Running Clubs in Jersey City You Should Know About!
Running has many physical and mental benefits, from staying healthy to being a part of an inspiring group of people who can uplift you. So if you’re new to Jersey City and are looking for people who share the same passion for running or if you’re a resident looking for motivation to start exercising, we rounded up a list of local running clubs to find the perfect fit for you. We even went a little further to find out what motivated each of the founders to bring you some inspiration!
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Founder Monica Rivera, a Jersey City resident, started the Jersey City Slow AF Run Club in September 2020. She always had a love-hate relationship with running. “For years, I looked at runners and was torn between “I want to do that” and “those people are insane,” said Monica. Finally, in early 2020, she was determined to get over her running phobia. Unfortunately, Monica had suffered an injury that set her back and had her searching for some inspiration to start again. It was during this moment she created Slow AF Jersey City.
Every Sunday, Slow AF runners meet at 10 AM for a two-mile fun run or walk at Exchange Place. They also have special mid-week running events from time to time along with “SlowAF Sit-downs”. If you are interested, please sign up through their meetup group.
The group is free to join and welcomes all types of runners. Monica tells everyone, “your time is the right time.” This running group has so much diversity from ages, ethnicities, and body types, and they welcome dogs! The only requirement the group has is that you’re a slow AF runner, jogger, or walker, and if you’re not, you’re ok running with people who are.
When asked what her favorite memory is, she recalls looking out into the circle before the start of the run at all the faces and seeing everyone talking to each other, laughing, exchanging numbers. “It’s a beautiful thing to see all the connections that form,” said Monica. Slow AF has genuinely built a sense of community. People who started as strangers have become friends. Monica attributes that to the non-competitive atmosphere and that the group waits for every person to finish before leaving. She looks forward to welcoming you!
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For those who have been to sam a.m. (intentionally lower case) located in the Paulus Hook neighborhood, the cozy and welcoming hospitality is what you leave remembering. But you might not have known that the owner, Sam Kirk, started his running club this summer. Running has always been a passion of Sam’s and is just as part of how he likes to start his day with coffee. He wanted to share that with people and create a time and space to build relationships and community.
The club is free to join, and they meet in front of sam a.m. every Wednesday at 6:30 AM for a four-mile loop. Those who join for 12 runs will receive a free sam a.m. run club singlet. The group currently has about 30 regular attendees. People usually find at least two to three people at their pace, so don’t worry, all runners are welcome!
When asked what his favorite memory has been so far, Sam recalls, “one of my long-time employees joining for one of the runs. It was a peak moment, and it meant a lot to me. I am getting to know new people every run, though, and it is pretty special each time.” People know there will be a friendly group and one that will continue to grow,” shared Sam.
You can look forward to a nice cup of sam a.m. coffee after your run! Staying to enjoy breakfast at the café is also an extra perk to start your morning off just right.
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Founded in 2008, Jersey City Runners is the largest and most active running club in Jersey City. With about 60 active members, this group provides a positive and supportive environment for any level of runner. Jitendra Rawat, a Jersey City resident, has been the organizer of the club since 2009. The running club has helped him develop hope, resilience, and a peaceful mind ever since he joined. “My style of running, I have coined is ABCD, Alignment, Breathing, Chi/ Center & Destiny/ Determination,” shared Jitendra.
The group meets every day of the week and often has several runs a day. The runs typically take an hour, and there are options for shorter loops if you chose to run less or want to run more. Runners may run one to six miles. In their leisure or fun runs, they have adopted the philosophy of “no runner left behind.” On Monday evenings, the group hosts speedwork at Lincoln Park, which anyone is free to join. The group also loves to have fun by hosting social meets-ups every few months. They recently had a watch party for women’s and men’s Olympic marathons. For information on their upcoming runs, you can sign up through their meetup group.
When speaking with Jitendra to ask what his favorite memory is, he shared, “meeting fellow smiling JCRunners on a windy, dark, damp, biting, cold, winter morning between 6 and 7 AM. The real feel temperature is below 10-degree Fahrenheit, and you end up feeling warm inside, haha!”
Interested in learning more? Join the Jersey City Runners Facebook Group!
Are you interested in starting a running club?
If you enjoy running in a pack and there isn’t a running group closer to home, we got you covered with a few tips on getting one started.
- Ask yourself why you want to create a running club. Is there a need in your community for one?
- Start by creating a meetup page, Facebook group, or utilize a platform to get a group of people together interested in running with you. Remember to be consistent and provide constant communication!
- Harness the power of social media to spread awareness.
- Be persistent. Don’t feel discouraged if not a lot of people show up at first.
- Monica Rivera, the founder of Slow AF JC, recommends creating a group you want to join and trust that the right people will find you!
Stay up to date!
We hope you enjoyed learning about these three inspiring running groups right here in Jersey City, and that you decide to join one of them on their runs soon. Also, don’t forget to follow them on social media for the latest updates. @slowafjc, @samamruns, and @jerseycityrunners. Happy Running!