2015 State of the Sport - U.S. Race Trends

Running USA
July 13, 2015

2014 U.S. running events finishers stabilizes but remains close to its all-time high recorded in 2013


WICHITA, Kan. - (July 13, 2015) – After experiencing 300% growth from 1990 to 2013, running event finishers in 2014 remains nearly consistent with the all-time record set in 2013. While the marathon and half marathon continue to grow, other distances declined. The snapshot below summarizes the key race numbers and statistics from 2014 and past years.

2014 U.S. Running Snapshot:

  • Females account for 10.7 million finishers nationwide and continue to represent 57% from event fields.  Males in 2014 represented over 8 million finishers in U.S. races. Overall, there were 18,750,000 finishers in U.S. running events, down 1% from the record over 19 million recorded in 2013.
  • Total number of U.S. running events reached 28,000, also down 1% from an all-time high in 2013; see Table 3.
  • The 25 to 44 year old age group is the sweet spot for running, accounting for half of finishers.
  • The half-marathon continues to grow with an annual increase of 4% finishers (2.046 million, another new high) with an astounding 61% female participation.
  • In 2014, the 5K maintained the #1 position of all race distances with 8.3 million finishers (on par with the record number in 2013), claiming 44% of all finishers in the U.S., while the half-marathon again held the #2 position with approximately 11% of the finishers, followed by the 10K (7%).
  • The 10K and other distances declined from 2013 to 2014.

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

 

TABLE 1: U.S. Race Finishers 1990 - 2014

TABLE 2: Finishers in 2014 U.S. Running Events

DISTANCE

2014 Totals

% of Total

‘13 – ‘14 Change

5K

8,300,000

44%

0%

Half-Marathon

2,046,000

11%

4%

10K

1,400,000

7%

-5%

Marathon

550,600

3%

2%

Others

6,450,000

34%

-4%

TOTAL

18,750,000

 

-1%

 

TABLE 3: Number of 2014 U.S. Running Events

 

DISTANCE

# of Events

% of Total

 

5K

15,100

54%

 

10K

3,700

13%

 

Half-Marathon

2,500

9%

 

8K/5mile

1,400

5%

 

Marathon

1,100

4%

 

Others

4,200

15%

 

TOTAL

28,000

 

 

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 2014

Age Group

Female

Male

Overall

 

  6-17 yrs

9%

11%

10%

 

18-24 yrs

10%

8%

9%

 

25-34 yrs

28%

23%

26%

 

35-44 yrs

27%

25%

26%

 

45-54 yrs

17%

20%

18%

 

55-64 yrs

7%

10%

8%

 

65+ yrs

2%

3%

2%

 

SOURCE: Running USA powered by Athlinks

 

TABLE 5: Average Age of Timed Race Finishers

 

2014

Timed Road Race Finishers

34.3

Female Timed Road Race Finishers

35.8

Male Timed Road Race Finishers

34.5

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 2014.

 

TABLE 6: Race Demographics of Timed Finishers in 2014

DISTANCE

WOMEN

MEN

 

 

 

5K

58%

42%

Median Time

33:43

29:47

Average Age

36.6

39.4

 

 

 

10K

59%

41%

Median Time

1:06:22

57:03

Average Age

36.6

39.4

 

 

 

Half-Marathon

61%

39%

Median Time

2:21:22

2:02:55

Average Age

36.0

39.1

 

 

 

Marathon

43%

57%

Median Time

4:44:18

4:19:27

Average Age

36.0

40.0

 

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: Running USA Director of Research Jason Jacobson, jason@runningusa.org or Running USA CEO Rich Harshbarger, rich@runningusa.org.

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