The Virgin Sport Guide to London’s Running Club + Crew Scene

At Virgin Sport, running is considered a team sport. We love our running crews because they’re more than just a group of people getting together for a run; they’re families of people connecting as humans and supporting each other to go a bit further and a bit faster.

Here’s our guide to London’s vast and diverse running crew and club scene — they’re all friends we admire and work with and each has their own unique style and vibe. So if you’re new to the running scene, check out our list below — you’ll be sure to find one to suit your speed.

BACKPACKERS

Photo via Backpackers

In their own words:

We might not have supreme speed at our heels but we do have the heart to take us the distance. You’ll often find us giving it our all and leading from the back. Setting our own pace without the pressure of keeping up with everyone else.

Don’t feel sorry for us because we’re at the back. We like it there. We can run marathons and more. We set our bar high, and we surpass it with every step we take.

We run and we laugh, joke and sing whilst we do it. We break down the stereotypes and build up our community of runners who are not fazed by a 5 hour + marathon but know that running in a pack of our peers makes us stronger than ever. Slow is not weak. Our race at our pace.

Our take: Perfect for Newbies

If you’re just beginning to run, the BackPackers are an amazing group to start with. At Virgin Sport Hackney, this crew also acted as our official pacers for the joggier, joggy and walk/jog paces, leading from the back and leaving nobody behind. First-timers,those who may be intimidated by the club/crew scene, or anyone who just wants to hang with a lovely group of people, pack it up and join the BackPackers!

When to meet: Thursdays at 6:45pm, Lululemon Regent St

Follow The Leaders:
Leanne Adu, @specialee85
Nav Kiana, @navski72
Chevy Rough, @chasing19 (Chasing Lights Collective Captain and Founder)

Handles + Hashtags:
@backpackersclc @chasinglightscollective #itwasntfastbutitwasdone #leadingfromtheback #chasinglights #chasinglightscollective #mindfulmovement


CAGERUNNERS

Photo via Cagerunners

In their own words:

CageRunners sessions are designed for all levels of road warriors, from our beloved BackPackers, through to the short shorts massive. Mondays, Wednesday and Saturday long runs can act as your weekly marathon training sessions.

Led by Run Coach, Chevy Rough, the sessions are broken down into effective warm ups, running technique drills, strength and then a run that prioritises a quality approach to training opposed to, wasted miles pounding the pavement.

And let’s not forget why we do this….The people! Come join the family and don’t train alone. We got you.

Our take: For the Mindful-Minded

In these times oversaturated by ‘PB PB PB, fast fast fast, skinny skinny skinny, perfect perfect perfect’, the Cagerunners’ mindful approach to moving is both refreshing and sorely needed.

Chevy Rough and the wonderful group of people around him in the Chasing Lights Collective have stripped back external pressures and quantified measures of success to allow you to focus on the real benefits of movement. Chevy encourages you to unplug the headphones, turn off the tracking device, and listen to your body. Get ready for a training of body & mind, and to leave feeling equally relaxed and stimulated by this charming collective.

When to meet: Weds 6:45pm Lululemon, Old Spitalfields Market

Follow The Leaders:
Nav Kiana, @navski72
Chevy Rough, @chasing19 (Chasing Lights Collective Captain and Founder)

Handles + Hashtags: @cagerunnersclc #🆑Collective #🆑CageRunners #🆑Community #FucktheCage


EAST LONDON RUNNERS

Photo by East London Runners

In their own words:

From humble beginnings in 1982 when a few runners would meet outside a sports shop in Wanstead, East London Runners has grown into a thriving club with over 280 members. But don’t be daunted by our size!

We compete in all distances, on track, road and cross country but we pride ourselves on our welcoming friendly atmosphere, and our all-inclusive approach to all runners and wanna be runners. Our close proximity to Epping Forest, the QEOP and the River Lee means there’s a lot to explore away from the traffic. Few running clubs can boast that they can start a run in dense forest with bluebells and finish in Central London.

Our usual weekly events consist of training on a track, a club run (which can be as challenging as you want it to be) and a more leisurely sociable Sunday run — often followed by coffee and cake! When members are training for an event like the Virgin Sport Hackney Half Marathon we will plan runs of specific distances and paces to build stamina and strength for the big day.

Our take: For Those Who Like To Change It Up
East London Runners are a fantastic club with great infrastructure, whose vests can be spotted at the front of races all over London. You can pick and choose from track training to a chill Sunday run, but always expect a group who will push you to achieve your goals and provide great training support. There are also lots of extra-curricular activity, such as volunteering at the Virgin Money London Marathon (no, not ours, we can’t give you a spot :p).

When to Meet: Mondays at 6:45pm, Ashton Playing Fields (Speed Session), Wednesdays at 6:45pm, Wanstead Leisure Centre (10K)


GOODGYM

Photo via Goodgym

In their own words:

GoodGym are a community of runners who combine exercise with helping their communities. We run to help isolated older people and do physical tasks for local community projects. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for people to use their exercise to help the people and places where they live. Members get expert fitness advice from a running coach.

Our take: For Those Who Want To Give Back

GoodGym is pure genius. It combines two essential human needs: to feel healthy and good about ourselves, and to give back to help others.

With already in over 30 locations in the UK, the GoodGym is a growing movement we look forward to helping become even bigger — look out Oxford. In our eyes, there can never be too many GoodGyms or GoodGym goers.

When to Meet: Tuesdays at 6:45pm GoodGym Hackney, E5 Bakehouse, Wednesdays at 6:15pm GoodGym Westminster, New Balance Store

LDN BRUNCH CLUB

Photo via LDN Brunch Club

In their own words:

LDN Brunch Club is a run community that combines two Sunday staples — running and brunch. Heading out from our Shoreditch base each Sunday, we help runners of all levels complete long weekend training runs followed by brunch at different restaurants and cafes across London

Our Take: For The Fit Foodies
If you’re looking for the best brunch and cafe spots in London — and for the healthy, scenic route to get there, LDN Brunch Club is for you.

This Hackney based club is a close member of the Virgin Sport family — founder Stephen Adjaidoo led Virgin Sport free fitness initiatives in the borough, and many of the crew members were part of our Dream Team of pacers at VS Hackney 2017. Look out for them at upcoming British 10K (entries still open, so don’t miss out) on 9 July and next year’s Hackney — and train with ’em in the meantime!

When to Meet: Wednesdays at 6:30pm, BaseFit Shoreditch (Strength & Conditioning), Sundays 10am, Hackney (?)

Follow The Leaders:
Stephen Adjaidoo, @stephenadjaidoo
@ldnbrunchclub #LDNBrunchClub


MIDNIGHT RUNNERS

Photo via Midnight Runners

In their own words:

Midnight Runners are an urban fitness movement like no other. Founded on the principle that running is a whole lot better together than alone we are a strong community of individuals who love community urban fitness. Our events don’t just stop in London. With Midnight Runners you are as likely to be running the Barcelona beachfront, a Swedish forest and the Amsterdam canals as you are along the River Thames.

We are incredibly inclusive and our passionate team of Crew will challenge you to become the best you can be. All you need is the will to run, a sense of adventure and the attitude to get stuck in. Our runners have gone onto compete in some of the world’s most iconic races, have organised marathons in war zones, running festivals, raised tens of thousands for charity but most importantly slashed their PB’s! We guarantee being part of Midnight Runners will be one hell of a journey but most importantly one that is total fun

Our Take: For Music Fans + Night Owls Who Like To Party
Fun is the name of the Midnight Runners club game — this crew sure knows how to party. Whether it’s a Tuesday night 10k bootcamp fueled with music or one of their infamous Midnight Runs (last Friday of each month), running with this crew instantly gives you feel-good fun vibes.

Midnight Runners is also a great place to meet new people as well as many expats in the city. Their 10k route along the Thames also offers you the best sights London has to ogle.

When to Meet: Tuesdays at 7:30pm, Camino Blackfriars (Music 10K Bootcamp), Thursdays at 6:30pm, Mile End track (Track Session), Fridays at 8pm, Various locations (always ending up at night club), Midnight Run, usually last Fri of the month, check Facebook group for details, Sundays at 10am, country trails (Most weeks)

Follow the Leaders:
Greg Drach, @gregexploring
Jody Bragger, @adventureswithjb
Daniel Varga, @daniel.varga12
@londonmidnightrunners


NOVEMBER PROJECT LONDON

Photo via November Project LDN

In their own words:

We host free workouts at the Duke of York Column near St. James’ Park each Wednesday morning at 6:29am. No matter what. November Project motivates people of all fitness levels to get moving in the morning with a great workout and some positive vibes.

We believe that a great workout doesn’t have to be expensive (or any amount of money for that matter) and it doesn’t have to be intimidating. Our workouts are completely scalable; whether you’re just getting off the sofa for the first time, or a seasoned athlete, we’ve got something for you. All you’ve got to do, is just show up!

Our Take: #JustShowUp and Find Out For Yourself…
One word: dedication. This weatherproof tribe assembles every Wednesday at 6:29am, in 34 cities across the globe, rain, shine, storm, snow — no what else is happening in your life, you can show up to the November Projects and are guaranteed an experience that’ll leave you feeling inspired.

There’s no better way to start your morning than a session with them — this sweat session will also leave you charged with optimism and positivity. Expect American doses of enthusiasm (F*** Yeah!) and an indoctrination into a global tribe that’ll leave you wanting more.

Our Chief Exercise Officer Mary is a regular back in NYC, and you can often find the team in LDN at a Weds morning workout.

When To Meet: Wednesdays at 6:29am, Duke of York Column

Follow the Leaders:
Jake Otto, @broken_stick
Tom McGillycuddy, @tmcgillycuddy
Brogan Graham aka BG, @brogangraham — Global leader
Bojan Mandaric, @bmandaric — Global leader

Handles + Hashtags:
@novemberprojectldn #justshowup #thetribeisstrong #fuckyeah


RUN CLUB EAST

Photo via Run Club East

In their own words:

Run Club East is a local community run club based in Stratford and the surrounding area. I set up the group as an alternative running group. We are a sociable group of runners of mixed abilities.

The group dynamics is about being supportive and understanding one another. We know not everyone is at the same level and that everyone is different but everyone is able to run with someone within the group that is at a similar level to them, so we cater for everyone. As a coach and runner I encourage, motivate and help all my runners to achieve their targets whatever that may be, through drills, fitness sessions, pacing at events or just being at the end of the finish line.

Our Take: For Introverts
If you are looking for a smaller, more intimate running community in East London, Run Club East are a great shout, and led by Deano (Kramer) you will receive expert training advice and structured drill sessions.

When to Meet: Mondays at 7pm, As Nature Intended, Stratford


RUN DEM CREW

Photo via Run Dem Crew

In their own words:

We are not a running club and we do not jog. First and foremost we are family and a community who run hard, run fast and run strong.

Formed in the winter of 2007 by DJ, poet and writer Charlie Dark, as an alternative to more traditional running clubs, Run Dem Crew has grown from a casual run around the neighbourhood with friends to a large and multifaceted organisation with fingers in many creative pies. Committed to change and the upliftment of the next generation RDC works closely with young people across London providing mentoring and advice along with the opportunity to explore London in a safe, unique, positive and supportive environment. As well as exploring the streets of London the Run Dem Crew also celebrates the diverse urban environment that surrounds the 1948 space with workshops, films and events.

Be you a marathon veteran or taking your first steps towards your first race, the Run Dem Crew caters for runners of all abilities with runs split into groups according to fitness and pace.

Our Take: For Those Looking For Belonging
Run Dem Crew is everything beyond the run — this remarkable family inspires us so much, and Charlie Dark has such a way with words that it’s hard to do them justice. They’ve been going for ten years strong, and their meetups are first and foremost about the community and about bringing people together. Prepare for poetic and lyrical words and stories that’ll leave you wanting more — and then, prepare to run.

We look forward to the next ten years and more of Run Dem Crew — London is a better place because of them.

When to Meet: Check the rundemcrew website for more information.

Follow the Leaders:
Charlie Dark, @daddydarkrdc
Sanchia Legister, @misssanchialege

Handles + Hashtags
@run.dem.crew #crewlove #goodvibesonly #rundemcrewyoungers


TRACK MAFIA

Photo via Track Mafia

In their own words:

Like minded souls in search of that which shall not be named’

Our Take: For Dedicated Track Runners
Track Mafia leader Cory, aka BitBeefy, is the coach you’ll love to hate. A session with them will leave you feeling ‘never before has so much pain been so enjoyable’.

The team at Track Mafia will have you kicking round the track again and again. And then again.

Notable member from VS Hackney Pacing Dream Team, Alex “The Express” Holley can be found honing his skills at Paddington Rec on a Thursday night. And, underneath the floodlights, with Cory’s booming charisma, the place looks like a Colosseum and leaves you feeling like a gladiator. A must see.

When to Meet: Thursdays 6:45pm, Paddington Recreation Ground

Follow the Leaders:
Cory Wharton-Malcom, @bitbeefy
Jules Buena, @jules_buena

Handles + Hashtags:
@trackmafia_ #trackside #ownit #tellnoone


TRACK EAST

Photo via Track East

In their own words:

TrackEast is our weekly session at Mile End Stadium where we do a mix of speed work exercises to help you become better, stronger & faster runners. Everyone is welcome, regardless of experience or ability, and whether you regularly run any of our other #RunDemCrew sessions. Just bring plenty of #CrewLove and #GoodVibesOnly

Our Take: Do It For Paul Baines
Paul Baines is the man over in East London. Intervals on the track with the likes of Little Darren are going to improve your speed, strength and form in no time.

When to Meet: Thursdays at 6:45pm, Mile End track

Follow the Leader:
Paul Baines, @pb1million

Handles + Hashtags:
@trackeast #trackeast #rundemcrew #goodvibesonly


SERPENTINE RUNNING CLUB

Photo via Serpentine Running Club

In their own words:

Serpentine is one of the largest running and triathlon clubs in Britain. We have 1726 members of whom 39% are women. We have a wide variation of ages: a few juniors, many young people, a few in their eighties and everything in-between. There is a more detailed breakdown of the membership on our club facts page. However, although we are large, we like to think we retain a friendly, small club atmosphere and always welcome newcomers.

Our Take: Join For The Heritage
Everybody recognises a Serpies vest, and there are now almost 2000 members of this iconic running & triathlon club.

Brilliantly marshalled by Chairman Fraser Johnson, the club will only go from strength to strength. Look out for their New Year’s Day 10K, and 5K in Hyde Park last Friday of every month.

Where to Meet: Varied, check their schedule online here.


Got your own crew and interested in working with us? Say hello here and give us a shout!

Upcoming Virgin Sport events:
The British 10k, 9 July 2017
Virgin Sport Oxford, 8 October 2017
Virgin Sport San Francisco, 13–15 October 2017