Running solo can be zen-like and peaceful, but sometimes, it can also be plain boring! If your workout routine needs a little variety and socialization, joining one of Grand Rapids’ fun and local running groups may be right up your alley. There are a variety of running groups that are not only dedicated to getting their sweat on, but are also welcoming and focusing on community-building and friendship!
Accountability is a major part of keeping up with a regular running routine and by joining a community of runners, you’re pounding the pavement for reasons beyond yourself. You’re also inspiring others, making important community connections, and having a good time doing it.
Looking to crush the Riverbank Run, beat your PR, or join together for a pint and a cheers in Beer City post workout? There’s a group for that. Whether you’re training for the Boston Marathon, your next 5K, or something in between, there’s a community in Grand Rapids running at your pace and with your goals.
RunGR is a Grand Rapids’ area running group who lives, trains and runs to become better athletes. They are a group of everyday people accomplishing amazing things together on the road and the trails. Their club training coach, Michael Wojciakowski, is a Level 2 certified USA Track & Field coach and has an awesome reputation in the local running community for asking for and getting the very best from his athletes.
RunGR is a membership based program with annual fees, but the membership grants you access to a ton of stuff including: coach led workouts focused on building strength, endurance and speed, Saturday morning long runs with water and gatorade stations, event specific training programs, and entry into the Lake Michigan Credit Union Bridge Run. If you’re serious about getting better as an athlete and want to join forces with some like-minded folks, this is the club for you.
Wednesday Night Hills & Stairs
This group is in it to win it! Wednesday Night Hills & Stairsmeets in front of Founder Brewing Co. EVERY Wednesday year-round, no matter the weather to tackle some gnarly hills (on Lyon, Fountain, and Michigan St.). Once that heart pounding session is over, the group gathers at the top of Michigan Street and heads over to the stairs by Division and Plainfield, doing as many sets of stairs as is humanly possible! (But they leave it up to each individual to decide that.)
From there, they zig zag around downtown, ending back at Founders for some food and libations. The whole route is about 5.5 miles end-to-end and makes for a fun and challenge weekly workout! There is no cost associated, save for the beer post-run!
Every Tuesday at 6:00pm, join Westside Stride at the corner of Summer and Bridge Street for a community fun run! The course is designed as a 5K and allows for running and walking at all paces. Post run, join the group for food, socializing, and high fives all around!
This is totally free to participate and the post run meetups change every week and include The Anchor Bar, Jolly Pumpkin, The Sovengard, O’Toole’s, New Holland Brewing, and more. P.s., October 30th is their Halloween Costume run – not to be missed!
West Michigan Trail Runners
The West Michigan Trail Runnerswas born from the Gazelle Sports Dirty Herd and West Michigan’s community interest in running trails more often than just on Sundays. This group of fun-loving trail enthusiasts run on Tuesday and Thursday nights, as well as most Saturday mornings, when there isn’t an event in town. Their members cover a wide range of speeds and ability levels, and are always up for an adventure! Join their Facebook group to learn more.
The Dirty Herd is a trail running group put together by Gazelle Sports. They encourage all levels, novice or skilled single track navigator, to join them every Sunday at 6 pm for a woodsy adventure with friends! You can join them for sponsored trail runs in Grand Rapids (meet at
Robinette’s Apple Haus), Holland or Kalamazoo. To learn more, jump onto their Facebook groupand get ready to run with the herd.
The Rapid Herd
Also coordinated by Gazelle Sports, The Rapid Herdis a group focused on speed training and agility. They met once a week for one hour of serious speed power. If you’re ready to take your races to the next level, this is a great opportunity. The herd is led by a Gazelle sport coach and it’s completely free to participate. Try out a tempo run, long interval training, short track interval running, hill sessions, and more. They currently meet at the David D. Hunting YMCA every Tuesday at noon and run a minimum of six miles total! Taking your work break with the herd? All participants also have free access to the YMCA locker rooms afterwards to clean up.
Mikkeller Run Club
The Mikkeller Run Club Grand Rapids Chapter is an international running organization with chapters all around the world! The big idea is to stay fit, run with friends, and drink good beer. Speed isn’t the big focus and everyone is very much into having fun and making friends, while getting a good sweat on of course. They have coordinated running events the first Saturday of the month and locations vary, but they always finish up at a bar or house that serves Mikkeller Beer. Join the Grand Rapids chapter, make some friends, get healthy, and enjoy a cold bevvie when it’s all said and done.
Bagel Run GR
Bagel Run GRloves running, community and bagels. Members meet every Tuesday morning at 6 AM at GR Bagelin Eastown. The group typically runs 3-5 mile routes, and offers plenty of support for runners along the way, including bagels from GR Bagel following their run! If you’re an early bird with a penchant for cream cheese and carbs (you earned it!) this is for you.
Grand Rapids Running Club (GRCC)
(GRRC)is focused on promoting running for all ages and activity levels, supporting the community and working as a communications liaison between runners and events, helping encourage everyone interested in getting fit through running! The annual membership fee is only $25.00 and gives you access to regularly scheduled training runs, community events, mentorship groups and more! The club is also open to both walkers and triathletes. Get outside and have fun with GRRC!
Grand Rapids Running Tours
Grand Rapids Running Tours believes that the best way to experience Grand Rapids is by moving at street level, accompanied by a savvy guide who can share history, trivia and fun facts about the people and places you encounter along the way. Each of their guided tours has been designed to maximize your exposure to Grand Rapids’ most interesting and beautiful sights. Their tour ambassadors lead the way as you traverse downtown and the rolling hills of the Grand River valley. They offer many year-round tours as well as a changing array of seasonal tours(too many to list!) and provide participants with a great way to combine friends, fitness, and learning together!
You could probably run every day of the week with different clubs around Grand Rapids if you tried – seriously! We are so lucky to be part of such a vibrant and welcoming running community. Get out there and start making some RBFs (running best friends) and let us know how it’s going below!