Are Running Clubs the New Tinder?

Discover the vibrant running culture in the Philippines and how running clubs are fostering community and connections.


There is a renewed interest of late in recreational running. One need only look at the running clubs that have sprouted like mushrooms all over the metro. Usually, there are regular meet ups for long runs and speed sessions, and members often even join races together.

There are the run clubs initiated by running brands like On Running, Adidas, Hoka, etc. There are clubs led by running coaches who’s members are usually their direct trainees such as WeKenRun of Coach Ken Mendola, Run With Pat under Coach Patrick Rubin, etc.  And, finally, there are run clubs based on location, who’s members usually live or work in the area like the Rockwell Run Club, Ayala Triads or UP Night Runners.

And these are just the ones in Metro Manila.  Running groups are all over the country.

It is thus not far-fetched that given the members already share the same interest in running, health, and fitness, it is also a good place for singles to meet someone they will find interesting.  There have been quite a few stories of runners developing common interests beyond running shoes.


Take Ralph who met current girlfriend Chynna during speed sessions at WeKenRun’s Filinvest location. Ralph was always the group comedian and “hugot line” expert in the group, apart from being a sub-4 marathoner. For a long time, he would call some of the runner-titas in the group “Ninang” in anticipation of finally finding “the one.”  Lo and behold, Chynna joined the running group last year and, over time, they were mutually smitten. However, it wasn’t until both joined the Taipei marathon with WeKenRunners that the chemistry became so obvious that by the time the racecation was over, they were already an item.

For Coach Ken Mendola, while he’s happy with the love story unfolding in their midst, he believes that people should still join run clubs for the right reasons — because one is genuinely interested in running and would like to be part of a community that would support such interest. “Finding a date should definitely just be incidental,” states the Coach.

I personally joined WeKenRun in 2018 and have since met some of my closest friends in the group.  When one begins running in earnest, one tends to spend a lot more time with teammates than some other non-running friends. The interest in all matters related to running, like shoes, races, metrics, etc., is not something non-runners can usually relate to.

It is said that when Paul Newman became seriously interested in race car driving, his best friend Robert Redford began to find him boring because he would talk endlessly about nothing but race cars.  Surely, the same holds true for running.

Now, whenever I would pace somebody who’s getting fatigued and losing speed, I’d tell her/him, “Bilisan mo, isipin mo na lang nanonood si crush!”  That would at the very least elicit laughter.  Indeed, a moment of levity is welcome especially towards the end of a 32km long run.

Will running clubs replace dating apps? We don’t know and personally I don’t care.  As long as it will entice people to jump into the running bandwagon for their health and fitness, it’s all good.



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