Meet Your Next Forest Park Running Group

For many, running is a solitary pursuit. There’s a sense of freedom that comes from being able to lace up your running shoes and head out at a moment’s notice. It’s one of the appeals of running alone. There’s an ease that comes from running your own pace and having the time to let your mind disconnect from the day.

While you don’t technically need anyone else to go out for a run, having a group to run with comes with benefits.

Accountability

Running with others holds you accountable. You’re less likely to hit snooze if you know that you have a group of runners waiting for you. Fellow runners can also offer support when tackling a new distance. There’s a camaraderie created when you’re all struggling through those last miles.

Making it Social

When you run with others, there’s an instant social dynamic that’s not there if you’re running alone. You can chat over a leisurely run, or you save the socializing till after your run. Some groups end their runs at a restaurant or bar each week, giving you something to look forward to during the run.

Motivation

Running in groups is great motivation. Not only do you typically run a little faster when you’re in a group, but you can also see others’ progress, which can motivate your own running. A running group can be great for sharing tips and cheering on each other.

If you’re interested in joining a group but don’t know where to begin, here are a couple of local groups you might want to check out.

1. St. Louis Frontrunners

This running group has been around since the 1980s. The group is unique in that it offers a safe space for the LGBT+ community and allies to come together for running and walking activities. The group accommodates all distances. “We have walkers who walk a couple miles to runners who are training for marathons,” says Mike Walton, the president of the group. “There are no limitations. We pair a new person with one or more people of similar ability, so they all have buddies.”

  • Meets on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday at 7:30 a.m. at the Dennis & Judith Jones Visitor Center. For more information, visit stlouisfrontrunners.org.

2. St. Louis Track Club

The St. Louis Track Club was created in 1970 to promote an engaged community for runners and walkers of all levels. In addition to many races and social events they hold throughout the year, they regularly host social runs throughout the St. Louis area. All paces are welcome at the social runs, and they try to match people with fellow runners when possible.  

  • Meets on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Dennis & Judith Jones Visitor Center. For more information, visit stlouistrackclub.com.

3. St. Louis Trailrunners

About five years ago, right as Dave McNaughton was joining St. Louis Trailrunners, the man running the group decided he wanted to focus more on mountain bike riding, so McNaughton stepped up and assumed responsibility for the group. The group has about 3-4 runs each week and organizes them on meetup.com. “Forest Park does have trails and a lot of people don’t know that,” says McNaughton.    

4. St. Louis Women’s Running Group

Jessie Davidson began this women’s running group in October of last 2017 after struggling to find her place after moving to St. Louis. She started the group to create female friendships and provide a morning running group for moms who maybe couldn’t get out any other time of day. Davidson says the group “fosters community and provides a safe space for girls to be able to get out and do what they want to do.” 

  • Meets on Thursday at 6:00 a.m. at the Dennis & Judith Jones Visitor Center. More information can be found here.

Are you looking to join one of these groups and concerned about where to keep your personal items while running or walking? How about a secure, unlimited access locker with showers at the Visitor Center in Forest Park?

Jen RobertsRecreation