How to Make Running Suck Less (A Guide to Toronto’s Run Crews)

Last updated: July 20, 2018

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.)

BlackToe Running

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.

Eastbound Run Crew (EBRC)

When: Mondays at 6:15 P.M.

Why: This small, new Riverside crew has a social focus, so if you like capping off a low-key 5k or 8k with a post-run pint, this 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.

Night Terrors Run Crew (NTRC)

When: Mondays at 7:30 P.M. (social run between 5-9k), Tuesdays at 7:30 P.M. (track or hill night), Thursdays at 7:30 P.M. (mid-distance run between 8-14k), Saturdays at 8:30 A.M. (long run). Visit 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.

Parkdale Roadrunners

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, choice of two distances, open to those able to cover 10k in under one hour). In addition, on one Tuesday per month, there’s a “Starting From Scratch” run for beginners: an easy 2-3k (with walk breaks, as needed).

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 super-psyched, confetti-tossing cheer squads at local races.

Where: Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen Street West, Toronto.

Visit parkdaleroadrunners.com for more run details/updates.

Run-TO-Beer

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When: Runs generally happen weekly; routes 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 3,500 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.

Tribe Fitness

When: Wednesdays at 7 P.M. (5k) and Saturdays at 9 A.M. (10k, followed by optional brunch).

Why: Founded by runner/cyclist/yogi Heather Gardner as “a fitness community sweating for social good,” Tribe prides itself on its inclusive, accessible vibe. All paces welcome.

Where: Tribe’s newly opened studio space, 10 Lower Spadina, Toronto. (Lockers and showers available on-site.)

Visit Tribe Fitness on Facebook for more run details/updates.

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