Running and/or jogging is a great way to build stamina, strengthen the cardio system and burn off those excess pounds so many of us are carrying around these days. Running is cheap, with light clothes, thick socks and good shoes being just about all that’s really required. One missing ingredient might be the self-discipline to build and maintain a healthy running routine. The best solution is to join a running club and Tampa Bay has plenty of clubs to fit everyone’s needs.
Tampa Bay Runners bills itself as “Tampa Bay’s Social Running Club” and its been helping members get in shape for 30 years. On Wednesday evenings, the club holds a group run at 7 p.m. at Carrollwood Village Center at the corner of Fletcher Avenue and North Dale Mabry Highway. On Thursday evenings, you can join up at 7 p.m. behind the Temple Terrace Library off Bullard Parkway. The Wednesday run offers 3.5-, 5-, 6- and 8.5-mile courses through Carrollwood, while the Thursday group run starts at 56th Street and Bullard Parkway. The yearly highlight is the Annual Strawberry Classic to benefit the Pediatric Cancer Foundation, but there is also a full calendar of social activities such as cookouts, tubing trips and a Super Bowl watch party. Individual memberships are $15 per year and $30 for families.
Related: Best Hiking Trails in Tampa Bay
Founded by veteran running coach Deb Voiles, Run Tampa offers 12-week sessions for all levels of runners. The group runs over a variety of courses all over Tampa Bay including Tampa’s Bayshore Boulevard, the Clearwater Bridge and New Tampa’s Flatwoods Trail. With Voiles’ guidance, Run Tampa offers a chance for a serious runner to max out their running potential. It’s also a chance to see some of Tampa Bay’s most beautiful scenery while making friends and helping members fill up their social calendars. The Run Tampa web page also offers links to Voiles’ personal site which is full of blog entries and tips for runners of all levels. Annual memberships are $25 for singles, $40 for couples and $50 for families.
205 W. Platt St.
Tampa, FL 33606
For those who want to get their running in but maybe with a lighter approach, a club that bills itself as “A Bunch of Drinkers with a Running Problem” might be a better match. Four Green Fields, one of Tampa’s best-known Irish pubs, also has its own 5k running club. Every Tuesday at 6 p.m., members and followers get together for a brisk jog through downtown Tampa. Of course, such vigorous exercise creates a powerful thirst and where better to enjoy a cold pint than the friendly confines of Four Green Fields under its landmark thatched roof? Membership is only $3 dollars and finishing 10 runs earns a Four Green Fields Running Club shirt.
St. Pete Road Runners
The St. Pete Road Runners started in 2006 with five women who wanted to set up a running club that would be for everyone in the southern part of Pinellas County, regardless of age, race and athletic ability. The club bills itself as a home for walkers and runners of all abilities. The Road Runners offer a variety of courses ranging from Upham Beach to Gulfport and downtown St. Petersburg. There’s a full schedule of social events and the group is offering a $1,000 college scholarship. Annual memberships are $20 for individuals, $30 for families and $5 for students.
Related: Best CrossFit Studios in Tampa
Oldsmar Run Club
300 State St. E.
Oldsmar, FL 34677
Anyone who’s just starting out on a running program is probably going to be worried about getting a friendly reception from any club they might want to join. Oldsmar Run Club members promise to welcome anyone to join them for a 3- to 6-mile run or walk through their community every Wednesday night at the Oldsmar House of Brews. If the thought of paying annual dues or the fear of working with an overenthusiastic coach is off-putting, the Oldsmar Run Club is free to all who show up, although participants will be asked to sign a liability waiver.
Head to CBS Tampa’s Best Of pages for more local tips on family fun, shopping, nightlife, food, culture and more!
Mike Hennessy is a veteran news man who has won Florida AP awards for feature reporting and covered almost every kind of story imaginable from on-the-scene coverage of Hurricane Andrew, to some of the highest profile murder and corruption trials in Florida history. Mike is versatile and has the curiosity it takes to get to the bottom line of any story. His work can be found at Examiner.com.