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

Last updated: February 13, 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.

Bond Running

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When: Mondays at 7 P.M. (speed sessions), Thursdays at 7 P.M. (5k), Fridays at 7 P.M. (long run), Saturdays at 10 A.M. (beginner’s run). Visit Bond’s Strava Club page for run specifics.

Why: With four runs per week, this specialty shop surely has an option to fit your schedule. The store also has an Athlete Café (with caffeine from Reunion Island and Station Cold Brew, and cold-pressed juices from Loop), lockers and a shower.

Where: Bond Running, 329 Spadina Avenue, Toronto.

Visit bondrunning.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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