The running season is just getting warmed up, with several upcoming races around Portland and beyond over the next several months. Events ranging from 5k fun runs to ultramarathons will dot the Northwest landscape between now and the end of the year, and several local organizations offer a variety of group runs for runners to stay motivated and hold themselves accountable. And, let's face it, the best part about a group run is the food and beers afterward.
The runs range from casual outings open to all skill levels to more rigorous training programs, but each share the common goal of getting runners ready for the upcoming season. Here, the best group runs in Portland to lace up your sneakers for.
Portland Running Company
Portland Running Company , with stores in Beaverton and inner Southeast Portland, leads a variety of group runs for runners of all skill levels each week. Runs are held Sunday through Thursday; the weekday runs tend to cater to more casual runners, while the Sunday runs range from 5-18 miles.
Locations: Runs and walks take place throughout the Portland Metro area, including Beaverton, along the Willamette River waterfront, the Springwater Corridor, Southeast Portland, and Forest Park.
Perks: Participants can enter giveaways and try the latest gear at each event, and regulars are eligible to earn gear for consistent participation.
Good to Know: Portland Running Company’s Southeast Portland location hosts a 4-6-mile run each Thursday, ending at a nearby bar for post-workout libations. Even better: They buy the first round. If that's not incentive to participate, we don't know what is.
Fleet Feet Sports
Fleet Feet Sports is all about making training fun with its monthly First Thursday Urban Adventure Run . The free event, which draws roughly 600 participants each month, features an impressive $3,000 or so worth in prizes.
Here's how it works: Two maps, populated with a dozen nearby checkpoints, are unveiled at 6 pm. Runners and walkers can choose their own pace and distance while trying to hit as many checkpoints as possible over the next hour. Participants grab a raffle ticket at each stop, which can be used to enter prize drawings at the post-run party; other party attractions include vendor booths and beer.
The event generally takes place the first Thursday of every month between March and September, but Fleet Feet Sports is scouting out a new location for the event in 2015. The staff anticipates the run will start in April, but stay updated through the Fleet Feet Sports website for full details.
Location: Runners and walkers try to reach checkpoints throughout northwest Portland, downtown, and close-in areas on the eastside.
Perks: Raffle tickets are available at each checkpoint and can be used to enter drawings for prizes from Fleet Feet Sports’ sponsors after the run. About $3,000 worth of prizes are given away at each event.
Good to Know: Don't forget your ID. Participants 21 and older are entitled to one free beer at the post-run party.
Portland Fit is a training program with more than 1,500 members throughout the Portland area. It’s aimed at runners who hope to compete in longer events, such as half-marathons, full marathons, or the Hood to Coast Relay.
Location: Training runs are spread throughout the Portland area, with runs taking place in Southwest and Southeast Portland, the Sellwood area, and the Beaverton area.
Perks: A one-year membership is $135 for new members (or $115 for returning members) and includes daily training schedules, weekly group runs and walks, access to trained coaches, seminars, free massages, and a Portland Fit shirt.
Good to Know: Portland Fit orientation sessions take place March 21, March 28, April 4, and April 11 at Zidell Yards in Southwest Portland.