Running is in: How to find a run club that’s right for you

With running booming in Australia, run clubs are quickly becoming the hottest place to be. Here is how to find one to suit you.

Recreational running has soared in popularity since the pandemic, and as people look for like-minded communities to share their new-found passion, so has the appeal of run clubs.

Once mainly the domain of the competitive runner, there are now run clubs across Australia for every type of runner.

Fiona Smeaton, who co-founded Melbourne Inner North Eastern Runners (MINERs) social run group in 2019, says: “There is a run club to suit whatever you’re looking for.”

Different types of run clubs

Fiona says like runners, run clubs come in all shapes and forms these days.

“There is a massive run club in Brisbane called the Unfit Run Club, and it’s a huge social thing – they get like 200 people to a run at night and they run through the city and then go to the pub,” Fiona says.

The Croissant Run Club encourages people to run together and enjoy a pastry afterwards as a reward for their effort.

There are even run clubs for singles.

“A lot of people are joining run clubs to find love – that’s a real thing at the moment – it’s like an alternative to dating websites,” Fiona says.

Fiona says Running Mums Australia is a huge running community for women which offers local chapters in major cities.

“You can connect with them to find local run groups, and they have a fantastic resource for training programs and if you join their club, you get discount codes to events and gear.”

How to find a run club

Running coach Lydia Palmieri recommends word of mouth as a starting point to finding a club that will suit your needs.

“There are so many different run clubs – some are social, some competitive, some offer coaching – it depends on what you’re looking for and what your goals are,” Lydia, who coaches Hustle & Thrive Heidelberg run club, says.

“Talk to your friends or other runners and ask where they run and what type of running they do.

“Social media is also a good way to search run clubs in your area and find out what they’re about.”

How you start with a club depends on the type of group.

Some run clubs are free, and you can participate simply by joining their online group and turning up to a scheduled run.

Others may involve a paid membership, especially if they offer coaching.

Why join a run club?

Fiona says myriad reasons people join run clubs.

“People might be looking for motivation, or they want to make friends with people who are into the same thing, or they just want to feel more secure when they’re running,” she says.

Lydia believes that run clubs form amazing friendships.

“You’re socialising with like-minded people,” Lydia says.

“Then these people go on their long run together, or do parkrun together, and you have great conversations with each other while you’re out there, you hear people’s stories.

“Some of my best friends have come from my run club connections.”

Fiona explains that joining a running club can help you achieve your goals.

They can assist you in running a 5K, a longer distance, or even a marathon. The club may not offer formal coaching, but it can still be beneficial.

“People often say, ‘I never would have thought I would do a half marathon when I joined’, but you’re around others who are talking about it and it normalises it, and it sparks the idea that ‘maybe I can’,” Fiona explains.

Which are the best apps for runners?

We asked Fiona and Lydia for their top running app recommendations.


Many runners think that if a run is not recorded on Strava, it didn’t actually happen. This is because Strava is highly respected for tracking runs.

“Strava gives you stats in terms of how you’re improving, and it’s a little bit like social media in (that) you can look at your friends’ runs and give people kudos,” Fiona says.

Nike Run Club

The Nike Run Club app is good for offering workouts and programs such as couch to 5K.


Lydia also likes the Femmi app for women.

“It’s a great one for female runners because it tracks your menstrual cycle and provides programs based on your hormone levels,” Lydia says.

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Written by Claire Burke.