There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but Denver’s running scene gives the old adage a, ahem, run for its money. Thanks to organized clubs, local athletes can score gratis meals multiple days of the week. The groups meet at restaurants, breweries, and even Whole Foods, jog pre-planned routes, and refuel on free or discounted snacks. Here, six reasons why there’s no excuse not to be a runner in Denver.
Details Tuesday, 6:30 p.m., year-round; free
Location Denver Beer Company, 1695 Platte St.
Three years after moving to Denver in 2008, Patrick Crawford opened Denver Beer Company and promptly formed a running group. The DBC Running Club meets every Tuesday, rain or shine. After a three-mile route that winds along the South Platte River and through LoHi, runners feast on pasta provided by Brava! Pizzeria’s truck. “You gotta be sweaty to eat it,” Crawford says.
Details Tuesday, 6 p.m., year-round; free
Location Wahoo’s Fish Tacos, 225 E. 20th Ave.
This club’s mentality is simple, says coordinator Greg Hawke: “Show up, and let’s go.” Every Tuesday, Wahoo’s Fish Taco’s running club meets at the 20th and Grant location and runs different routes around City Park. Distances range from five to 10 kilometers. Afterward, participants enjoy a number one combo (your choice of one taco or enchilada, with rice and beans) and happy hour–price drinks.
Details Wednesday, 6:15 p.m., year-round; free
Location Highland Tap & Burger, 2219 W. 32nd Ave.
Highland Tap & Burger formed its running group in October 2010, one month after the restaurant opened. HTB Run Club does an ever-changing five-kilometer loop (as well as a five-mile loop during the summer) around Highland, LoHi, and LoDo. Then runners dine on free pasta and salad and knock back Oskar Blues brews (which are 20 percent off the regular price).
Details Wednesday, 6 p.m., April through October; free
Location Whole Foods Market, 1111 S. Washington St., and Pub on Pearl, 1101 S. Pearl St.
Wash Park Pub runners meet at Whole Foods, register or sign in inside, and then take off for a loop around the park. They finish at Pub on Pearl, where a meal catered by Whole Foods and two-for-one domestic beers await. Additional incentives: a free T-shirt after 15 runs and a goodie bag—with $20 gift cards for both Whole Foods and Pub on Pearl—after 25.
Details Thursday, 6 p.m., year-round; free
Location The Irish Snug, 1201 E. Colfax Ave., #100
Register beforehand (online or in person), or just show up at the Irish Snug on Thursdays for the weekly trek. After a three-mile loop around Cheesman Park, runners dig into a spaghetti, garlic bread, and salad buffet. If you sign in each week, you can track your runs to receive an Irish Snug Running Club tee after 10 runs and an athletic running top after 100.
Details Sunday, 9:15 a.m., April through November; $25–$30
Location Changes weekly
Founded in April 2013 by Alex Weissner and Courtney Logan, the “bRUNch” group meets at a different restaurant each weekend. Five- and 10-kilometer courses are mapped out at each location, and runners eat together afterward. The registration fee covers one entrée and two drinks, and $1 of each registration goes to Metro CareRing, a local hunger-relief charity. Tip: Don’t miss bRUNch’s first 2015 run on Saturday, April 12, at Lou’s Food Bar.