Running Clubs?

Hello all

I've been toying with the idea of joining a running club for quite a while now - but I always think myself out of it because I don't feel I'm fit enough (yet!). Has anyone had any experience of joining one as a beginner - and what kind of welcome did you get? (more specifically in the birmingham area?)
At the moment I'm plodding my way through a marathon training schedule for NY on NOV 3rd - but I always seem to be running at the same (slow) pace whether it's 3 miles or 13! I think a bit of work on a track would be good for me but to be honest I'm a little terrified as I don't cut the most athletic figure!


  • Hi Caketin,
    I'm afraid I can't offer you much advice, as I'm in the same position as you. I too have been toying with the idea of joining a running club, but thought that I wasn't really in the same league as them as I'm a bit of a plodder! Anyway, just last week I emailed a couple in my area (explaining how I felt and what my best times were..) and they both replied inviting me to come along, explaining that there were runners of all levels & abilities at the clubs and that they would welcome me as a new member! Maybe you could email a few in your area (I'm in Essex), and I'm sure they'll be as welcoming as the ones I've tried. Let me know how you get on. I'm intending to go along next week! Good Luck.
    Michelle x
  • Cheers for that Michelle - be sure to let me know how you get along.
  • As an active member of Derwentside AC I can say that a lot of clubs welcome new members and go out of the way to help new runners, for example

    About 4 months ago a new member came along to the club, after promising her son that she would do the GNR with him. At the start she struggled to complete 1-mile but everyone in the club has helped her out by taking out a little further each time (at the start the existing members used this as a warm up for there main training session)

    Now the same person is now managing 10-mile runs with the steady peace pack

    note we have fast, medium and steady pace packs who train together on a Tuesday and everyone goes out together on a Thursday – as well as people pairing up for long weekend runs

    In short being a member of a club helps you improve – you make new friends – and generally enjoy training more when there are others around you who enjoy the same thing – provides motivation

    So go for it

  • Will

    Thanks for that - it is the reassurance I was looking for! Just contacted Birmingham Rowheath AC and awaiting reply. Hoping to go along on Thursday. Even if they proove a little too athletic - they might be able to point me in the right direction.
  • Hi Caketin,
    I joined my local running club in May as a beginner. I was reasonably fit as I had been going to the gym, but hadn't done any kind of running except for the odd 15mins on a treadmill. Everybody was very friendly and more than welcoming. There was another lady who joined at the same time as me who is now my running partner and we meet on weekends to run together as well as the club nights. We are both by far the slowest(!) in the club, but there is always someone who doubles back at the corners to make sure we know where we're going! Last week I was there alone and found the people at the back naturally waited for me, which was nice as I hadn't even met them before! I feel bad at slowing peoples run down, but figure when the next beginner starts I will be the one waiting for them! I've also entered a few races through the club and it's great to get towards the finish line and have people cheering you on (even though they finished ages earlier!).

    Sorry I don't know of any clubs in Birmingham - my club is in London - but I say go for it! I've made some new friends and had lots of encouragement.

    (by the way, I ran 4 miles on my first night, which was so much further than I'd ever ran in my life, so if you're in marathon training you'll be fit enough)
  • Hmm have been hesitating about trying my local club as they said the min they did on beginners night was 4 miles only done 5km and some of that I walked - did make me feel not so sure of myself.
    After reading all this will try again and have a chat with club and see what they say.
    Feel I need a club now to help me improve as have been runing for a since middle of may.
    Think I may run further as others will be doing so and wouldn't want to let side down.

  • i can highly recommend joining a club. I joined as a beginner last year and I was made really welcome. When I was lagging behind, which was most of the time at first, someone always hung back with me and talked me through the bad patches to keep me going.
    On Tuesdays we generally go out for about an hour and cover 5/6 miles over varying terrain and on Thursdays we do speedwork. This is really good for me as speedwork is so beneficial but I never do it when I am running on my own. Also the Tuesday night sessions are goob because I don't have to plan the routes, I just follow someone else. Its a great social scene and we go to races together too.
    Most clubs have a couple of groups who go out at different speeds aswell.
    I rang round the local leisure centres to contact my club. I don't know much about running in Birmingham, I think there is a Birmingham Joggers. The shop Birmingham Runner (advertises in RW) would probably know as well if you have not found a club yet.
    Good luck and let us know how you get on.
  • I have just joined a running club and would recommend it. I am at a slow pace and this club has a couple of people of that pace who I can run with and it's great to be with others. That way you go out on routes you would not normally try, pick up tips and so forth. I had all sorts of fears before going along to the first session but would really recommend it.
  • I'm off to meet a group tonight - and they sound quite relaxed and friendly. I'm also going to check one out on Thursday but I have a feeling they'll be too athletic for me!
    I'll let you know how it goes, and thanks for all the encouragement.
  • Just thought I'd update you all on progress(!) so far.
    went to meet new social running group last night but I must have been standing outside the wrong gym as no one else turned up! Good job really because a few minutes into my (solo)run, my knee started hurting and I headed home after only a few hill reps!
    Was planning to go and have look see at another group tonight (track based - more athletic) but will be giving it a miss in favor of some gentle cross training at gym.
    Haven't given up entirely though. After a weeks rest I'll be back out there - and hopefully have more luck!
  • Good to see I'm not the only one who's a little nervous about joining a running club. I've been running since April - started to train for Race For Life here in Coventry- and now facing the prospect of dark evenings limiting my regular street running as the Winter approaches. Does anybody out there know of any clubs local to me that would welcome a beginner who has to juggle family commitments too?
  • Well done Caketin for going down there..! That's the worst bit over! I'm intending on going next Thursday..I feel a bit nervous, but keep thinking that if I don't like it or feel that they're way out of my league (highly likely!), then I needn't go again. Hope your knee feels better.
    Michelle x
  • Ab - (or maybe .com)have a club finder which I think is the one I used. Not on usual computer so can't check search history - but will report again on monday. oups Also try searching under Sisters Network - which are a womens only running group who have groups all over the country.
    Race for Life is how I started a few years ago - and never looked back. Such a great idea - I applaud the people at Cancer research who thought that one up.

    Michelle - good luck on Thursday, let me know how it goes. Since last Wed's disasterous attempt I'm giving running a miss till next week. Have had lots of gym sessions instead to keep things ticking over, and knee not currently giving me any problems. Fingers crossed it stays this way as I hope to go to running club again now I know the right place to meet!
  • Have been in several running clubs as lived in various places all over the country. Depends what you are looking for. Be prepared to try a few! It can take some time to find one where you are comfortable running with the people and where you can be encouraged to get better. Some club nights are like mini competitions. Think about what you might be able to give to the club in the future e.g encourage/run with other new members etc. Never forget how and where you started.
  • Hi, I'm also very much wanting to join a local running club but can't seem to find a suitable one in my area, apart from the Serpentine in Central London. Does anyone know of any in or near East London? I've had a look on the web but can't seem to find anything! I really want to improve and don't have the discipline to do it on my own, but I have entered myself in a 10k in November and really want to finish in a respectable time! Any pointers would be very much appreciated - thanks!
  • Cathy,

    East London's got several clubs try:
    Barking Road Runners (
    East London Road Runners (
    Eton Manor (
    Havering '90 Joggers (
    Ilford (
    Loughton (
    Orion Harriers (
    Victoria Park Harriers & Tower Hamlets (
    Woodford Green with Essex Ladies (

    Good luck
  • John
    You seem to know the running clubs well. I've just moved to South West London, Tooting/Wimbledon, and have been exploring running clubs on the website. Looking for a club renowned for marathon training.


  • Tatts might I suggest looking at

    I have no personal experience of them but they might be worth investigating.
  • Not normally one to be sensible but there is a good index of clubs here.

  • Hi Caketin,

    Haven't read the whole thread as I should be working. But thought I would let you know that I started running in April and joined a running club in August. Was a bit worried but they are really friendly and encouraging. Most of them are faster than me but they were all beginners once so they understand what it is like when you have just started.

    I do a track session once a week with them which is really good for me as it makes me do speed training, most of my runs are plodded at a single pace so it is good to get variety.

    Definitely go for it!
  • Dragon, thanks for that information, much appreciated.
    Good to hear encouragement from superpootle (!) as well, one of my favourite childhood characters.
  • Tatts,

    For women the serious marathon training squad in SW London is Belgrave Harriers ( They have been chasing the team championship in the London Marathon for the last 3 years.

    More local to you are:
    Herne Hill Harriers ( at Tooting Bec track. They usually have a strong women's group including several marathon runners.

    Hercules Wimbledon ( They seem to have a few good female distance runners at the moment too.

    If you have any difficulties tracking the right person down let me know I can usually dig out an email address or two.

    Happy hunting.
  • Tatts,

    You could always come along to the Serpentine RC. We have a very strong women's team and actually won the Women's team championship at this years FLM!!
  • Hi Caketin,

    I joined an athletics club when I was about 9 years old and stuck with them for ten years until I moved away. It was the best thing I've ever done. Not only is the atmosphere great whatever level you're at, but you get to hear of many other events in your area. And the social life is good too. Go for it!!
  • Thanks so much for that, I'll check them out!
  • I joined a great club .. after getting hysterical and thinking that everyone there would laugh and ask me what on earth I was doing joining a running club ... had a great welcome. There are a couple of members who act as "guardian angels" on your first night and run with you. Everyone is really encouraging. I feel a bit of groupie admiring all these fast runners but it is sooooo exciting to be a part of it. If anyone is dying to try ... my advice would be ... GO FOR IT!
  • Where can I buy ASICS Gel DS Trainer (VII)? I see them on UK websites, but never to purchase. I need a Men's size 12 and a Women's 7.5 - any ideas would be gratefully received.

  • I've been thinking of joining Dulwich Runners in London. Would anyone recommend them ? Also, I have a fearful vision that, as they run in the evenings, they will be able to run far further than me and I will not be able to make it back to base. What do I do ? Catch a bus ? Can anyone tell me how they operate and how the slow ones keep up with the fast long distance ones ? Do you all have to run the same distance or what ?
  • caketin if youm are still reading this after all this time, the running shop on hagley road (up and running) advertise women only running nights in their window
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