Running: sometimes it feels like a moving meditation; sometimes a never-ending sufferfest. But misery loves company, and training with friends/likeminded masochists somehow makes even the most gruelling (or boring) workouts more fun. Whether you’re looking for something social or seriously sweaty, there’s a group for you. Here’s your guide to Toronto’s super active—and still growing—running crew scene.
(Schedules may change any time, so check each group’s link for up-to-date details.)
When: Fridays at 6:30 P.M. (tempo run) and Sundays at 8:30 A.M. (long run).
Why: This specialty store offers two membership programs for runners wanting more guided training, but for those who prefer to drop in more casually, there are two open runs weekly.
Where: BlackToe Running, 95 Bathurst Street, Toronto.
Visit blacktoerunning.com for more run details/updates.
When: Tuesdays at 6:30 P.M. (4k or 6k) and Thursdays at 6:30 A.M. (30-minute HIIT & Run).
Why: If you’re stoked to dash up stairs while most people are still sleeping, Castle Runners has the Thursday morning sweat session for you.
Where: Casa Loma, bottom of the Baldwin Steps (Davenport and Spadina).
Visit Castle Runners on Facebook for more run details/updates.
When: Wednesdays at 7 P.M. (3k or 5k “beer run,” with $5 pint post-run at Radical Road Brewing next door) and Saturdays at 9:30 A.M. (4k or 6k).
Why: Located in Leslieville, this athletic apparel and fitness boutique offers a variety of in-store classes, including yoga and meditation, as well as two short runs a week. All speeds and skill levels welcome.
Where: Culture Athletics, 1175 Queen Street East, Toronto.
Visit Culture Athletics on Facebook for more run details/updates.
Eastbound Run Crew (EBRC)
When: Mondays at 6:15 P.M.
Why: Eastbound Run Crew has a social focus, so if you like capping off a low-key 5k or 8k with a post-run pint, this Riverside group will suit you. All runners welcome.
Where: Eastbound Brewing Co., 700 Queen Street East, Toronto.
Visit EBRC on Facebook for more run details/updates.
High Park Rogue Runners
When: Wednesdays and Fridays at 6:30 P.M. (speed work/steady run) and Sundays at 8:30 A.M. (long run).
Why: Even if you’re already part of another run club/crew, you can swing by to join a workout with this welcoming West End group. All levels welcome.
Where: High Park gates (southwest corner of Bloor and High Park Avenue).
Visit High Park Rogue Runners on Facebook for more run details/updates.
Lululemon Run Club
Why: Lululemon may be best known for its sleek yoga wear, but it’s active in the local running scene, too. Many stores offer weekly group runs, typically 5k.
Visit the individual store webpages (above) for more run details/updates.
Night Terrors Run Crew (NTRC)
When: Mondays (social run), Tuesdays (track), Thursdays (tempo or easy) and Saturdays (long run). Join NTRC’s Strava Club page for run specifics.
Why: Everyone, from beginners to seasoned runners, is welcome to join this crew, which offers social runs to explore the city, as well as workouts to hone speed and build distance.
Where: Start/finish locations vary.
Visit NTRC on Facebook for more run details/updates.
When: Tuesdays at 7:45 PM (choice of two distances, typically about 5k and 8-10k) and Saturdays at 8:45 AM (women’s run, open to those able to cover 10k in under one hour).
Why: Like its namesake neighbourhood, Parkdale has a cool-kid rep, as well as a “no one left behind” motto. It’s also one of the oldest and biggest Toronto crews (its history dates back to 2010), and is well known for its confetti-tossing cheer squads at local races.
Where: Capital Espresso, 1349 Queen Street West, Toronto.
Visit parkdaleroadrunners.com for more run details/updates.
When: Wednesdays at 6:30 P.M. (5k or 8k) and Saturdays at 8 A.M. (long run).
Why: Portland Runners is a relatively new downtown Toronto crew, with a focus on fun, social runs, open to all paces and levels.
Where: Lobby of Loblaws at Queen and Portland.
When: Runs vary, so keep an eye on the events listed in the Facebook group.
Why: This super popular crew, which prides itself on being inclusive and non-competitive, now counts more than 4,100 members (!). If you want to meet a lot of fellow craft-beer fans for a light workout, then rehydrate with a pint or two, you’ll fit right in. All runners welcome.
Where: Start/finish locations vary.
Visit Run-TO-Beer on Facebook for more run details/updates.
When: Wednesdays at 7 P.M. (5k) and Saturdays at 9 A.M. (10k, followed by optional brunch).
Where: Tribe Fitness, 10 Lower Spadina, Toronto. (Lockers and showers available on-site.)
Visit Tribe Fitness on Facebook for more run details/updates.