Are Running Clubs The New Nightclubs?

By Ellie Smith

2 weeks ago

Inside the rise of the run club


For years, the main trends in the London fitness scene have centred around swish, boutique studios – reformer Pilates, boxing, spinning. But recently, there has been a shift, with record numbers of people getting into running. More people than ever applied to take part in the 2025 London Marathon, running shoe brand Hoka has reported huge growth, and #RunTok is taking over TikTok, with the hashtag having amassed over 67 million views on the platform. Strava, meanwhile, is fast becoming the buzziest social media platform out there – last year, it added in-app messaging, allowing users to chat routes and compare notes.

This surge in interest surrounding running has led to an influx in running clubs, which are loved as much for their social element as they are for the sporting factor. One of the biggest right now is Friday Night Lights, a new company whose tagline is ‘London’s healthiest night out’, which runs high-energy, nighttime 5K and 10K runs. All-female running and wellness club These Girls Run, meanwhile, launched at the end of 2021, and there are now over 10 locations dotted across the UK. Keen to get involved? Here’s everything you need to know about the world of run clubs.

A Guide To Run Clubs In London

What Happens At A Run Club?

There are a wide variety of types of running clubs out there, but they usually share the same, simple premise: a group of people running together. Generally they are free to join, and involve meeting up weekly, bi-weekly or monthly for a group run, with distances ranging from 5Ks to half marathons. Sometimes there will be just a handful of people, other times you could be pounding the pavements alongside 200 fellow runners.

Running shoes

Getty Images

Benefits

We all know running comes with a whole host of health benefits. These include: 

  • Protecting heart health: Running is one of the best forms of cardiovascular exercise, renowned for getting your heart pumping. Numerous studies have found runners have a lower risk of heart-related ailments compared to non-runners, such as this research from the National Library of Medicine, which found that running for just five to ten minutes a day reduces the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
  • Increases longevity: Research also suggests running can help you live longer, which is partly because it helps develop a strong immune system. This study, for instance, found runners have a 25 to 40 percent reduced risk of premature mortality.
  • Helps build strong bones: As it’s a form of weight-bearing exercise, running strengthens muscles and increases bone density – which is crucial for preventing osteoporosis, particularly as we age.

Run clubs have other perks too. There’s the social element: joining is a great way to meet like-minded people, and a different way to socialise than the usual pints at the pub. Clubs are also useful for improving your technique and stamina, helping with motivation, and offering safety – particularly if you’re running in the dark.

 

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Best Running Clubs & Events In London

Friday Night Lights

Looking for a night out without the hangover? This is not a run club per se, but Friday Night Lights organises nighttime runs on Friday nights, through the streets of London, complete with high-energy music. Events take place in locations across the city, including along the river and around Battersea Park – and if you want to stick around afterwards, you can celebrate with a zero percent tipple (naturally).

fridaynightlights.run

These Girls Run

Molly Slater-Davidson launched a running club in York at the end of 2021, aiming to create a safe, supportive environment for female runners. She later moved to London and brought the club to the city, as well as expanding it to a number of locations across the UK. Runs are designed to be inclusive and feel-good, with ambassadors at the front, middle and back of every run to ensure all abilities are catered for.

thesegirlsrun.co.uk

Midnight Runners

Another of London’s most popular running clubs is Midnight Runners, which operates everywhere from Berlin to Bogota. You can get involved in an array of different events, from the signature Bootcamp Run, which involves stopping every few km for bootcamp-style exercises, to Party Runs: themed runs where fancy dress is thrown into the mix.

midnightrunners.com

London Frontrunners

Formed all the way back in 1995, London Frontrunners is an LGBTQ+ running and triathlon club with over 600 members. It offers a variety of runs throughout the week, taking places in locations including Clapham, Greenwich, Regent’s Park and Elephant & Castle, with events designed to be sociable and fun.

londonfrontrunners.org

Run Talk Run

Run Talk Run is a running group which focuses on mental health support. It hosts weekly 5k runs for Londoners where you can chat while you jog, departing from the Wheatsheaf Pub in Tooting, and sometimes ending with a catch up and a drink for those who fancy it.

runtalkrun.com