The sun is shining brightly and there’s never been a better time to go for a run. If the glorious weather isn’t enough to lure you outside but you’re reluctant to commit to a run club, the good news is there are plenty of completely free running groups in the capital to improve your running skills and spice up your social life to boot. Check out our rundown of the top free city run groups and get your legs out the door.
The most obvious place to start if you’re after a free weekly run, parkrun offer 5K timed runs across the city (and the world!) Simply find the run closest to you on their website, register your details and rock up on Saturday morning with your bar code in hand. A friendly and inclusive bunch, parkrun is perfect for runners of all levels and the timing chips are excellent for improving your speed.
Visit parkrun.org.uk for details.
2. We Heart Living
Every Wednesday night the gang from We Heart Living get together for a free running group exploring the delights of East London. Turn up to Netil House at 6.45pm ready for a 7pm start and run a 5K or 8K route around the area. All levels are welcome and they have a secure bag check so you can go straight from work. The best part is you get to cool down with a view and enjoy refreshing drinks and tasty snacks on the roof of Netil House after your run.
Head over to we-heartliving.com for details.
3. Nike+ Run Club
There are usually several Nike+ Run Clubs across the city every week. The most central goes from Niketown, Oxford Circus, at 6pm on Tuesdays and they offer distance options of around 5K, 6K and 11K. Led by experienced pacesetters they'll keep you on track, plus you're well placed for a post-run cocktail or two in Soho afterwards.
Check out www.facebook.com/NikeRunningUK for info.
4. Runners Need
The running specialists have several free running groups in different stores each week, but Camden is definitely our favourite. Every Wednesday at 7pm the Run Camden gang meet for a free jog around the leafy streets of North London and finish in a local pub. Headed up by shop manager Sam with John as the back marker, they have a secure bag check and runners of all levels are welcome to join. After sweating your head off and making some new friends along the way, the post-run pint often descends into a pleasing knees up. For more dedicated runners, they also do a 7am Friday hill session.
Head over to facebook.com/groups/RuN.Camden.
5. London City Runners
A friendly running group based near London Bridge, the London City Runners meet on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays for a jaunt around the city. All levels are welcome and they’re also part of an affiliated athletics club, so if you get bitten by the running bug you can enjoy the benefits being part of London City Athletics Club has to offer.
For more information visit londoncityrunners.com.
Every shop has its own running group and runners are incentivised for regular participation, so you can earn your kit. Most of their shops offer running groups for all abilities and every run is guided with back markers, so no one gets left behind.
Visit sweatshop.co.uk for details.
7. Sweaty Betty
Fans of luxury sportswear will be familiar with the Sweaty Betty brand. They also offer free in-store classes and run groups at various shops across the capital, but they probably won't notice if you turn up in your holey old run kit.
Go to sweatybetty for details.
The good people at Goodgym combine physical tasks with community projects and do everything from gardening to arranging running visits to isolated older people every week, all with a fitness twist. Sign up and have a positive impact on your community while enjoying a good run in the process.
Visit goodgym.org for details.
9. Project Awesome
One for the early birds, Project Awesome meets at Tower Bridge at 6.30am on Wednesdays and Primrose Hill at 6.30am on Fridays for some fun-filled morning running. A happy group of fitness enthusiasts, it's completely free and guaranteed to kickstart your day. They don't have a bag drop so come ready to run.
Check out projectawesomelondon.com for details.
Have we missed your free running group off the list? Tweet us @RunnersWorldUK!