As summer begins to heat up, the number of 5Ks and 10Ks in the area begins to dwindle.

When running alone starts to lose its appeal, there’s a fun alternative: Local running clubs and running stores host a full calendar of social runs aimed at getting runners together to run, eat and rehydrate.

“Our social runs are usually about 3 miles, and we vary the routes according to where we’re going to eat and drink,” Bay Area Running Club’s Keith Shreiter said. “We always try to find some place with food or drink specials on Thursday nights that’s also close to a running trail or a route we’ve worked out.”

Shreiter also looks for places that have decks, patios and other areas where sweaty runners can cool off.

Shreiter is BARC’s social director, but he emphasizes the social runs are open to visitors as well.

“We’re a very welcoming group, and the social runs are designed so that all paces can be accommodated,” he said.

BARC plans three social runs a month, leaving the third Thursday open for the social run sponsored by the On The Run store.

“The runs from the store are really good,” Shreiter said. “They usually have a shoe company or other reps there, so there might be special giveaways as well as the chance to run with a bunch of friendly people.”

Galveston running store FitTriRun also sponsors several social run/walk events each week.

“Right now, we’re in between training programs, so our Saturday morning session is a social run,” store co-owner Kim Bachmeier said. “When we begin our USA Fit program later this summer, that Saturday morning run will be a serious training run for USA Fit members, but we’ll still have our Thursday night social run.”

The Thursday run/walk begins at the store at 6 p.m.

Social runs have become a staple at many running stores and are a good resource for vacationers looking for a safe entry into a new running environment.

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