Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times

18 inspiring L.A. run clubs to kickstart your running era

Most runners, whether ultra-marathoners or leisurely joggers, have had times when running felt daunting. Kate Olson has completed two 100-mile races in under 23 hours (she also set the course record for both, no big deal), but there was a time when even she was perplexed at the idea of running any race longer than a 5K (3.1 miles). Why would anyone do that to themselves?

When she started attempting longer distances, Olson would listen to music and set goals for herself: “All right, I’m gonna run for six songs,” she’d promise. Then once she got comfortable, she’d add an additional song.

“It was an insanely slow process,” she said.

For over a decade, Olson ran by herself. But she eventually found a running community that made her feel like family. In 2019, she started making a spreadsheet of all the active run clubs in L.A. and counted more than 100. While many of those clubs paused during the pandemic and never came back, a new wave of runners and clubs has since emerged.

Olson, who’s now Los Angeles Marathon’s social media strategy consultant, wants people to know there’s always someone to run with. Her website LA Running Connoisseur, a personal passion project, filters active run clubs in L.A. County by location (from West L.A. to the San Gabriel Valley, the Antelope Valley to Long Beach) and day of the week. According to Olson’s count, there are around 135 active Los Angeles run clubs, and collectively they host about 230 group runs a week.


Some run clubs are meant to be intense. They specialize in training members for races. Others pride themselves on being extremely beginner-friendly. Some prioritize socializing and are followed by a postrun coffee or happy hour. Many run clubs have added an extra mission of giving back to their communities.

But the main reason to join such a club is because they help provide structure and consistency for your runs. And most are free.

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Along with being an activity with a low barrier to entry — all you need are shoes and the motivation to get yourself out the door — Olson says running is an unparalleled way to get to know a city. “You could drop me anywhere from Burbank to Winnetka — you could even take me to the mountains — and I could find my way back home,” she said. “Because I’ve run a little bit of everywhere.”

Want to join a local group and hit the ground, well, running? Here’s a list of 18 clubs across L.A. that each serve a different purpose. Check out LA Running Connoisseur for more options that fit the vibe you‘re looking for.

Showing  Places
A runner flashes a peace sign as she runs up stairs at the Hollywood Bowl, its shell visible behind her.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Take over an L.A. landmark with Saturday Stairs at the Hollywood Bowl

Hollywood Hills Running
The Hollywood Bowl, when not being used for a concert, is a public park, so anyone can come hang out around the venue, have a picnic or even run up and down the stairs, which is what a group of runners do every Saturday morning. Part of the fun of jogging up and down the stairs — if you ignore your rapid breathing and burning quads — is that it feels naughty. It feels like you’re breaking the rules, but you’re not.

Jeff Palkevich, founder of the Saturday Stairs, was born with a block in his heart, so he never went to gym class or played sports growing up. About eight years ago, he received a pacemaker that made his heart strong enough to start running. He said he accidentally started the club when he and friends began coming to the Bowl on Saturdays to jog and more and more people joined them. “Since I still would never consider myself a jock, I try really hard to make this group welcoming to people of all fitness levels and all walks of life,” he said. Dogs are welcome too.

Palkevich considers Saturday Stairs a fitness club, because he’ll often intersperse other exercises in the workouts. On a recent Saturday, he gamified the stair run by having everyone play rock-paper-scissors first — winner runs up the stairs, loser has to do a set of push-ups, sit-ups or burpees before they run up the stairs. And repeat.

Periodically, they’ll do what Palkevich calls a PR (personal record) run. If you start from the bottom corner of the Hollywood Bowl and run up and down every crevice of the seating, it’s one mile, he said. So he’ll set the clock for about half an hour, and the hope is that each time, people are able to complete more reps than they had before.

Meet-up time: 8 a.m. Saturdays.

Other clubs that gather at iconic L.A. locations: The November Project meets up at Griffith Observatory 6:30 a.m. Wednesdays, and the Angels City Run Club meets up at the Angels Flight Railway in downtown L.A. on 7 p.m. Wednesdays.
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Members of Social Hour Run Club do an evening workout.
(Jason Yang)

Find community with Social Hour Run Club in Artesia

Artesia Running
Most run clubs aim to build community, but different individuals crave different types of community. Last year, De Los highlighted four Latino running clubs in L.A., and I was curious if there was an Asian American run club.

The Social Hour Run Club, which meets in Artesia, fit the bill. This is the type of club that has a running joke about doing a Lumpia Laps event, the organization’s version of a beer run. Members were recently at the Honolulu Marathon hanging out with friends from the Koreatown Run Club, which started around the same time, and they’ve collaborated with Little Tokyo Service Center’s Changing Tides to help destigmatize mental health issues in the Asian American community.

Founder Donovan Querubin used to run with the Nike Run Club in Newport Beach, but after that group stopped meeting regularly, he started his own. In 2018, he moved it to Cerritos, closer to his home, and recruited his friends. (One of his college friends he reconnected with through the run club is now his fiancée.)

“Our mission is to provide a social environment for runners, highlight the local community and help our runners achieve their running goals,” Querubin said.

Heads up: The group is welcoming but also high-achieving. On the Tuesday track night I visited there were three pace groups: fast, faster and fastest.

Meetup time: 7 p.m. Tuesdays on the Cypress College track; 7 p.m. Wednesdays at Nilly’s Neighborhood Burger Shop (a restaurant owned by one of the club’s captains, Ranil Zalameda); and 6:15 a.m. or 8 a.m. Saturdays (depending on how long you want to run) at Bakers & Baristas.

Other community-oriented run clubs: Queer Run Club L.A., Running Mamis, Chingonas on the Run, L.A. Frontrunners, Long Beach Frontrunners and Black Men Run Los Angeles.
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A group or female runners posing for a group photo in a park.
(Recovery Run Club)

Feel safe with the female-led Recovery Run in Inglewood

Inglewood Running
“Recovery runs” are the easy jogs on days following a more challenging workout. The goal is to get more mileage in without taxing your already tired legs. You’re supposed to run slow enough that you can still carry a conversation.

Angel Risher started Recovery Run because many clubs she runs with are male-dominated and she wanted to create a comfortable space for women to build friendships through running. She wants the three miles the group does on Saturday mornings to feel like an emotional release from the week. Sometimes, members will all walk the three miles together.

Risher chose Inglewood’s Edward Vincent Park because it’s safe: Members don’t have to worry about running across busy streets or being cat-called. It’s also a one-mile loop, so there’s no chance of getting lost. And if someone wants do do only one loop that day, they can. The main focus is on the conversation, support and connection.

Meet-up time: 7 a.m. Saturdays at Edward Vincent Park

Other female-led rub clubs: Runlista, Chingonas on the Run, the Breakfast Run Club, Running Mamis and Valley Girls Running Club
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A man walks in black running clothes, with two other men walking behind him
(Kit John)

Join the introvert-friendly Movement Runners crew in West L.A.

Playa Vista Running
Kit John, the founder of Movement Runners, had been talking with his friends for a while about starting a run club. Many of them told him that they didn’t want to join a run club where they didn’t know anyone, but if he started one, they’d show up. So when he finally did about nine years ago, almost 40 people showed up the first day. At the time, he didn’t have a plan for how the run club would continue. But one day a week turned into two days a week, and the club recently hosted its second Hood Half Marathon, which ran from South L.A. to Venice Beach.

LA Running Connoisseur‘s Kate Olson has been visiting run clubs by herself for the last year, and it’s not always easy to show up to one without knowing anybody, especially if you’re an introvert. She said the Movement Runners were so welcoming that “it felt like a hug.” “We’d stop a few times and make sure everyone was there,” she said. “It wasn’t about speed. It was just about spending time together.”

One unique aspect of Movement Runners is that there is no set route — John sometimes makes up the route as he goes (that’s why everyone needs to stay together). But that’s part of the adventure.

Meetup times: 7 p.m. Tuesdays in the Loqui in Playa Vista and 9 a.m. Fridays at the Culver City stairs

Other introvert-friendly clubs: WeHo Run Club and Soho House Run Club
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People in red shirts and black pants or shorts running and walking on a street.
(Whittier Pacers)

Build confidence with Pacer Nation (various locations)

North Whittier Running
A common reason run clubs can seem intimidating is because newbies fear that the group will go too fast for them. But many clubs make extra efforts to accommodate all levels of runners. Pacer Nation, which has five chapters in Southern California, provides various training options, including walking ones.

Monica Bobadilla ran with the Pasadena Pacers for a few years before she started the Whittier chapter. She’s now its president and a board member of Pacer Nation. She loves its preconditioning program, which is designed to get anyone from the couch to running five miles in 12 weeks.

Club members practice Jeffing, a run-walk technique. They start by walking for five minutes and then running for one minute, for a total of 30 minutes. Each week, the amount of running time increases and the amount of walking time decreases, and by the end of 12 weeks, members can run five miles in about an hour. It’s the most beautiful thing to watch people who didn’t think they could run a mile get to the end of the program and surprise themselves with their progress, Bobadilla said.

Meetup time: Varies depending on chapters (Pasadena, Whittier, Thousand Oaks, Azusa and San Bernardino)

Another walk-to-run club: LADWP Pacers Running Club is a downtown L.A.-based club whose mission is to encourage walkers to become runners.
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A line of runners on a beach path with a lifeguard tower behind, under an overcast dawn sky
(SB Coffee Club)

Breathe that fresh ocean air with SB Coffee Club in Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach Running
One of the benefits to living in Southern California is that it’s almost always beach weather, and L.A. boasts many beach trails for runners who love listening to soothing ocean waves as they get their miles in.

SB Coffee Club is a female-led club that meets early Friday mornings to run five miles along the Manhattan Beach Strand. Members start at the pier, and it’s an up-and-back route, so if anyone wants to go out longer or come back earlier, they can turn around at their own halfway point. One location perk: There are outdoor beach showers for those who need to quickly rinse off before morning meetings.

When the club started, members would meet at 5 a.m. because founder Linda Keller liked getting up before the break of dawn to run, but the group later relaxed into a more accommodating 5:30 a.m. start time. (Many members are mothers of young children and like to get their workouts in before their kids’ morning routines.)

This is a group that takes running seriously. In 2022, SB Coffee Club participated in the Speed Project, an exclusive, secretive 340-mile relay race that challenges six runners to start at the Santa Monica Pier and make it to Las Vegas on foot in the most efficient manner. Their all-female team won first in its division and broke the girls’ record by about an hour and 40 minutes.

Meet-up time: 5:30 a.m. Fridays, but earlier birds can still meet at 5 a.m. to squeeze in bonus miles.

Other clubs that run along the beach: South Bay Runners Club, Hermosa Run Club, LA Leggers, Venice Run Club and Cooldown Running
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Runners stand around a banner on the ground that says Trail Goats
(Adam Benitez)

Hit the mountain trails with TrailG.O.A.T.s in the San Gabriel Valley

La Verne Running
On an early Sunday morning, I joined the TrailG.O.A.T.s run club at Marshall Canyon Trail in La Verne for their weekly meetup. Six miles in the mountains is more than I usually run, but it seemed more manageable than the 12 and 18-mile options they offered. Adan Benitez, the founder of the club, gave me this advice: at streams, instead of trying to hop across the rocks — which can be too far apart or slippery — I should just jump in and get my shoes wet.

Benitez didn’t start running until the pandemic. His event planning business was struggling, he was moody, and his wife urged him to get out of the house to let out some steam. He remembers putting on his sneakers and walking a mile, because at the time, he couldn’t jog the whole thing. Now, he’s not only an ultramarathon runner but an avid mountain biker. He maps out the trails for the club beforehand by biking through them first. The G.O.A.T.s have various meet-ups across San Gabriel Valley and Angeles National Forest, but their favorite trails are in Marshall Canyon Regional Park, Glendora Mountain and Echo Mountain.

He’s proud of the range of runners the TrailG.O.A.T. attracts. There are the elite runners who join them on their recovery days, but there are also hikers. They jog with a grandmother who never runs with a watch or tracks her mileage. “My legs know,” she‘ll say.

At the three-mile turnaround point, Benitez asked if I wanted to go up to the gazebo. “It’s only a couple more miles,” he explained. I said sure, but the whole way back, I told everyone that I was only planning on doing six miles, but Benitez tricked me into doing 10. That happens a lot with the TrailG.O.A.Ts, members told me. You think you’re there to do six or seven miles, but you get immersed in a conversation and suddenly you’re in the double digits.

Meet-up time: Sundays at 6:15 a.m.

Other trail-running run clubs: New Basin Blues, MT Runners and Coyote Running
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A gray-haired man addresses a group of runners on a high school football field
(Geri Reyes)

Channel your inner track star with TNT Tuesday Night Track in the San Fernando Valley

Lake Balboa Running
Once your body gets used to running consistently, how do you get faster? One tried-and-true strategy is the track workout. Running around a track makes it easy to measure distance (one lap is 400 meters, four laps is a mile), and the softer, flat surface is easier on your legs. A track workout is an interval workout: You run a certain length of the track at a fast, controlled speed, and you take time to recover before doing it again. You can train by yourself, but it’s much more motivating with a group of people.

The runners who show up to TNT Tuesday Night Track at Birmingham Community Charter High School in the San Fernando Valley get the added benefit of training with veteran running coach Pat Connelly. Connelly, who recently turned 86, is a retired LAPD officer who coached cross-country for both UCLA and USC. He founded the official L.A. Marathon training program and the L.A. Roadrunners and wrote the book “Go the Distance!: The Official L.A. Marathon Training Guide” in the 1990s. He retired in 1996, but he still coaches about 60 people for an hour every Tuesday evening.

He said he always goes back to the fundamentals: Take short strides, stay relaxed, make sure you’re doing a proper arm swing. It’s about using your momentum. “Runners are special,” he said. He can sense when someone is a runner. They’re generally very positive, because running gives people the confidence to break through pain barriers, he said.

Meetup time: 6 p.m. Tuesdays at Birmingham Community Charter High School

Other clubs that specialize in track workouts: Eastside Traffic, High Desert Runners Club and Marine Stadium Track Club. Note that many run clubs that meet multiple times a week have track workout days in their schedules.
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A runner on a beach track
(Gus Esparza)

Tackle that marathon with Long Beach Running Club

Signal Hill Running
A common reason people join run clubs is because they are training for a long-distance event, whether it’s their first 10K or they’re trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon. So if your main focus is on meeting specific running goals, there are clubs set up to help you succeed.

In 2013, Gus Esparza, the founder of Long Beach Running Club, was riding his motorcycle when he was hit by a truck. The impact sent him off a cliff, and he couldn’t walk for nine months. Once he was able to move again, he’d go to the Signal Hill Home Depot parking lot and run up the trails. Now, about 100 people join him.

One of the main reasons the club grew was because members started training for marathons. At first, it was like the blind leading the blind, Esparza jokes. But now the club has trained hundreds of people. The Long Beach Running Club recently started offering one-on-one coaching plans. After hearing so many horror stories about sub-par running coaches, Esparza wanted to be able to vet professional coaches for members and also provide access to nutritional plans and sports recovery services.

There are many running clubs in Long Beach that prioritize socializing, Esparza said. They start and end at bars, and he respects that. But if he has his way, the Long Beach Running Club will never have beer or any distractions that will get in the way of your PR (personal record).

Meet-up times: 6:30 p.m. Mondays in Signal Hill; track workouts at 6 a.m. Wednesdays at Chittick Field; 6:30 p.m. Thursdays at Nike Well Collective; and Sunday long runs starting at the Belmont Brewing Co.

Other clubs known for effective pace groups: Koreatown Run Club, Highland Park Run Club, Keep It Run Hundred, Blacklist and Pacer Nation.
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Runners make their way across a bridge in Los Angeles at dusk.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Run at night with Boyle Heights Bridge Runners

Boyle Heights Running
In the winter months in Southern California, the sun sets before 6 p.m., so most postwork runs are done in the dark. While it’s not ideal for people who crave sunshine, there are perks to running at night. The city lights are beautiful. You don’t have to worry about sunscreen. And the weather rarely gets cold enough that you can’t start with a light jacket and take it off by the end of your run.

But often, night running is safer with a group — or a run club. The Boyle Heights Bridge Runners meet every Wednesday at Mariachi Plaza, and there are two options: a signature three-mile run that goes to the 6th Street Viaduct and loops back around, and a shorter two-mile route.

Rolando Cruz, who leads the runs, has been running with the club since the beginning. He remembers when the Boyle Heights Bridge Runners were featured on the Los Angeles episode of Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown.” He also recently was on a “Today” show segment about the club. But amid the moments of glitz is a club that cares a lot about its community. Members hire local street vendors for their big events. They raise funds for teachers and others in need.

As for the weekly run itself, Cruz recommends getting to Mariachi Plaza earlier than the start time as members arrive and start socializing. Many stay behind afterward to stretch and continue catching up.

Meetup time: 7:45 p.m. Wednesdays in Mariachi Plaza

Other clubs with night runs: The Night Terrors Run Crew meets at 8:45 p.m. Wednesdays at the “Urban Light” exhibit outside the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Rundalay meets at 8 p.m. Mondays at Grand Park, and it has a Friday Night Lights 7 p.m. run as well.
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A group of runners seen from behind on a narrow residential street.
(Sean Johnson)

Tour filming locations with Los Angeles Cinephile Run Club

Echo Park Running
It started with “Reservoir Dogs.” In March, Sean Johnson officially debuted the L.A. Cinephile Run Club by taking a group on a tour of Eagle Rock locations from Quentin Tarantino’s 1992 feature debut. “The club isn’t about racing,” he wrote. “It’s about nerding out to movies, but we just happen to be running.”

Some dressed up in suits and reenacted scenes from the film. It was the test run for L.A. Cinephile Run Club, and what Johnson learned was that people loved it, but also that six miles with added stops was too long.

The L.A. Cinephile Run Club meets once every two months. This gives Johnson time to plan the next theme. He wants each run to feel like a special event. Everyone sticks together like it’s a tour group, and they make sure to stop for the obligatory selfies. While there is an abundance of filming locations in Los Angeles to choose from, Johnson’s challenge is finding a handful worth visiting that are within three miles of one another.

The second run coincided with the summer release of “Fast X.” Johnson took a run crew on a tour of Echo Park and Angelino Heights locations from “The Fast and the Furious” franchise. A highlight was when they staged a 400-meter race up to Dominic’s house, in honor of Vin Diesel’s character’s famous line: “I live my life a quarter-mile at a time.”

Since then, there have been runs dedicated to “(500) Days of Summer,” “Independence Day,” “Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood,” “Halloween” and more.

Meetup time: 10 a.m. Sundays every other month. Check the club’s Instagram for details.
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Runners pause in front of a mural at night
(Blacklist L.A.)

Marvel at street art with Blacklist L.A. (various locations)

Downtown L.A. Running
Blacklist L.A. started in 2013 with the goal of discovering street art around Los Angeles by foot. For many years, the Monday night art runs would start at 10 p.m., said Erik Valiente, who founded the club when he was in his 20s. The club’s motto was “the art of running for the love of Los Angeles.” In more recent years, the run has been moved to 9 p.m.

It’s usually about a three- or four-mile run, but there’s a break in the middle when runners reach the mural featured that day. Group members, led by Blacklist leader Carlos Desroses, take time to learn about the artist and appreciate the work.

There’s a new piece of street art to visit each week, and the group travels to places like downtown L.A.’s Arts District, Echo Park, Koreatown and Silver Lake. After each run, there’s a group photo in front of the art posted on Blacklist L.A.’s Art Run Instagram page with information about the artist and location, so people who can’t join the run can visit the mural on their own.

Meetup times: Art runs at 9 p.m. Monday in various locations; track workouts at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Crenshaw High School; Lista female-led runs at Los Angeles High School at 7 p.m. Thursday; and long runs in Griffith Park at 7 a.m. Saturday.
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A group of runners outdoors, posing for a photo under a rainbow
(Skid Row Run Club)

Give back to the community with Skid Row Running Club in downtown L.A.

Downtown L.A. Running
The Skid Row Running Club was founded in 2012 by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Craig Mitchell, and its mission is to support members of the community who are experiencing homelessness or overcoming addictions. “We use the transformative power of running to teach grit, persistence and goal-setting,” said Skid Row Running Club board member Christopher Smith. “Running side by side, we push each other to new heights and better lives.”

On Monday and Thursday mornings, the club’s five-mile run starts at the Midnight Mission and then goes over the 6th Street Viaduct to Hollenbeck Lake. That’s where members take a break to celebrate birthdays, their sobriety and other accomplishments, before returning to Skid Row. On Thursdays, the club has doughnuts and coffee for everyone.

“Over the years, the club has evolved from just a handful of runners putting in quiet miles in downtown L.A. to a much larger, experienced group of competitors,” Smith said. “We’ve become more focused and dedicated to our sport and enter many high-profiles races throughout the year.

“Runners of all types are welcome. We leave no one behind.”

Meetup time: 5:50 a.m. Mondays and Thursdays at the Midnight Mission

Other run clubs that give back: Compton Run Club, which raises money for scholarships in the community, and Silver Lake Track Club, which has raised money to build a track for L.A. high school students.
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A man and a woman run on the sidewalk, talking, with other runners behind them
(Darius Fong)

Brainstorm brilliant ideas with Run Tech Club in Culver City

Culver City Running
Run Tech Club, founded by Darius Fong and Chloe Towns in 2021, started with a group of entrepreneurs who wanted to create organic opportunities for like-minded self-starters to network. When Fong realized that many of their tech colleagues shared a consistent running practice, they decided to combine running with office hours — and eventually build a mentorship program. The runs are free, but membership gives access to workshops, labs and other special events.

The name Run Tech Club (RTC) is a play on WebRTC, a real-time communication program. As a two-time Grammy-winning audio engineer and two-time startup founder, Fong understands how entrepreneurs sometimes get stuck and need guidance to advance to the next stage of their careers. It’s a smaller group, and the three- and five-mile options are run at a comfortable pace so people can chat, build connections and figure out how to support one another.

But the Run Tech Club isn’t limited to people working in tech or business. Fong wants to inspire members to be game-changers. He hopes the club attracts people who aren’t satisfied with the status quo and dream of making a difference in the world.

Meetup time: 6:30 a.m. Fridays, followed by casual office hours in the plaza outside Go Get Em Tiger. Fong buys everyone a cup of coffee after the run.

Another run club that encourages networking: Pitch and Run L.A. is a run club for founders, investors and tech people that started in New York.
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Runners head up a hillside trail
(Tofu Scramble Run Club)

Pair running and yoga with the Tofu Scramble Run Club in northeastern L.A.

Highland Park Running
If you’re looking for an urban trail run that ends with sidewalk yoga, this is the club for you. Founded by Highland Park natives Jenessia Nájera-Navarro and Michael Nájera, Tofu Scramble Run Club meets Friday mornings to explore the unique geographic textures and skyline views of northeastern L.A. The four- to five-mile run is followed by a mini yoga session led by Nájera-Navarro, a yoga teacher and sound practitioner. The club also makes an effort to support coffee shops (and their “caffeinated magick”) in the Highland Park area.

“Our hope is to hold space to escape the chaos of the grid — or find solace in our backyard — moments to pause, reflect and catch your breath,” Nájera-Navarro said. “To do hard things and smile. We become this collective endeavor, cultivating seeds of inspired harmony integrated with a simple propelling dance on the mountain.”

Meetup time: “Caffeinated ritvals” at 6:30 a.m. Fridays

Other wellness-centered clubs: J2N Run Club meets out of the Space B.A.R. Wellness in Pasadena.
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Runners at night under an illuminated sign that says Venice
(Matt Stanley)

Bring (or find) a date at Venice Run Club

Venice Running
I had heard that the Venice Run Club was a good place to bring a date. When I asked Justin Shields, the founder of the club, about its reputation for romance, he responded: “Haters call us the ‘Tinder Run Club.’ But let me explain.”

The Venice Run Club started in 2020, amid the George Floyd protests and frustrations around the pandemic. Wanting to raise money to support racial justice, Shields and a friend set up a weekend challenge that involved running “four miles every four hours for 48 hours.” They raised $60,000 for police reform, launched a nonprofit (48 for Change) and birthed a popular Venice Beach-based running community.

The club meets three times a week, but its Mobbin Wednesday run attracts an average of 500 people during the winter and 900 people in the summer, Shields said. The largest Mobbin run drew about 1,100 people. Members meet in a parking lot a few blocks from the beach to run over the Venice canals and down the boardwalk — and it’s not an exaggeration to say they take over the streets.

But even with the huge crowd, it’s important to Shields that people mingle. Before each Mobbin run, he takes his microphone and portable speaker and asks new people to come to the front and introduce themselves. One time, one of his regular members thought one of the newbies was cute, so she tapped Shields on the shoulder and said, “Ask him if he’s single.” Shields obliged, and it got enough giggles and blushes that he continued asking people about their relationship status. “I think you have to be vulnerable to make connections,” he said.

So is Venice Run Club really a great place to bring a date? Shields shrugged. “It’s probably a better place to find a date,” he said.

Meetup time: Track workouts at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Culver City High School (sign-up required; space limited); Mobbin at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and long runs at 8:30 a.m. Saturday (both meet at the 2150 Dell Ave. parking lot in Venice).
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Besties Run Club members pose for a group photo outside the store under a sign that says Vegan Paradise
(Asia Phoenix)

Reward yourself with dessert with Besties Run Club in East Hollywood

East Hollywood Running
Out of all the run clubs in Los Angeles, there’s only one that ends with free soft serve ice cream. The Besties Run Club runs out of Besties Vegan Paradise and attracts a passionate vegan community that can conveniently combine exercise for the day with grocery shopping. Pre-pandemic, co-founder Asia Phoenix said yoga and other wellness activities were often held inside the store. When indoor activities halted because of COVID-19 concerns, she started the run club to provide a safe space for the community to gather.

She kept the route simple. The club designates one person to run in the front and another to run in the back, so no one gets lost. The 5-K (3.2 mile) run is along Edgemont Street until it goes up a hill and hits a dead end. Runners gather at the top, congratulate each other, do push-ups together — and then they relax on their way downhill.

“We call it ‘hill and chill,’” said Phoenix. As runners return to the store, they’re handed cups of water and their reward: smooth and impressively creamy vegan soft serve ice cream that is specially made in-house.

Meetup time: 7 p.m. Thursdays at Besties Vegan Paradise

Other run clubs with treats: There are two Friday Donut Club runs, one that meets at the Randy’s Donuts in Pasadena and another at the Donut Hut in Burbank.
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 Dog Haus Running Club members gather outside the biergarten's white building in Pasadena.
(Michelle Williams)

Cheers at postrun happy hour with Dog Haus Running Club in Pasadena

Pasadena Running
How did beer become associated with running? Michelle Williams, president of the Dog Haus Running Club, isn’t sure but confirms that it’s always been a thing. Marathons often have beer gardens at the finish line. Runners love their happy hours.

Since 2012, Doghaus Run Club has met on Tuesdays at Dog Haus Beirgarten in Old Town Pasadena for a free 5-K run fun — which, spoiler alert, includes a challenging hill right smack in the middle. While the run is at 6:30 p.m., the socializing is just as important as the exercise. Many members of the club end up hanging out at the biergarten until 9:30 p.m., Williams said.

Dog Haus has a great selection of beer, she said. Some like their bitter IPAs. Others like their ciders, laugers or wheat beers. All are refreshing after a run, she said, and well-earned, especially if you’re tackling the clubs’ Arbor Hill repeat challenges.

The goal is to leave Pasadena happy and more healthful, she said. In addition to the weekly runs, the group will do a hike and trail cleanup once a month, and members also meet up to support other local breweries and coffee shops. Members have become such a family that there are Dog Haus Running Club kids who have been at the weekly meetups since they were being pushed around in strollers.

Meetup time: 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays at Dog Haus Biergarten

Other run clubs that center on breweries: Mikkellar Running Club, LA Craft Runners, Brews Brothers Running Club, Wild Parrot Brewing Run Club and the Official Bandits Running Club
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