The Best Free London Running Clubs For 2020

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Running with other people is a whole different kettle of fish to heading out for solo slogs. Nothing helps the minutes of a steady run speed by as effectively as chatting, and pushing yourself to the max during interval sessions is damned hard to do without other people there to beat/keep up with (delete as appropriate).

Traditional running clubs are undoubtedly great but, in London at least, they tend to be based in the outer reaches and require (admittedly low) membership fees. They also feel like more of a long-term commitment and can feel daunting for newbies. Fortunately there are now so many free running groups in the centre of London that you can, should you desire, run with others every day of the week without leaving Zone 1 or spending a penny.

These groups are often coached and will mix up their runs so you can try interval sessions and hill training as well as fitting in your longer steady runs. It’s a great way to introduce yourself to the world of running clubs without making any real commitments. Although most of them are set up by a brand, there isn’t any pressure to wear or buy the gear (although there will often be a chance to try gear for free).

Here are the best groups to try in London.

London City Runners

This club guides new runners through a repeating ten-week couch-to-5K course (£50), but also puts on three free runs a week. On Tuesdays you can run 5K, 6km or 10K, then there’s an interval session or a steady road run on Thursdays, and the week is rounded off with a long run on Sundays, with 9.30am and 11.30am start times available. All the runs start and end at London City Runners’ very own clubhouse on Druid Street in Bermondsey, which also acts as a base for runners from all over London and beyond to meet and discuss the sport they love over a coffee or a beer. If you want to discuss the best running routes, compare injuries and show off your favourite gear, this is the place to do it.

If you’re looking to join a run in January then it’s worth knowing that the Tuesday runs cost £3 throughout the month. This is to manage numbers as New Year fitness kicks prompt vast amounts of new attendees at these runs. If you want to keep your running free then go along on Thursday or Sunday until February, when all three weekly runs will be free again. Join the club at

Adidas Runners

The Adidas Runners club holds four regular weekly sessions in London. There’s a Monday evening run that starts from Southwark and often involves intervals of some kind, and a long run on Saturday mornings that starts from Exmouth Market. There are also two women’s runs each week – one on a Wednesday evening and a longer run on Saturday mornings. On top of these runs there are weekly sessions that focus on areas like strength or flexibility. Other bonuses of joining the club include the chance to try Adidas’s running gear, and occasionally Adidas athletes will even turn up at special one-off sessions. Sign up for more info on the club’s Facebook group.

Onetrack Run Club

These free Monday evening sessions are a great way to introduce yourself to the joys of track running. They’re led by Anthony Fletcher, head coach of the Precision Running class at Equinox gym, and held at the Duke of York Square track near Sloane Square. All abilities are welcome – one of the joys of track sessions is that no matter the speed of the participants, everyone is always within sight, so complete beginners can be sure they won’t get left behind. For more info visit

Runners Need Just Run Club

The running gear chain’s Just Run Club sets off from from branches around the UK including eight stores in London. The runs are 5-8km long and usually take place on either a Wednesday or Thursday evening. The club is supported by running brand Brooks and tech company Garmin, so you’ll have the chance to try out some kit and gadgets on the runs. And Runners Need rewards regular attendees to the Just Run Club – three runs will earn you a T-shirt and goody bag, and if you manage ten you’ll get a £10 voucher for the store. You can find the info about your local group on the Runners Need website.

The Running Works Run Club

There’s a group run every Thursday evening at 7.30pm starting at this independent running store near Aldgate, and there’s also a track session at Mile End Stadium on Tuesday evenings for speedsters. The sessions are mixed in their aims and intensity, with the plan for each week posted on the Running Works Run Club Facebook group, but all abilities are welcome.

Rise & Run

Westin Hotels puts on a monthly run led by Charlie Watson, aka The Runner Beans on Instagram. On the first Tuesday of every month a 5K run starts from 42 Southwark Street at 7am. All abilities are welcome – the club allows around 45 minutes to complete the run – and secure space is provided to store valuables. Head to for more info.

Digme Fitness Run Club

Fitness studio Digme has a free running club based at its Fitzrovia gym in Rathbone Square. There’s only one run a week at the moment, which starts at 6.30pm every Monday, and you can just turn up and run rather than having to book a place. Digme’s trainers lead the runs and will also field any questions you have about how to train for an event or improve your running in general. If you want more information about the club, check out the Facebook group.


While other groups on this list are great for training runs, parkrun offers the chance to put that training to the test with a free weekly timed 5K at 9am on Saturdays. There are almost 50 different parkruns in London (and plenty more all over the country) to choose between – start with our pick of the best parkruns in London. You have to register to get your barcode, which is scanned after each race to log your time. Sign up at

Nick Harris-Fry
Senior writer

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.