Who to Run With Now it’s Getting Darker?
Running together is fun, friendly and supportive. Like most things in life it’s so much better together than solo.
This becomes even more important when the nights begin drawing in and the temperature starts to drop. It’s at these times of the year that you are more at risk of losing the running habit you’ve worked hard to build up. The sunny afternoon runs are a distance memory as the PJs and comfy sofa beckon.
Group running is a great way to take collective accountability when you get to those inevitable moments of whether to peel yourself off the sofa or not. The friendships you build around the experiences and the collective purpose in a group is what will keep pulling you back in when every bone in your body is saying no!
We have put together some of the best group running opportunities from around Leeds that suit a range of abilities! Keep the running bug through the autumn and winter and check out the following:
GoodGym in a nutshell is doing good and getting fit at the same time. When you say it like that it sounds really simple but this is exercise with an open mind that harnesses the potential of local communities.
Every week the Leeds GoodGym group run, walk or cycle to help community projects and isolated older people in Leeds. Each session is different; you might be hanging someone’s curtains one week and shovelling tonnes of soil in a community veg patch the next. Ultimately, it’s a great way to get fit, meet new people and do some good.
GoodGym is for everyone (18+) and is free to participate in. Most members opt to donate £9.95/month to help reach more people, but it is optional. Get involved over on the GoodGym website
parkrun is a global running phenomena that started life 17 -years-ago in Bushy Park, London. Everyone is welcome to walk, jog, run or volunteer at the free 5k timed event every Saturday from 9am. Thousands of walk-runners and volunteers congregate in parks spanning 23 countries in 727 locations and counting. parkrun spans cultures and countries across continents.
In Leeds these three parkrun’s should be at the top of your list…
Woodhouse Moor parkrun
Woodhouse Moor parkrun was the fourth parkrun event in the world and the first event outside of London. On the route there’s minimal gradient change and the most eye-catching sights on your way round are the statues and busts of kings and queens. Yet, when it comes touring parkruns in Leeds this ones a classic and a right of passage for every parkrunner.
Roundhay parkrun is your destination parkrun in Leeds. Roundhay Park is one of the largest urban parks in the world and the visitor numbers (1 million a year) speak volumes. Running around the park early on a Saturday morning is a delight. At any one point you could be gliding past the Mansion, cricket club, lake or café.
It’s a fairly challenging parkrun – particularly the long drag back up the hill to the finish line – but it’s worth the slog when you’re set up for a morning and afternoon of activities afterwards.
Potternewton parkrun is one of the more recent additions to the Leeds park-running community. Located in the Harehills and Chapeltown area this event is arguably one of the hardest in Leeds. Not because it has a few hills (we are in Leeds!) but these hills push you in multiple ways. The long climbs that go on and on and on. And the sharp drops that come back up like a rollercoaster ride. Mix that up and you’ve got yourself a parkrun test.
Social Running Groups
Leeds Frontrunners are a fully inclusive running club who’s primary focus is supporting runners who identify as LGBTQ*. With a big focus on inclusivity the LFRs welcome anyone that enjoys a run ‘and are happy to look beyond the labels’.
LFR members range in ability from 5k up to marathon distance and with two England Athletic qualified run coaches they are able to support members on their running journey. Whatever your ability or goal you’ll find members to run and train with here.
Join the Leeds Frontrunners every Saturday morning in Roundhay Park for a 9am start by the café apart from the last Saturday of the month when the group meet at Granary Wharf at 10am for a city-centre excursion. They also host a Thursday run from the Oakwood Clock at 7pm. To join LFR head to their website.
The Crossgate Harriers are a very sociable and friendly running club over in the east of Leeds. The Harriers guarantee that there are a range of groups to suit different abilities, from beginner to advanced. If you fancy turning up come to the Wednesday meet from 7:15pm at John Smeaton Leisure Centre.
Leeds Dock is one of the most central run groups in LDS. Leeds Dock Running Club is a social running group for all abilities led by qualified run leaders. And the group is perfect for those working and commuting in the city centre because the sessions start at midday on a Tuesday and Thursday outside of North Star Coffee – lunchtime work run anyone?
South Leeds Lakers
The South Leeds Lakers take the mantle for being the first ever inclusive (open to anyone) running group to grace the streets of inner south Leeds.
This super social group runs with a smile on their face and welcomes new runners – with regular Couch to 5k programmes every year – and a club competitive option if you like that kind of thing. There’s even a junior section and a new walking to fitness group.
The club meets every Tuesday and Thursday at 6:55pm outside Beeston Village Community Centre .
One of the fastest growing social run groups in west Leeds are the Bramley Breezers. The Breezers are careful to include you whatever stage of your running journey you’re at, stating: ‘we all have different abilities and therefore, we ensure we motivate all others in the group and provide support if needed.’ What’s more the Breezers love to unwind after a mid-week run session with a drink in the Bramley Villagers.
Join them every Monday evening at the Bramley Villagers Community Club on Broad Lane from 6:30pm.
Whatever your ability and purpose Leeds has some great social running opportunities to join this autumn and winter. If you’re running solo and you want to maintain your running habit why not try running together in a group with a new bunch of like minded folk.
Check out one of the above and let us know how you get on at @LeedsRunRoutes!