San Francisco consistently ranks among the country’s best running cities in reviews from such sources as Runner’s World, the Running Times and With scenic locations like Golden Gate Park, the Presidio and Crissy Field along with great events such as the Bay to Breakers and the San Francisco Marathon, local runners have many options for a great endurance workout. Because San Francisco has a number of significant running events, it’s not surprising that there are also many outstanding running clubs to be a part of. Although many local runners prefer to train on their own, there are benefits from being part of a running club, including gaining knowledge from experienced coaches as well as support from fellow runners. The following are some of the best running clubs in San Francisco.

Dolphin South End Running Club
(415) 978-0837

Founded in 1966, the Dolphin South End Running Club is the oldest and largest running club in San Francisco. Also known as DSE, it was created by members of some of the city’s oldest and best-known sport clubs – the Dolphin Swim Club, the South End Rowing Club and the San Francisco Rowing Club. DSE has organized running events practically every weekend of the year in the city and is open to runners and walkers from all levels of ability. DSE has Saturday morning training runs in Golden Gate Park, which also serves as a popular starting point for many of its races.

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Go WOW Team
(415) 682-8819

Go WOW is a popular running club exclusively for women, featuring the official team and training programs for the Oakland Run Fest and the See Jane 5K/Marathon. The club meets at several Bay Area locations, including Golden Gate Park, the Berkeley Marina and Oakland’s Lake Merritt. Go WOW is said to be the largest and possibly the only women’s-only program covering the greater Bay Area with a high level of coaching and national club status. The club, led by founder and head coach Stephanie Atwood, offers year-round training for all women from beginning walkers to advanced runners.

Pamakid Runners Club
(415) 333-4780

The Pamakid Runners Club is another San Francisco club that’s been in operation for over 40 years. The club is noted for opening endurance training to men, women and children in an era when women were still not allowed to compete in Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) races. Head coach Andy Chan holds weekly track workouts at Kezar Stadium, with other group workouts organized via group email. The Pamakid Runners Club donates over $100,000 annually to local charities, and will present its 30th annual Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon and 5K Fun Run, an event that has been described as one of the most scenic half marathons in the country.

(415) 543-4361

The focus of this Bay Area running club is on longer endurance events, such as half marathons and marathons. It is open to athletes of all levels of ability and has four training locations conducted by nationally certified running coaches: San Francisco, East Bay, Peninsula and South Bay. RUN365 features the Official Training Program of one of San Francisco’s premier races in 2013, the San Francisco Marathon. In addition to road races, coaches also train members for trail running.

San Francisco Runners Club
(415) 273-5731

The San Francisco Runners Club is a non-profit organization similar in membership size to the DSE, with nearly 500 runners. The official running club for the Oakland Running Festival and led by coach Jenni Kirk, it has something for everyone – whether members want to stay in shape or be a competitive marathoner. The San Francisco Runners Club has a great Running 101 program for members new to running or others getting back into endurance training. In addition to weekly workouts with 10 pace groups, the club holds monthly seminars, club breakfasts and social events, as well as great race support.

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Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. His work can be found on