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

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.

Castle Runners

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.

Culture Athletics

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

When: Mondays at 6:30 P.M. (Queen Street West), Wednesdays at 6 P.M. (Yorkville) and Thursdays at 6 P.M. (Eaton Centre).

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.

Where: Multiple Lululemon locations in Toronto, including Queen Street WestYorkville and Eaton Centre.

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.

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, 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.

Portland Runners

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.

Visit Portland Runners on Instagram or Facebook for more run details/updates.

Run-TO-Beer

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.

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 Fitness, 10 Lower Spadina, Toronto. (Lockers and showers available on-site.)

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

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