During warm months, the Twin Cities metro area has numerous beautiful trails for outdoor enthusiasts. Spend an afternoon on any one of those trails and you’ll likely see groups of runners out for training runs. There are many running clubs based in the metro area, and finding the one that is right for you could take some time and research. Those listed below are among the most unique or most active in the region.
Hopkins Lindbergh Center
2400 Lindbergh Drive
Minnetonka, MN 55305
ALARC, which stands for Active Life and Running Club, was founded in 1981. Since then, the group has grown to become one of the largest marathon training clubs in the United States. ALARC offers two 14-week marathon training programs each year. The first is to help runners prepare for Grandma’s Marathon, while the second is to help runners prepare for the Twin Cities Marathon.
In addition, ALARC has two standard running programs. One is called ALARC Core/Speed and is designed to help runners build flexibility, strength and conditioning. ALARC Core/Speed, which costs $35 for the entire year, meets three times per week for 1.5 hours each day. The second running program is the ALARC Distance Program, which runs on eight-week training plans. The group meets twice each week and offers both training runs and classes. For those training to complete a half marathon or full marathon, the fee is $95. For those training to complete a 5K or 10K, the fee is $50. Each distance program is limited to 50 participants. In order to participate in any ALARC training program, runners must purchase an ALARC membership as well.
Minnesota Chapter of the Barefoot Runners Society
The Minnesota Barefoot Runners Society is a Twin Cities metro area running group that focuses on running barefoot or in minimalist shoes. The society aims to bring awareness and understanding about barefoot running to the athletic community while providing resources for those who wish to try running barefoot. The Minnesota chapter was founded in June of 2010 and goes on monthly training runs in and around the Twin Cities. The group members communicate largely through the group’s Facebook page, though information can be found on the Barefoot Runners Society website as well.
Boldly I Run
Boldly I Run is a Christian running group that seeks to help runners of all ability levels improve fitness and overall well-being through running. In addition, the group hopes to help participants “find fitness through fellowship.” The group meets on at 7 a.m. on Saturday mornings at St. Francis Hospital in Shakopee. After each run, group members meet in the cafeteria of St. Francis Hospital for coffee. Members of Boldly I Run can run as little or as much as they like, though predetermined courses are generally about one mile or four miles, depending on the ability level of runners present. And it’s not just for runners — walkers are welcome as well.
Moms Run This Town
Moms Run This Town is a laid-back group that welcomes runners of all ability levels. The group is a national running organization for women with more than 200 chapters throughout the country. There are 15 chapters of Moms Run This Town in Minnesota alone, spanning the state from Duluth to Mankato, and everywhere in between. (Check this list to see if there is a group near you.) The local chapters communicate largely through their own Facebook pages and emails, and each chapter has its own schedule with varying run distances and frequencies. Membership to Moms Run This Town is free.
Twin Cities Running Club
Founded in 2003, the Twin Cities Running Club is open to runners of all ages and ability levels, according to the website. Members of the group can look forward to specialized training programs, social events, discounts on running gear and, of course, group runs. The runs, which are usually held on evenings and weekends, are conducted all around the Twin Cities, but most group runs take place around Lake Harriet and Lake Calhoun. Membership fees begin at $25.
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Kristyn Gansen is a freelance writer covering all things Minneapolis. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.