If you're looking to lose weight and socialize, there's a running club for that -- if you're focused on improving your race times in a competitive training environment, there's a club for that, too. Running clubs, as we've mentioned, each have their own specialties and niches. From group training for large marathons to costumed monthly runs through town, it all depends on what you're after.
The most common activities you'll find at running clubs are race related. That means you'll be doing group training and group races, as well as organizing and sponsoring events. You may do a combination of all of those things. It's not all about racing, though; running clubs are also known to throw parties, do trail cleanup and even participate in fund-raising. For instance, the Melbourne Fire Brigade Charity Running Club is an organization that coordinates several large races and charity events year-round [source: The Great Anzac Run]. The Irish Snug Runners traditionally end a big run with spaghetti, beer and mixed drinks called Irish car bombs (a three-quarter pint of Guinness, a half shot of Irish cream and a half shot of Irish whiskey) [source: Irish Snug Runners]. Clearly there's a running club for all types of people with a wide range of interests.
Depending on the size of club you join and whether it's national or local, you may receive some financial benefits including discounts at local stores, group entry price reductions to races and, in some cases, uniforms. Local clubs will offer more personality, but national ones will have more leverage when it comes to getting price cuts on new sneakers or national race entry fees. If your club is a part of the Road Runners Club of America, you'll also get insurance coverage when you're exercising with the club, provided you've paid your dues [source: Road Runners Club of America].
Discounts on products aren't the only benefits you'll get from joining a running club; in the next section, we'll take a look at other advantages and disadvantages of joining up.