Ultra-marathon runners and casual walkers probably agree: Running is hard. But, it’s also an endorphin-pumping way to get outside. And you know what makes it even better? Happy hour and friends at the finish line.
Whether you’re interested in starting a weekly walking routine or are seeking a social circle for marathon training, Dallas-Fort Worth run clubs host a variety of free social events to welcome new runners into the fold with a new running route and a cold beer. Here's where.
Lake Grapevine Runners and Walkers
Lake Grapevine Runners and Walkers (LGRAW), in operation for two decades, is an established running club that always welcomes newcomers. The group has its own clubhouse where runners kick back with free coffee, beer and popsicles even after weekly runs not technically designated as "social."
On the third Tuesday of every month, runners meet at Grapevine Craft Brewery for a relaxed social 5K that can be lengthened or shortened. “No one’s there to get their hard workout in,” says Kelly Richards, who started the social run about two years ago. “It’s to drum up a thirst for some cold local beer!”
After the jog on a flat, paved path around Lake Grapevine, runners grab grub from food trucks parked near the brewery. Sometimes, they form a team to compete in the brewery’s bar trivia.
Expect a dozen to 30 people of all ages and skill levels to show up on most third Tuesdays.
Grapevine Craft Brewery, 906 Jean St., Grapevine. Third Tuesdays at 6 p.m.
Martin House Brewing Company in Fort Worth
If early access to new beers appeals to you, Martin House’s social run is your move. Founded in 2016 by Mike Coutou, a brewer who’s run four ultra-marathons, the run meets every Saturday.
Runners will go anywhere from 1 to 8 miles along the Trinity River, meeting back at the brewery, which opens early for the run club. They’re usually rewarded with a free beer, sometimes a new brew that hasn’t been released yet. Nice, right?
As proof of the motivating power of beer, Coutou says that in the year since he started the social run, multiple people who started running for the first time at the brewery have now completed their first half-marathons or are training for their first fulls.
Martin House Brewing Company, 220 S. Sylvania Ave, Suite 209, Fort Worth. Saturdays at 1 p.m.
North Running Crew in Fort Worth
The North Running Crew runs about 2 to 6 miles on a flat, paved route in Fort Worth before meeting back at the restaurant for drinks and food. Bonus: Runners get a free drink after sweating it out.
“It’s not just a running group, it’s more of a lifetime friendship that everybody’s built there,” says Raquel Ely, who founded the group in 2015. “You can just walk a mile, but they’re going to support you like you ran a marathon.”
New people join every week, says Ely, and the group often travels together to run races in other cities. If you’re not ready to commit to that level yet, the group also readily welcomes walkers — who eventually turn into runners, Ely says.
Fred's North, 2730 Western Center Blvd., Fort Worth. Wednesdays at 7 p.m.
White Rock Running Co-op in Dallas
After a 2- to 8-mile run — most runners average out around 6 miles — the White Rock Running Co-op gathers at long tables at Lake House White Rock Bar & Grill for dinner and drinks.
It's an informal evening: "Somehow we are accused of both being too much party and too serious about running,” says Julie Lanaux, who took over running the group in the beginning of 2017. “Everybody trains really hard ... but if it’s someone’s birthday, we might order several rounds of shots to be funny.”
Newcomers pop up at most runs, Lanaux says, and they maintain a casual vibe, pairing up people with similar paces for an out-and-back route along the lake.
Lake House White Rock Bar & Grill, 7510 Northwest Highway, Dallas. Wednesdays at 7 p.m.
Luke’s Pint Striders in Dallas
If you don't mind a big crowd and want to run in a popular spot, Luke’s Pint Striders is the way to go. About 80 to 100 folks come out each Thursday to run the Katy Trail, then convene back at British Beverage Co. in Uptown for dinner and drinks.
“That’s what’s so important about the Pint Striders, is the diversity and coming together at a table after you run. That's the beauty and that's where the magic really happens,” says Bree Redwine, who has been organizing the run since 2014. “We become friends and we are a running family.”
Runners with mile paces from five to 13 minutes run 2 to 6 miles each. Plus, a weekly raffle can mean free perks for lucky runners, like Dallas Mavericks tickets or free entry into a brewery.
British Beverage Co., 2800 Routh St, Dallas. Thursdays at 6:30 p.m.
Irving Running Club
Carb-loading is arguably one of the best parts of running, and the Irving Running Club’s meeting spot, Italian Cafe, allows runners to make the most of it.
After a 3-mile run around Lake Carolyn, the 25 to 35 runners chow down on pizza and pasta and take advantage of happy hour prices for the club. “We run to eat and we eat to run!” says Morna Trowbridge, a co-organizer of the club.
The social run meets on second Wednesdays and typically has a shoe or race vendor there to let runners try new shoes and learn about races. No pressure if you've never run a race: A range of runners, from elite athletes to walkers, come out for this monthly event.
Italian Cafe, 387 Las Colinas Blvd. E., Suite 120, Irving. Second Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.