You’ve got the running gear, a training schedule, and your entry information in a race. But do you have a training buddy or two? If you’re looking for a way to meet other runners while also improving your time, then consider joining a running group in Chicago or the suburbs. From marathon training to a more relaxed approach to a run, you can find a group that will help you put your best foot forward in your next race. Check out each running club’s website for information regarding meetup locations and membership.

Alpine Runners Of Lake Zurich
www.alpinerunners.com

Whether you’re running a marathon or a 5K, or even something in between, you can take go for a scheduled run with the Alpine Runners of Lake Zurich. The organization offers runs on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights, and on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Runs can be up to 12 miles in length and are held throughout the suburbs of Chicago, which can help you rack up some serious mileage before your next run. If you’d like a little more help getting ready for your next run, then consider registering for the organization’s 5K or half-marathon training programs. Membership information is available on the club’s website.

Dick Pond Athletics
www.fasttrackracingteam.com

With weekly group runs organized in five locations in the suburbs of Chicago, Dick Pond Athletics can help you get ready for your next race. Runs are held throughout the week, with fun runs, 20-mile runs, and everything in between on the schedule. Check out the websites for the stores in Carol Stream, Hoffman Estates, Lisle, Park Ridge, and St. Charles for details regarding the runs. Many of the runs are held year-round, so you can keep up with your training while also spending time with fellow runners. 

Oak Park Runners Club
www.oprc.net

If you live or work in the suburb of Oak Park, then consider joining the Oak Park Runners Club so you can have fun while also improving your time. The club, which offers coached speedwork sessions April through October, is open to all paces. In addition, you can explore some of the trails in the area by taking part in the club’s trail runs. You can also loosen up your training a bit by taking part in the club’s fun runs, which can be up to 10 miles long. There’s more to running than lacing up a pair of shoes; on that note, the club has hosted informational sessions on topics pertaining to running.

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Three Run Two
www.threeruntwo.com

Runners of all levels of experience are welcomed and encouraged to run with Three Run Two. Described as a running community, Three Run Two’s running routes take participants through Chicago’s numerous neighborhoods; you can peruse the organization’s website for a look at some of the photographs from previous runs. The runs are held in the Logan Square and Little Italy neighborhoods throughout the week, and routes for the Saturday morning runs are crowd-sourced. Take a look at the organization’s website for the weekly schedule and location information.

Universal Sole
3052 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 868-0893
www.universalsole.com

The running store Universal Sole offers an assortment of fun runs scheduled throughout the year for both experienced runners and those who are new to the sport. If you like burgers, beer and running, then schedule the Burgers & Beer Fun Run Series into your calendar. The run includes 5K or five-mile loop, followed by — you guessed it — a burger and beer. Other fun runs include the Wednesday’s Women Fun Run. For details on Universal Sole’s Team USOLE, take a look at the running store’s website. Members of Team USOLE have a weekly team run on Mondays and Saturdays, too.

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Megan Horst-Hatch is a runner, reader, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She is also the president of Megan Writes, LLC. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.