile run, meditation and yoga.

Montebello Run Club meets every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at Montebello’s Civic Center.

East Side Traffic — Whittier

For any runner, the endless loop of a track run can be undesirable compared with an open trail or road. Still, Eddie Bernal, founder of East Side Traffic, is demystifying track workouts while building camaraderie.

Bernal founded his running club in 2022 after moving to Whittier. “Track is pretty intimidating,” he says. “It’s one of those things that can seem like a chore. But I believe track is a good part of every runner’s training schedule or training routine.”

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A motivator for Bernal is the nostalgia for team sports, like soccer or football. “You grow up having that team aspect and that discipline … and then all of a sudden, you grow up, you go to school, you get a job, and you lose that sense of fitness and camaraderie,” he says.

A group poses for a photo
Eastside Traffic running club members (from left) Rafa Abundes, Jonathan De Leon, Jessica Abundes, Marcus Owens, squatting, Eddie Bernal, Herbert Estrada, Ernie Montes and Victor Alvarado before a workout at Liberty Plaza Track in Whittier.
(Michael Owen Baker / For De Los)

He believes running clubs can rekindle that youthful feeling of having a team, and he creates different track workouts for the novice and the experienced runner. Although not a professional coach, Bernal has been running for 10 years and curates the run club’s workouts from his personal experience.

East Side Traffic meets every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Sheriff Academy Track in Whittier.

Boyle Heights Bridge Runners

Boyle Heights Bridge Runners are OGs in the Latinx running scene. Founded by Elisa Garcia and David Gomez, the Bridge Runners are celebrating their 10-year anniversary this month. In 2013, Gomez was frustrated by the lack of running clubs. What started with just six runners grew into a club with more than 30 members. During their anniversary events, they typically see 150 runners show up.

“When you go out and do it, it’s probably not even about that PR, it’s not about losing weight or whatever,” says Garcia. “It’s actually you setting a goal for yourself. It’s one block, a bridge, a half marathon, 26 miles.”

People running on a bridge
Members of the Boyle Heights Bridge Runners make their way across the Sixth Street Viaduct.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Even though the run club has its group of elite runners, Garcia says people new to running also join.

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“We have children running with us, and it’s a noncompetitive running group, which I think is very significant. This is a space where everyone’s just doing our best and honoring each other.”

Boyle Heights Bridge Runners meet every Wednesday at 8 p.m. at Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights.

Border X Bandits — Bell

Cynthia Gudiel and Christopher Skinner are the co-captains of Border X Bandits. The group was founded by marathon runners David Martinez, who died in 2021, and Beatriz Rafael, who died in June.

“They made this group to encourage people to want to have movement,” Gudiel said when asked about the founders’ intentions.

Gudiel believes running is an important tool for overall well-being. The group’s runners show up in spite of having stressful jobs or a long work day.

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“I’m gonna do this for myself, because I know it’s gonna benefit me, but as well, I get to socialize and see my friends, and that will also benefit me,” Gudiel says.


Gudiel is originally from Bell and feels immense pride in co-leading Border X Bandits, whose name derives from the local brewing company, Border X Brewing. Although the running club has no affiliation with the brewery, Martinez, the co-founder, thought it was a familiar spot where runners could gather.

Border X Bandits meet every Thursday at 6:45 p.m. in front of Border X Brewing in Bell.

Diosa Femme is the co-founder of Locatora Productions. She is a podcast producer and journalist and has a master’s in specialized journalism from USC.