Trail Running and Ultrarunning Clubs

For me, trail running was love at first sight. I spent four years as a high school distance runner and another four years as collegiate jack-of-all-trades runner (200m to 8k XC as well as 400 hurdles and steeplechase). Throughout that time, whatever my discipline, I hit trails whenever I could. Than, like some of you, I became an accidental convert to ultrarunning. After college, I moved to Washington, DC and went carless. Long story short, I looked for a trail running club, found the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club (VHRTC – a de facto ultra club), and my runs with them lead to my first ultra half a year later.

Through those six months and the years that followed, the VHTRC’s members guided me and encouraged me as a ultrarunner. Ultra and trail running clubs are great sources of knowledge and encouragement. They’re often great trail stewards, instructing new trail runners on responsible trail use as well as organizing trail service and maintenance opportunities. They also tend to be some of the best and most entertaining folks you’ll ever meet.

All of that’s why I’m looking to put together a list of trail running and ultrarunning clubs for iRunFar.com and to supplement Relentless Forward Progress. If you know of any, please leave a comment with the name of the club, what area it reasonably covers (for example, VHTRC would cover VA, DC, & MD even if members live throughout the country), and the club’s web address, if there is one. Also, feel free to share a couple words about the club for any potential members who read this.

While you’re at it, what have you enjoyed about your trail running or ultrarunning club(s)? Why would you recommend another runner join a club in general?

Bryon Powell: is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of iRunFar.com. Having spent nearly 20 years as an ultrarunner and three decades as a trail runner, he's also written Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons and co-wrote Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running. He calls Silverton, Colorado and Moab, Utah home.

View Comments (59)

  • Lapham Peak Trail Runners!

    We run in Delafield, WI (25ish miles west of Milwaukee) at the Lapham Peak State Park. Serves people from most places between Milwaukee and Madison.

    It's a great running group, filled with fast runners and slow alike. There are multiple RD's in the group from some very good local ultras.

    The group is a great fit for newbie ultra runners or for those more experienced. It seems like there's a member of the group racing just about every weekend of the year.

    http://laphampeaktrailrunners.blogspot.com/

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  • Las Vegas, NV

    SMUT (Saturday Morning Ultra Team)

    Saturdaymorningultrateam.blogspot.com

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    • Thanks for sharing - I didn't know about you guys :-) Enjoyed the blog!

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      • No problem Jenn. Email me, on website, if you want to get on the mailing list.

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  • Gotta include the San Diego Bad Rats on this list. You know who they are!

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  • Arkansas Ultra Runners Association...Great source for trail running in and around Arkansas. Great group!!!

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  • Cutting my teeth with VHTRC too! Accidentally discovered ultrarunning last winter after moving to a townhouse about a mile from Bull Run. Was googling info on the trail when I found out there was a 50M race on it and that totally intrigued me - had no idea that sort of thing existed. Signed up to volunteer at BRR50 last April just wanting to see what ultrarunning looked like. Met a great runner volunteering at the same aid station. That kicked off a good friendship and the beginnings of ultrarunning myself. Ran my first marathon last Nov (Philly) followed by my first fat ass 50K last Dec with the VHTRC folks. Ran another 50K (Seneca Creek) this past weekend and currently sitting on the waiting list, hoping to get in to BRR50 in a month. So grateful I stumbled into this!

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  • West Virginia Mountain Trail Runners (WVMTR)

    http://www.wvmtr.org/

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  • Chicago has CHUG....

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  • Hill Country Trail Runner's Club, Tejas Trails, North Texas has something too.

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  • San Juan Mountain Runners, cover Telluride, Ouray, Ridgway, and Montrose area. Small club now, but has ton of potential.

    Thanks.

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  • The TrailDawgs run regularly in the northern Delaware / eastern Maryland area, and I've seen fellow dawgies at PA races, too...

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  • SLO Trail Runners

    We just started the club, by summer we should have a real website (www.slotrailrunners.com).

    SLO stands for San Luis Obispo (county that would be). That said we are encouraging anyone on the Central Coast of California to run with us (trail and ultra runners alike).

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    • Yeah SLO Trail Runners! Definitely a great group that welcome any distance trail runner. If you are in the area, check out the Facebook page as we are always posting updates on runs.

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  • The Fort Collins Trail Runners which includes runners from all over the Front Range, Fort Collins, Loveland, Windsor, Eaton, Boulder, Golden and beyond. We have regular group runs on Tuesday and Thursday nights including the infamous bi weekly Towers Road Hill Climb. We put on the Blue Sky Trail Marathon and Half in the fall and our group includes many very acomplished trail and ultra runners in addition to many people that are new to the sport. We have a yahoo group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FortCollinsTrailRun... and we a working on a website http://www.fortcollinstrailrunners.com/.

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  • HURT - Hawaiian Ultra Running Team http://www.hurthawaii.com
    Includes all of Hawaii, but mostly the island of Oahu. There is a great trail series each year that starts with a 6 mile race (first race is March 12 this year) and builds throughout the year to end with a 100k and then a 100 mile race. There are posts on the website every week that share where the various groups will be running that weekend.

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  • The Northeast Ohio Trail Club (http://www.neotrail.org/) is made up of outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy adventure, running dirt trails, but most of all - having fun! Anyone is welcome to join. Members are of varying ages and abilities, ranging anywhere from trail newbie to ultra marathon veteran.
    We have members in the north-eastern Ohio area, but also have members in Michigan, Pennyslvania, and all of the state of Ohio.

    Join us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/#!/neotrailclub

    Or check out our newsblog: http://www.neotrail.blogspot.com/

    Come join us for a run!

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  • GUTS stands for Georgia Ultrarunning and Trailrunning Society. It's based in Atlanta but serves much of North Georgia. It puts on several races per year from distances ranging from 11 to 101 miles. http://www.getguts.com

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  • CAT - Charlottesville Area Trail Runners

    We are a group of trail runners based in and around Charlottesville, Virginia. We train together, support each other in races, and have fun both on and off the trail. Some of us are also members of the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club (VHTRC). We mostly run in VA, Blue Ridge Mountains. We have seasoned trail runners as well as newbies in our group.
    http://charlottesvilleareatrailrunners.blogspot.c...

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    • Yeay Christian! Gotta love those CAT runners!

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  • San Diego Dirt Devils

    This group was started as a more low-key, less competitive, more all-welcoming trail running group to offset some of the other local clubs. Been in action for a couple years and without question has succeeded at it's goal. We've got some fast people in the group, but every one of the members just loves getting out on the trails together.

    The long group runs on the weekends can sometimes turn more in to adventures with waterfall trips and side journeys than training runs. We save our racing for race day! haha

    O yea, best part...runs are often followed up with a trip to a local craft brewery.

    http://www.meetup.com/dirtdevils/

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