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2014 State of the Sport - Part III: U.S. Race Trends

Running USA
July 9, 2014

A record 19-plus million finishers in U.S. running events for 2013; second straight year of double-digit growth led by non-traditional running events, half-marathon and women; 300% finisher growth since 1990

 

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - (July 9, 2014) - Without sounding too much like a broken record from past Running USA annual reports, 2013 proved to be another historic and record breaking year for U.S. running events and overall finishers. Our 2014 State of the Sport - Part III: U.S. Race Trends report clearly shows that the Second Running Boom is still going strongly as it enters its third decade. The snapshot below summarizes the key race numbers and statistics from 2013 and past years.

2013 U.S. Running Snapshot:

  • Females account for 10.8 million finishers nationwide (a record number) and represent the highest percentage ever reported of 57% from event fields. Males in 2013 also set a new high with more than 8 million finishers in U.S. races. Overall, there were 19,025,000 finishers in U.S. running events (another record).
  • The number of U.S. race finishers has increased nearly 300% since 1990, and female representation has grown from just 25% to an all-time high of 57% in 2013; see Table 1 below.
  • Total number of U.S. running events reached 28,200, another all-time high, and a 7% increase since 2012; see Table 3.
  • The half-marathon continues to fuel the growth of the Second Running Boom with an annual increase of 6% finishers (1.96 million, another new high) with an astounding 61% female participation.
  • In 2013, the 5K maintained the #1 position of all race distances with 8.3 million finishers (another record number), claiming 43% of all finishers in the U.S., while the half-marathon again held the #2 position with approximately 10% of the finishers, followed by the 10K (7.9%).
  • Per our 2014 State of the Sport Part I special report, mud runs, obstacle runs and color-themed runs have grown exponentially in the past few years, and it is estimated that approximately a record 4 million runners participated in these mostly untimed non-traditional, adventure-type races last year.

The following lists, charts and tables provide an overall summary of U.S. races, including demographics.

TABLE 1: U.S. Race Finishers 1990 - 2013

 

TABLE 2: Finishers in 2013 U.S. Running Events

DISTANCE

2013 Totals

% of Total

‘12 – ‘13 Change

5K

8,300,000

43.6%

34%

Half-Marathon

1,960,000

10.3%

6%

10K

1,480,000

7.9%

1%

Marathon

541,000

2.8%

11%

Others

6,744,000

35.4%

22%

TOTAL

19,025,000

 

22%

TABLE 3: Number of 2013 U.S. Running Events

 

DISTANCE

# of Events

% of Total

 

5K

15,200

54%

 

10K

3,200

11%

 

Half-Marathon

2,100

8%

 

8K/5mile

2,000

7%

 

Marathon

1,100

4%

 

Others

4,600

16%

 

TOTAL

28,200

 

 

SOURCE: Running USA powered by Athlinks

Road Race Demographics
The sweet spot of running event participation continues to fall between the ages of 25 and 44 for both genders (57% for women and 48% for men), and overall last year, 53% of all finishers came from between said age bookends.

TABLE 4: Age Group Distribution of U.S. Timed Race Finishers 2013

Age Group

Female

Male

Overall

 

  6-17 yrs

9%

12%

10%

 

18-24 yrs

10%

8%

9%

 

25-34 yrs

30%

23%

27%

 

35-44 yrs

27%

25%

26%

 

45-54 yrs

16%

19%

18%

 

55-64 yrs

6%

10%

8%

 

65+ yrs

2%

3%

2%

 

SOURCE: Running USA powered by Athlinks

TABLE 5: Average Age of Timed Race Finishers

 

2013

Timed Road Race Finishers

36.1

Female Timed Road Race Finishers

34.8

Male Timed Road Race Finishers

37.3

SOURCE: Running USA powered by Athlinks

Per the below, gender distribution, median times and average age are reported for the 5K, 10K, Half-Marathon and Marathon in 2013.

TABLE 6: Race Demographics of Timed Finishers in 2013

DISTANCE

WOMEN

MEN

 

 

 

5K

58%

42%

Median Time

34:53

28:46

Average Age

33.0

33.6

 

 

 

10K

56%

44%

Median Time

1:04:47

56:00

Average Age

35.7

38.4

 

 

 

Half-Marathon

61%

39%

Median Time

2:19:49

2:01:37

Average Age

35.6

38.7

 

 

 

Marathon

43%

57%

Median Time

4:41:49

4:16:37

Average Age

36.6

40.2

SOURCE: Running USA powered by Athlinks

The next Running USA State of the Sport report will feature the largest race lists nationwide for 2013, including Top 100 Timed, World's Largest, Largest Festivals, Largest by State, Largest Women's and Largest Youth Runs.

SOURCE
Running USA = Running USA advances the growth and success of the running industry. State of the Sport reports, comprehensive running data and lists of the largest races from past years can be found on RunningUSA.org in the "Statistics" section. For other questions about running trends and demographics, contact: Ryan Lamppa, ryan@runningusa.org or Tracy Yoder,  tracy@runningusa.org

July

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