I have lived in DC for seven years, and I have run with run clubs for seven years.

While I have always been a competitive runner, I am also a social runner. At least 90% of my runs are with other people.

Running with friends, training partners, or in a group provides accountability to show up for workouts and people to push the pace. This is why I initially joined my DC run clubs, and started some of my own.

What I could not have foreseen seven years ago is the impact run clubs would have on me personally.

Recently, one of my run clubs celebrated a fourth anniversary. It is a truly special group.

The members are a variety of ages and occupations. Some members are fast and some are slow. Some run every day, and some only run on club days. But what bonds us, and keeps us running, is that we know that we have people that we want to catch-up with every week. A group of people we can go to for anything.

I started the group in my early 20’s and I have grown up before their eyes. They have seen me at my lowest points and at my highest. They have seen me make my share of mistakes, but also achieve my share of accomplishments.

It was in run club that I fell in love for the first time (with someone other than running). Then they were with me through my first traumatic break-up.

Together we have celebrated weddings and new jobs, lost family members, completed first races, sustained injuries, and recorded new personal best running times. We vacation together and celebrate every major holiday together. Through it all, they still love me, just like I will always love and accept them.

This run club has truly become my family. I have found big brothers in Steve and Ross, a dad in Jim, sisters in Eva, Anna, and Joanna, and best friends in Nubbins and Kelly.

Not all run clubs are this intense. We have just chosen to make this a big part of our lives.

Running brought us all together, but our friendships keep us running.

Whether you are looking to improve your running times, stay motivated, make new friends, or find an entire running family, try a run club. It could change your life in ways you might not expect.

Below is a list of my regular runs. If you are looking for a run club, run with me. Happy Hours to follow…

Monday:  lululemon Run Club, 1461 P Street NW, 6:30pm, 3-6 miles

Tuesday: Pacers Logan Circle Fun Run, 1427 P Street NW, 7pm, 3-5 miles

Wednesday: DC Hood Run, 1461 P Street NW,  7pm, 6-9 miles

Thursday: Pacers Logan Circle Fun Run, 1427 P Street NW, 7pm, (Technical workouts with a regular run option.)

Saturday: DC Road Runners, Iwo Jima Memorial, 8am, long runs

Sunday: Washington Running Club, 33rd and M Street NW, 8am long runs


Elyse Braner lives, runs, and races in Washington, DC. She leads various run clubs and loves helping people fall in love with running.