Quick tips on starting your own running group

Starting a running group is a great way to boost your motivation, but finding members, picking trails and other tasks can be intimidating. If you're looking to start a running group of your own, here's how.

Quick tips on starting your own running group

Find a founding partner

  • Getting a friend involved is a great way to reduce the time and effort involved in organizing a runner's group.
  • Not only can you split the work load involved in starting a runner's group, you'll always be guaranteed at least one runner when you hit the trails.

Choose a name

  • A runner's group name doesn't have to be particularly creative, but it should indicate the type of runners you hope to attract.
  • Before you get too attached to your new moniker, do a quick web search to make sure your runner's group name is unique to your area.

Pick a race to help your group focus

Training for a specific race isn't a requirement for any runner's group, but this type of goal can be helpful when you're trying to pick trails and determine other objectives.

  • To encourage greater participation, pick a local race that's three to six months in the future.
  • That gives your group plenty of time to train effectively and gives people an incentive to show up to every meeting.

Create a FAQ list

  • Assemble a quick cheat sheet that tells members when you meet, what gear to bring, how long each session lasts, how to get to the trail, and other pertinent bits of information.
  • Collect email addresses of interested potential members and email them this cheat sheet to get them excited about attending.

Use social media to find new members

  • Asking current friends and gym buddies if they want to join your running group is a great start, but social media can help you attract new blood to your club.
  • Meetup and Craigslist are two good spots to advertise your new group, but you can also ask your friends to invite people via Facebook or Twitter.

Avoid membership fees and expensive gear

When starting a new runner's group, it's important to avoid any barriers to membership.

  • That means you should avoid charging a membership fee, requiring a specialized t-shirts or gear, or making other suggestions that cost money.
  • Once you have a core group of runners that have been committed to your club for at least a year, then you can consider printing those matching t-shirts.

But don't be afraid to let your club evolve

If you're lucky enough to start a popular runner's group, you may want to purchase liability insurance, achieve non-profit status, or throw parties for your members.

  • Talk to a core group of your runners and ask for their perspective.
  • If enough people show interest, it may be worth charging a membership fee and formalizing your running group's status.
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