With a moderate climate and overwhelming natural beauty, it comes as no surprise that Portlanders hit the pavement in droves. The city’s passion for recreational running and ample resources make it easy — and fun — for visitors to join the running community and break a sweat in the name of sightseeing.
Free Group Runs
Most regular free group runs are organized by local running stores. Here are some of the most notable:
Nike+ Run Club
Portland’s outpost of “the world’s largest run club” has three free weekly sessions, each designed to help runners meet specific goals. Reserve a spot on their website for speed runs on Tuesdays, recovery runs on Wednesdays (both starting at 6:34 p.m.) or Sunday runs (starting at 10:04 a.m.) at the Nike store in downtown Portland. Afterward, the 20-100+ runners often continue the evening at local bars and restaurants. Monitor the @NikePortland Twitter feed or #WeRunPDX and #nikePORTLAND hashtags for info about upcoming events.
Foot Traffic – Downtown
The downtown location of this three-store Portland chain group outings for runners and walkers every Thursday at 6 p.m. Groups explore 3-, 5- and 7-mile routes around the waterfront or downtown, and the evenings often include demo opportunities and post-run refreshments back at the store. (Foot Traffic has two other locations in Northeast Portland and Sellwood, which also host their own group runs.)
Portland Running Company
This local running store chain organizes a variety of free group fun runs every week for all levels of runners. They offer giveaways, opportunities to test new gear and more, and the schedule is available on the Portland Running Company website or Facebook page. These three runs are great for visitors and locals alike:
- Mondays in the Central Eastside – Every Monday at 6 p.m., 30-50 runners of all paces gather for an easy 4-6 miles run along the Willamette River waterfront, the Springwater Corridor and surrounding neighborhood streets.
- Thursdays in the Central Eastside – Meet at the store at 6 p.m. for an easy neighborhood run of 4-6 miles followed by refreshments at a nearby watering hole — Portland Running Company buys the first round every week!
- Sundays in Northwest – Runners of different levels and paces gather at 8 a.m. at rotating coffee shops in Northwest Portland and set out for what many people treat as a weekly “long run” with routes that range from 5-18 miles in Forest Park, along the waterfront, on the Portland Marathon course and more. After, the group likes recover and chat over coffee.
Fit Right NW
Once a month from March through September, Fit Right NW gets in on the First Thursday Gallery Walk fun with its own First Thursday Urban Adventure Run. Starting at 6 p.m., as many as 600 people take part in this citywide urban scavenger hunt that features raffle tickets, prizes and beer. Runners choose their own route and pace (the more places you stop, the more raffle tickets you collect) and get to absorb the First Thursday scene, complete with gallery openings, food, drink and plenty of opportunities for merriment.
Animal Athletics offers guided hiking and running trips around Portland the region, including the Columbia River Gorge and Mount Hood.