By James P. Johnson
There are plenty of reasons not to run during winter, but for runners who want to stay fit and active despite the season, joining a running group can make it easier. There are several Spokane-area groups that meet year-round, and a couple that are winter-only. Most meet on weekday evenings; others meet on weekend days. All have a Facebook page or website for information about routes, meeting times and locations—just search the group name online.
Running alone at night is a situation some runners would rather avoid. For this reason, Winter Warriors is a good choice. It’s a fairly large group, and novice runners make up a sizable portion. Managed by the Spokane Fleet Feet store, group runs happen three times a week. However, the program ends on Feb. 17, and there’s a $40 fee to join.
There are many social running groups that meet once a week and are open to anyone who shows up. There are no fees, but an optional post-run get-together at the home base (a micro-brewery, pub or coffee shop), will set you back the cost of your favorite beverage(s).
I’ve been doing running groups since 2008 and have run with all the following groups. You’ll find a variety of abilities, and the turnout can range from just a few to a couple dozen on good days. Keep in mind that it’s typical for runners to string out as the run progresses, and if you’re unable to match your pace with another runner, you may have to negotiate dark streets alone. Prepare by wearing high-vis gear like a headlamp and/or reflective vest for your winter run.
- Flying Irish: The best known and largest running group in Spokane. Official runs stop at the end of November and start back up in March, but a core group meets through the winter at Uprise Brewing on Thursdays at 6 p.m. for runs of 3 to 4 miles.
- Iron Goat Running Club: Meeting on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. at Iron Goat Brewing downtown, routes are 3.5 to 5 miles long.
- Tuesday Off Season Running Group: So named because runners from the Run Perry Run Group, which goes on hiatus from the autumnal to spring time change, wanted to continue running in winter. They do a 5-mile route beginning at 6 p.m. and meet at a different location each week, usually a brewery.
- Manito Running Club: Meets Saturday morning, 8 a.m. at the 18th Ave. entrance to Manito Park for a 5- to 6-mile run. Post-run treats at Rockwood Bakery.
- Beer and Blisters: Meets at My Fresh Basket in Kendall Yards at 10 a.m. This group does a 10-mile route on Sunday mornings.
- Spokane Valley Running Club: Meets at the Monkey Bar on Sprague and does 4- to 5-mile runs on Mondays at 6 p.m.
- The Millwood Milers: Running from Bottles on Argonne, Thursdays at 6 p.m., this group’s routes are 3 to 4 miles.
Cover photo courtesy James P. Johnson