(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

Running and jogging are among the most basic exercises and require no special equipment, making them excellent options for most any would-be athlete. A running plan may be accomplished solo, but it is often helpful and more enjoyable to join an organization or fitness club dedicated to this activity. These are some of the area’s best running clubs.

City Centre Running Club
800 W. Sam Houston Parkway
Houston, TX 77024
(713) 365-9922

Price: freeCity Centre Running Club is a social running club in the west Houston area. It offers a great opportunity for people to meet new friends, enjoy a good run, and then socialize at the end. Runners may sign up by meeting in the open courtyard at City Centre between 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Monday. The runs are around 5K, and there is often a gathering for free food and drink at the conclusion of each one.

Brian O’Neill’s Running Club
5555 Morningside Drive
Houston, TX 77005
(713) 522-2603

Price: freeBrian O’Neill’s is a free club anyone can join, and it often sponsors runs to support local charities. The club also offers free food at the end of each run and special prizes for completing a specified number of runs. Some of the runs even include free beer, and those who have the endurance and commitment to complete 100 are awarded with a $100 voucher at Brian O’Neill’s pub.

In Flight Running Club
1302 Waugh Drive
Houston, TX 77019
(713)  523-2577
www.inflightrunning.comPrice: $185 to $440 depending on selected program

Intended for the serious runner, the In Flight Running Club is an organization dedicated to physical fitness and training. Members receive special training from professional run coaches and runners may opt to run each day at 6 a.m. or meet only for weekend running events with the club’s more relaxed athletes. It even sponsors full and half marathons for better overall physical fitness and camaraderie within the group.

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Houston Striders
P.O. Box 721405
Houston, TX 77272
(713) 797-8601
www.houstonstriders.orgPrice: free

Houston Striders is a running club for people at all fitness levels and all ages. This club stresses fellowship and service rather than competition, and it often sponsors social events and charitable runs for Houston area non-profits. Houston Striders members participate in both races and casual running for fitness, and most events are free of charge, although some of the more competitive races may require payment of a small entrance fee.

Bayou City Road Runners
P.O. Box 925534
Houston, TX 77292
(713) 667-2902
www.bcrr.orgPrice: free

Bayou City Road Runners like to run for the physical fitness aspects, but they also have fun. The organizational calendar has almost as many social events as it does running events. The group meets each Wednesday at Rice University for its weekly Sprints and Spirits event, which includes a course nearly seven miles in length. There is also a Sunday morning run that can be very long and strenuous, sometimes up to 21 miles in length, ending with a gathering for Sunday breakfast or brunch.

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Bryan Carey is a Houston, Texas resident with an avid interest in restaurants, dining, breweries, wineries, festivals, cultural events, museums, theatre, concerts, and other forms of entertainment. He has been writing about entertainment, travel, and related topics for more than fifteen years and has thousands of articles to his credit. His work can be found at Examiner.com.