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Running USA Annual Marathon Report

Running USA
March 13, 2013

Slight marathon growth in 2012 excluding cancelled ING New York City Marathon; more records set; Bank of America Chicago Marathon largest last year

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - (March 13, 2013) - Is the bloom gone from the marathon? A question asked after modest U.S. marathon finisher growth in 2011 compared to previous years. For the first time since 2001, according to Running USA, the estimated number of U.S. marathon finishers declined from a record 518,000 in 2011 to 487,000 in 2012 (a 6% decrease), but like 2001, most of the decline can be attributed to a unique situation; in 2001, it was post-9/11 travel impacting fall marathons, and in 2012, the cancellation of the ING New York City Marathon, the world's largest marathon with more than 47,000 finishers or 9% of the 2011 overall finisher total.

If the sold-out NYC Marathon had been held, there is no doubt that the 2012 overall marathon finisher total would have exceeded the 2011 record of 518,000. In addition, overall, there was a 1.6% increase in finishers from the same 388 U.S. marathons for 2011 and 2012 (464,122 vs. 471,595); a slight percent increase (1%) from the same 367 marathons in 2010 and 2011 (495,135 vs. 500,206).

Over the past 15 years, U.S. marathons collectively have averaged just under 2.5% finisher growth per year so although 2012's growth rate of 1.6% for the same marathons for both years was below the annual average, it was not a significant decline. In short, it is premature, at this time, to say that U.S. marathon growth has lost its bloom, and also, some of the marathon's smaller overall finisher percent growth over the past two years can be attributed to the popularity of the half-marathon, the fastest growing road race distance in America since 2003 (and 2012 was another record finisher year for the 13.1 mile).

The following tables and lists represent a summary of the demographics and stats and trends for U.S. marathons and worldwide rankings. Per the tables below, U.S. marathon demographics - gender, age group, median age and median time - have remained essentially the same in recent years.

Gender and Age Group Breakdown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1980

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

 

Women   

11%

40%

40%

41%

41%

41%

41%

42%

 

Men

90%

60%

60%

59%

59%

59%

59%

58%

 

Masters (40 yrs+) 

26%

46%

46%

45%

46%

46%

46%

46%

 

Open (20 to 39 yrs)

69%

52%

52%

53%

52%

52%

52%

52%

 

Juniors (under 20) 

5%

2%

2%

2%

2%

2%

2%

2%

 

                   

 

Female

Male

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6-17 yrs

1%

1%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18-24 yrs

10%

7%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

25-34 yrs

35%

26%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

35-44 yrs

31%

31%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

45-54 yrs

17%

23%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

55-64 yrs

5%

10%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

65+ yrs

1%

2%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                   

Median Age

 

 

 

 

 

 

       

1980

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

(Mean)

Males  

34

40

40

39

40

40

40

40

(39.8 yrs)

Females

31

35

36

35

35

35

35

35

(36.2 yrs)

Median Age Overall 

 

38

38

38

36

37

37

37

(38.3 yrs)

                   

Median Times - U.S. Marathon Finishers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1980

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

 

Males   

3:32:17

4:19:31

4:20:04

4:20:04

4:13:54

4:16:14

4:16:34

4:17:43

 

Females

4:03:39

4:49:57

4:49:48

4:43:31

4:41:29

4:42:10

4:42:15

4:42:58

 

Year Estimated U.S. Marathon Finisher Total

1976 25,000  
1980 143,000  
1990 224,000  
1995 293,000  
2000 353,000  
2004 386,000  
2005 395,000  
2006 410,000  
2007 412,000  
2008 425,000  
2009 467,000  
2010 507,000  
2011 518,000 (all-time high)
2012 487,000  

National Runner Survey
In 2012, Running USA surveyed more than 30,000 core runners nationwide, and those respondents who had completed a marathon in the last two years ran approximately 4.3 days per week for an average of 28.3 miles. They also purchased approximately 3.5 pairs of running shoes and 77.5% had spent $100 or more on running apparel in the last 12 months.

Number of U.S. marathons reaches new high
Last year, there were 93 U.S. marathons reporting greater than 1,000 finishers, the second most ever (record is 94 in 2011). Since 1999, the number of U.S. marathons with more than 1,000 finishers in a single year has increased 107% (45 in 1999 vs. 93 in 2012).

For the first time since 1996, there was no inaugural U.S. marathon with more than 1,000 finishers, and overall, there were at least 20 debut marathons in this country and most of them were small (less than 300 finishers).

In 2012, there were an estimated 850 U.S. marathons, a record high, compared to approximately 300 marathons in 2000.

2012 U.S. Marathons (>1,000 finishers) with the…

 

 

 

           

… Fastest Median Times

 

 

 

 

 

 

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Baystate

 

3:48:42

3:47:42

 

3:53:44

Eugene

 

 

 

3:59:17

4:00:15

Steamtown

3:56:13

3:55:48

3:55:41

4:05:27

4:00:40

COX Rhode Races

 

 

 

 

4:00:57

Harrisburg

 

 

 

 

4:02:57

           

… Slowest Median Times

 

 

 

 

 

 

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Bataan Memorial March

7:47:50

7:37:50

7:29:29

7:27:31

7:44:14

Honolulu

5:49:00

5:44:46

5:50:52

5:46:35

5:52:47

Honda LA

5:31:57

5:23:30

5:17:29

5:06:41

5:06:20

Nike Women’s

 

5:10:39

4:59:35

5:04:47

5:03:10

Walt Disney World

 

 

5:08:39

 

5:02:44

           

… Most <4 Hour Finishers

 

 

 

 

 

 

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Bank of America Chicago

6,382 (21%)

11,226 (33%)

8,294 (23%)

8,743 (24%)

11,717 (31%)

Boston

14,547 (66%)

15,691 (69%)

15,424 (68%)

16,211 (68%)

8,644 (40%)

Philadelphia

3,193 (44%)

3,221 (46%)

3,891 (43%)

4,046 (39%)

4,927 (42%)

Marine Corps

 

4,771 (22%)

4,622 (21%)

4,565 (22%)

4,501 (19%)

Twin Cities

 

 

 

 

3,344 (38%)

           

… Most >6 Hour Finishers

 

 

 

 

 

 

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Honolulu

8,761 (44%)

7,788 (38%)

8,155 (40%)

7,621 (40%)

9,342 (41%)

Honda LA

6,420 (37%)

4,373 (31%)

6,313 (28%)

5,069 (26%)

4,630 (25%)

Walt Disney World

3,217 (25%)

3,165 (21%)

4,044 (24%)

2,761 (20%)

2,986 (22%)

Bank of America Chicago

 

 

3,465 (10%)

2,936 (8%)

2,507 (7%)

Marine Corps

 

 

 

 

1,994 (8%)

… Most Finishers by Age Groups

 

 

Event

2012 Subtotals

Female Juniors

Honolulu

1,272

Male Juniors

Honda LA

1,488

Females 20-29

Bank of America Chicago

5,125

Males 20-29

Bank of America Chicago

3,975

Females 30-39

Bank of America Chicago

5,852

Males 30-39

Bank of America Chicago

6,893

Females 40-49

Bank of America Chicago

3,947

Males 40-49

Bank of America Chicago

5,915

Females 50-59

Honolulu

1,645

Males 50-59

Boston

2,958

Females 60+

Honolulu

971

Males 60+

Honolulu

2,165

 

 

 

Overall 40+

Bank of America Chicago

15,009

Overall 50+

Honolulu

6,911

Overall 60+

Honolulu

3,136

… Highest Percent Women*

 

 

 

 

2009

2010

2011

2012

Nike Women’s

93%

91%

92%

91%

26.2 with Donna

 

61%

 

62%

Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah

 

 

52%

51%

         

… Highest Percent Men*

 

 

 

 

 

2009

2010

2011

2012

United States Air Force

74%

71%

70%

68%

Wipro San Francisco

 

 

67%

67%

Publix Georgia

 

 

 

66%

         

… Highest Percent Masters (40+ yrs)*

 

 

 

 

2009

2010

2011

2012

Boston

56%

56%

58%

59%

Myrtle Beach

 

 

 

57%

Napa Valley

 

 

 

56%

       

*Events with >1,000 finishers in each representative category

 

Bank of America Chicago Marathon largest in 2012; record 30 marathons had more than 10,000 finishers in 2012
With 37,475 finishers, an event record, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon was the largest 26.2 mile road race in the world last year, and it was only the second marathon ever with more than 37,000 finishers (New York City Marathon, the other, 6 times). For the first time, 30 marathons worldwide had more than 10,000 finishers. In addition, the U.S. and Japan each had 5 of the 15 largest marathons in the world. See 2012 top rankings below.

2012
World's Largest Marathons (finishers):

1 Bank of America Chicago, IL 37,475
2 Virgin London, GBR 36,705
3 Tokyo, JPN 34,656
4 BMW Berlin, GER 34,348
5 Paris, FRA 32,980
6 Osaka, JPN 27,157
7 Honolulu, HI 24,069
8 Marine Corps, DC 23,519
9 Boston, MA 21,616
10 Zurich Barcelona, ESP 19,198
11 Honda LA, CA 18,919
12 Naha, JPN 17,819
13 Kobe, JPN 16,818
14 Ibusuki Nanohana, JPN 15,785
15 Joon Ang Seoul Int'l, KOR 15,346


U.S. Largest Marathons (finishers):

1

Bank of America Chicago, IL 37,475
2 Honolulu, HI 24,069
3 Marine Corps, DC 23,519
4 Boston, MA 21,616
5 Honda LA, CA 18,919
6 Walt Disney World, FL 13,524
7 Philadelphia, PA 11,635
8 Medtronic Twin Cities, MN 8,783
9 Chevron Houston, TX 7,614
10 Rock 'n' Roll San Diego, CA 7,106
11 Portland, OR 6,518
12 California International, CA 6,511
13 Wipro San Francisco, CA 6,494
14 Grandma's, MN 5,788
15 St. George, UT 5,721


SOURCE: Running USA with Athlinks (2009-12) and Active.com (2005-08)

Contact: Ryan Lamppa at (805) 966-7747 or ryan@runningusa.org

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