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Road runner: the best free running clubs in London

February 18th 2015 / Katie Robertson Google+ Katie Robertson

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Get out and get running with these top four free clubs in London

If you’re tired of training on a treadmill or simply too scared to brave the streets, then maybe it’s time you joined a running club. As an idea this can sound scary, but don’t worry, not everyone there runs marathons before breakfast - in fact, it can actually be the perfect place for beginners to start out.

Why we hear you ask? Well, firstly you never have to worry about running alone in the dark - in a club everyone runs together with a trained and directionally-savvy instructor taking the helm. It’s also a great environment for you to pick up training tips and tricks from like-minded people on everything from niggling injuries to best runs to enter. The best part though, is that you’ve got a greater incentive to go - by joining a community and making friends, you’re more likely to view it as a commitment that you can’t cancel (not to mention the competitive boost new friends will give you). Before you know it, you’ll be entering into a 10K and geeking out over the newest running trainers.

So, with that in mind, we’ve been trawling the streets of London to discover which top groups should become your new running havens - here are our top four pics.

Run Dem Crew

Best for: the cool kid

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If you’re looking for an action packed, hard and fast fitness boost - Run Dem crew is the group for you. Formed in 2007 by DJ, poet and writer Charlie Dark, as an alternative to traditionally stale and stuffy running clubs, this group is all about community spirit and the positive benefits that come from energetic, creative and passionate people running together.

Roaming all over town to explore different parts of London, Run Dem also celebrates the diverse urban environment that surrounds Nike’s 1948 space by hosting post run workshops, films and talks for truly committed workout junkies. Not to mention they also work closely with young people across London providing mentoring and advice, along with the opportunity to explore different areas in a safe, unique, and supportive environment.

Choose between five different groups based on your running abilities, including everything from the beginners tortoise level (less than 10k) to their elite athlete level (running marathons in your spare time) - while the standards may vary between each group, they all carry with them one defining rule - nobody ever gets left behind - it’s a true brethren of running buddies.

Run Dem Crew meet every Tuesday in different locations across London - find your nearest group here

MORE GLOSS: How I stay fit: Camilla Fernandez

Sweaty Betty

Best for: nervous beginners

Empowering women through health and fitness is Sweaty Betty’s life mantra - and it doesn’t just stop with their range of workout clothing. Indeed, hoping to inspire local communities and ladies everywhere to get up and get active, they host free run clubs each week, at a select number of their beautiful boutiques.

Attendees are given the choice to opt between beginners classes and more intermediate levels that work to boost your fitness, endurance and strength, with the end goal of working towards completing a race. Relaxed, friendly and with no performance pressure, this is a great option for those dusting off their trainers, looking to re-enter the workout world. Make sure you book up early though as these spots are hot property and fill up super fast.

Book your next running spot here


Nike Running Club

Best for: big group mentality

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Crowned as the worlds ‘largest running group’, Nike Running Club is an upbeat, uptempo option for city runners looking to meet new people and expand their fitness horizons.

Leaving from four major meeting points across London, the original Nike Run Club began in 1999 at Nike Town in Oxford Circus, with the aim of providing runners of all abilities with a free, safe and fun exercise environment.

Given the choice to run either a three, four, or seven mile course, routes track through scenic and historical parts of London from Regents Street all the way down to Regents Park.

As well as the Nike Town club, other running groups also leave from Bluewater shopping centre, Westfield White City and Westfield Stratford and all welcome both male and female runners of all ages and abilities. This is a great opportunity for anybody looking to dip their toe in the fitness waters and push themselves to the limits - go on, just do it.

Discover the Nike running club locations here

Sweatshop Running Club

Best for: fitness fans looking to improve

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Ideal for those already accustomed to the running game, Sweatshop Run Club’s aim is to push members to become the best they can be, while also spreading their ethos that group running is one of the most rewarding and enjoyable forms of fitness out there.

While all new joiners are asked to be able to comfortably complete a 5km route, beginners are still welcomed with a ‘if you can’t run it, just walk it’ mantra. Sessions vary from everything from 10km training to interval sprints to improve speed and endurance.

We should also mention that they’ve recently joined up alongside fitness giants adidas and created their own unique running uniform that can be purchased either through their online store or earned as a reward for continual loyalty to the group (which includes everything from a t-shirt to brand spanking new set of trainers just FYI).

Sign up for Sweatshop Run Club here

Follow us on @getthegloss and Katie @KatieRob20

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