Fast Moving Running Club’s for Doha’s Joggers
If you're a fan of pounding the pavements, there are plenty of opportunities to get out and about in Qatar.
The capital city Doha offers a host of beautiful promenades and specially installed paths, of varying lengths, for jogging, running and, if you are game, sprinting. Even on the hottest days, there are shaded tracks and, believe it or not, air-conditioned pathways that will help to keep you moving. Further afield, you can go for something more gruelling across the country's desert plains, undulating sand dunes and rocky jebels. Qatar also hosts several running events throughout the year to test your abilities, from marathons to 5 km dashes and kids races; there is something for everyone and every ability.
However, despite the many opportunities to get out and stretch your legs in Doha and its surroundings, sometimes it's hard to get motivated to get up and out on your own. We recommend joining a running club. Running clubs, with like-minded individuals coming together regularly to hit the road, provide so many benefits - it's sociable, supportive and safer (as they say, safety in numbers!). It adds a competitive dynamic to help up your game (if you want), it's motivating, and members will have plenty of local knowledge regarding routes and tracks. Luckily, Doha has several running clubs to join.
Running Tracks and Paths
Image: RTF (Oxygen Park)
Before you dash off to join a running club, it's worth knowing a few routes and tracks commonly used by Doha’s Roadrunners and Sonic Hedgehogs:
You can run in any of Doha’s parks; some have specific running trails, while others offer just standard pathways for all park users. Favourites include 5/6 Park in Lusail, Al Bidda Park on the Corniche, Al Gharafa Air-Conditioned Park (the first A/C track installed in Doha), Al Rayyan Park in the heart of Al Rayyan, Aspire Park in Al Waab (one of the country’s oldest and most popular green spaces), Doha Festival City Outdoor Trail encircling the DFC Mall (also handy for shopping), Katara Hills (perfect for brutal hill intervals), Lusail Sports Club at Losail International Motorsports Circuit (move over Hamilton!), Oxygen Park amid Education City, Rawdat Al Khail Park on the C-Ring Road, and Umm Al Seneem Air-Conditioned Park, with the world's longest air-conditioned outdoor track (as of October 2022).
It’s also worth noting that the majority of Qatar’s FIFA World Cup Stadiums, Ahmed bin Ali, Al Bayt, Al Janoub, Al Thumama, and Education City (West Green Spine Running Track), also have running tracks installed around their perimeter or in the surrounding precinct.
Alternatively, Doha's promenades and boulevards are popular places to run or jog. The city centre and coastline hugging Corniche is one of the most popular places to run in Doha; it's possible to travel up to 7 km along the path from start to finish. Or try Lusail Marina Corniche or the beautiful boulevards of The Pearl; each will give you plenty of opportunity to put the distance in.
Running apps, such as C25K 5K Trainer, Map My Run, Nike Run Club, Runkeeper and Strava, will help you measure, plan and record your running distances.
To find out more about Qatar’s running tracks, trails and paths, read our Running Routes in Doha and Beyond article.
So, you now know where to find some of the best running spots in Doha, but if you're having trouble staying motivated on your own or would like to join the social side of running, let's take a look at the running clubs available.
There are numerous running clubs in Qatar. Generally, clubs operate out of Doha and stick to routes in and around the city. For a pick of the top clubs, check out our list below:
DBRC is an informal runners club organised by expat Doharites and has been running (no pun intended) since 2011. The club offers recurring weekly runs (and walks) starting from specific locations and times, with optional and varied lengths. However, other sessions are often organised via their Facebook page.
Weekly Training Options
Friday Long Run
Depending on the weather, the club tackles 10 km runs during the summer months and up to 35 km over the winter (part of the club's annual Doha Ooredoo Marathon training) - the route is varied each week, with pre-assigned water stops to keep things interesting.
Members meet in the car park next to the Qatar Sports Club at 5 am.
Friday Runners and Walkers
Running 5 km loops (how many loops is determined by personal preference and ability), the group meets in the car park next to the Qatar Sports Club at 5:30 am.
Saturday Conversation Run
Club members opting for the conversation run, a gentler-style dash, between 5 - 10 km around the running trail at Aspire Park in Al Waab, meet at the Starbucks on Furousiya Street at 5 am.
Tuesday Nights Run
An interval training session held at the Al Sadd Sports Club running track in Al Saad, starting at 7 pm.
If you want to join this hardy running group, join their Facebook page as a member to find out more.
The various running groups often go for coffee or refreshments after training, making this a super sociable way to spend time too.
The Doha Nightcrawlers are a running club styled on the international social running group, the Hash House Harriers. Originally started by a group of British expats in Malaysia in the early 20th century, the Harriers now have groups all over the world. The Harriers operate slightly more playfully than most running clubs; a trail is marked out by one or more of the group's members (commonly known as the hares), which is followed by the remaining members (the hounds). The trails are littered with false paths, dead ends and split trails and the hounds are required to find the true route and follow it to the end, after which the group repair to a more comfortable venue to socialise.
The Doha Nightcrawler Harriers meet once a month on a Thursday evening (generally around the new moon), run the trail around the city and end the night at a pre-arranged venue.
If you want to join this band of friendly runners, join their Facebook page as a member to find out more.
VIVA Running Club is another running club organised to help and motivate people in Qatar to get up and moving, offering weekly meetups in various places in and around Doha. The group, started relatively recently, generally meets on Monday and Wednesday early evenings at VIVA Bahriya - The Pearl’s beachfront residences neighbourhood. However, the club also organises track runs at Qatar Sports Club in West Bay on Wednesday evenings and Ladies’ Track evenings on Tuesdays at Losail International Circuit. Other sessions are arranged from other locations, such as 5/6 Park, Al Bayt Stadium running track, etc.; some include alternative training, such as boot camp instruction, bodyweight training, etc. The group also ramp up their sessions (in terms of distance and frequency) before major running events in Qatar, such as the Ooredoo Marathon and the Qatar East-West Ultra Run; they also join numerous local events such as Sports Day and Ramadan races, as a running group.
If you want to join these committed runners, join their Instagram feed or, as they suggest, just turn up to an advertised run! All the team asks is that you be medically fit to undertake their runs.
Annual Running Events
Image: Qatar Ultra Runners (North Challenge)
With plenty of running spots and numerous clubs to join, the next step in your running journey could be to take part in races and other running events. Qatar hosts several such activities every year. Events include road running races, such as the Ooredoo Doha Marathon, which incorporates a full marathon, a half marathon, a 10K and a 5K run, and the Qatar Running Series, which operates as a series of separate events, each with numerous races, ranging in length from 3K to 10K, spread between August and June annually. Off-road and desert races are also organised, such as the Qatar East to West Ultramarathon - a gruelling 90 km run from the east coast to the west through the baking desert plains; the South Challenge - a 20 km off-roader over sand, stone, rock and dune; and the North Challenge - a 2 hour off-road looped track against the clock.
To find out more and how to sign up for Qatar’s running race events, read our Marathons to Mini-Runs, Qatar Has Something For Everyone article.
No matter where you run, who you run with, or how you challenge yourself, only run if you’re medically able to do so, listen to your body while running and don’t over do it, and, of course, make sure you stay hydrated!
Main image: Sven Hansche/Shutterstock.com
Put some joy in your workout; try trampoline aerobics - more efficient than running and twice as much fun.
Get on your bike and check out Qatar’s cycling network, tracks and trails.
If you love to put the distance in, Qatar has some fantastic annual long-distance races to take part in.
If running is your exercise, Doha and the surrounding landscape have plenty of routes, tracks and trails to follow.