Local Fitness Groups Creating Communities in Metro Detroit

Make friends with fellow runners, walkers, bikers, and yogis at these Metro Detroit fitness groups.
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Hundreds of people regularly show up to Beacon Park in Detroit for City Glow Yoga, a semimonthly event held throughout the summer. // Photograph by Damon Debose

Exercise may fall under the self-care umbrella, but that doesn’t mean we have to go it alone. Meet a handful of local fitness groups for whom, when talking about health, community is just as important as activity.

WeRun313

Photograph by Trilogy Beats, courtesy of WeRun313

What started as a friendship between two runners from opposite sides of the city has become a beloved movement of thousands of runners — from families looking for a social stroll to marathon trainers.

Lance Woods and Joe Robinson officially founded WeRun313 in May 2019 with a plan to bring Detroiters together for community and to discover that special blend of euphoria and accomplishment that only a good run can deliver.

Along with bigger races and events, WeRun313 hosts a series of regular weekly runs that are free and open to the public. The introductory Two Mile Tuesday run happens every week, commencing at Yum Village on Woodward, and is designed to attract runners (or walkers) of all levels. Intermediate runners are invited to join either the 5K or 10K on Thursday nights starting at Robert C. Valade Park along the Detroit riverfront. And on Sundays, more serious runners and trainers gather for the long run, during which the group covers a distance of between 10 and 18 miles.

Running “humanizes us,” Woods says. “Nobody cares about what you have on. Nobody cares about what you do. Nobody, quite frankly, even cares about who you are. We’re spiritually coming and connecting to this space because of the power of running.”

Go to werun313.com or find them on Instagram @werun313.

Hot Girl Walk Detroit

Photograph courtesy of Hot Girl Walk

When nature walk lover Jillian Waun moved back to the Detroit area from Chicago, she picked right back up where she’d left off — the only thing missing was a group of hot girls who were also all about that stroll. Inspired by a similar group in Grand Rapids, Waun formed her own all-gal walking group in September 2022. Now, Hot Girl Walk Detroit has more than 550 members who come together weekly (more often during the warmer months) to walk trails and other areas across metro Detroit.

It’s free to join and open to all women after a quick application through the Geneva group chat app, which is also where members, once accepted, stay in the know about upcoming walks and events. Subgroups are also starting to branch off, including one tailored toward moms and a book club.

Waun says, “My goal is for local women to gather through attainable exercise like walking and to stay active together and be able to connect with people that want that kind of community.”

Find them on Instagram @hotgirlwalkdet.

People for Palmer Park Bicyling

Photograph by TJ Samuels, courtesy of People for Palmer Park Bicycling

This nonprofit organization hosts a slew of recreational activities to get people up and moving and enjoying one of Detroit’s most historic green spaces. One such example? Bike rides. Organizer Henry Ford II has been leading the rides for 13 seasons in an effort to tap into the health benefits — and the good ole fashioned fun — of riding a bike.

Weather permitting, the group meets on Thursday nights, and Ford has adopted a progressive approach of sorts. Riders enjoy a more casual pace (10 to 13 mph) in May, the first month, and then that gets bumped up a bit each month until the season ends in October.

As the pace picks up, the rides get longer, sometimes stretching across the city and beyond. Rides are free and open to all, but donations are always welcomed. Ford picked up cycling after a period of unemployment. He says, “It’s hard to have a bad time on a bike.”

Go to peopleforpalmerpark.org/bike-rides.

City Glow Yoga

Photograph by Damon Debose, courtesy of City Glow Yoga

Combine yoga, neon-lit headphones, and a city center park, and you’ve got a workout that’s sure to attract a gaggle of wellness- minded young people. And that was precisely the goal when City Glow Yoga was formed in 2019.

On every second Monday night during the spring and summer months (and sometimes into fall if the temps hold), up to 300 folks meet at Beacon Park in Detroit to breathe and stretch at a silent-disco yoga class.

Classes are open to the public and just $5. Early birds can enjoy a live DJ and meet their fellow yogis before the silent session starts. Co-Director Emily Phillips says the team recognizes some of the issues young professionals can face, like stress and burnout.

She says, “Yoga is a great way to take some time, do a little bit of movement, and have some space for yourself to think, to relax, to relieve some of that stress.”

Find them on Instagram @cityglowyoga.


This story is from the June 2023 issue of Hour Detroit magazine. Read more in our digital edition.