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Running USA Annual Half-Marathon Report

Running USA
March 31, 2013

Half-marathon, the country's most popular distance, again delivers record numbers; Göteborg keeps largest 13.1 mile crown

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - (March 31, 2013) - Over the past decade, the half-marathon has become America's most popular distance by virtually any metric: by finisher growth, by debut half-marathons, by "buzz" and by survey, and the following numbers and tables compiled by Running USA for its annual report further reinforce the 13.1 mile's impact and influence. In short, it is the Usain Bolt of the U.S. road race world.

Last year, U.S. half-marathons had an estimated 1.85 million finishers (a new high), an impressive 14.9% increase from 2011 (1,610,000 to 1,850,000), but lower than the historic 24% rise in both 2009 and 2010. Also, in the same 1,136 U.S. half-marathons for 2011 vs. 2012, there was a 5.1% finisher increase (1,522,637 vs. 1,599,838).

More half-marathon fun facts reflecting its dynamic growth:

  • Since 2003, the half-marathon has been the fastest growing road race distance in the United States, and for seven consecutive years (2006-12), the number of 13.1 mile finishers has grown by 10% or more each year. No other U.S. road distance comes close to this growth rate during the Second Running Boom (circa 1994).
  • Since 2000, the number of half-marathon finishers in this country has nearly quadrupled (482,000 to 1,850,000), an impressive increase of 284%.
  • For the first time in history, 60% of U.S. half-marathon finishers were females (approximately 1,110,000, a record).
  • Although the male U.S. half-marathon percent has declined to 40%, in absolute terms, last year, there were a record 740,000 male finishers in U.S. 13.1 mile races.
  • Also, in 2012, there were a record number of 36 U.S. half-marathons with 10,000 or more finishers. This data point has more than doubled since 2009 when there were 17 with 10,000-plus finishers; in 2000, there was only one.
  • For the year, there were a total of 43 half-marathons that make up the Top 100 U.S. timed road race list for 2012 with 16 of them from the nationwide Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series.
  • Like the past 6 years, there were more than 30 inaugural half-marathons in the U.S. last year and the largest debut half was Rock 'n' Roll Portland (OR) with 11,038 finishers. Overall, there were six debut half-marathons with more than 5,000 finishers (also, Tinkerbell, Rock 'n' Roll St. Pete, Hollywood, Rock 'n' Roll Pasadena and San Diego), a record (previous record was four in 2010).
  • Last year, there were more than 1,500 active U.S. half-marathons (final road race numbers to be released in an upcoming State of the Sport Report).

According to Running USA's 2013 National Runner Survey, the half-marathon is also the favorite distance to run for both genders (38% men and 43% women) and overwhelmingly, the road race distance that runners (77% overall) are most interested in entering this year (2013), so the half-marathon should maintain its title as the most popular distance in America.

The following tables and lists illustrate the demographics, depth, breadth and incredible growth of the half-marathon:

TABLE 1

Gender and Age Group Breakdown            
  2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Women     53% 53% 55% 56% 57% 59% 59% 60%
Men 47% 47% 45% 44% 43% 41% 41% 40%
Masters (40 yrs+)   42% 41%     39% 36% 40% 41%
Open (20 to 39 yrs) 55% 56%     58% 61% 56% 55%
Juniors (under 20)   3% 3%     3% 3% 4% 4%
                 
  Female Male            
  6-17 yrs 1% 2%            
18-24 yrs 11% 7%            
25-34 yrs 35% 28%            
35-44 yrs 31% 31%            
45-54 yrs 16% 21%            
55-64 yrs 5% 9%            
65+ yrs 1% 2%            
                 
Average Age      
         2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Males    39.2 39.5 39.3 39.2 38.9 38.7 38.2 38.5
Females  36 35.9 36.3 36.1 35.8 35.7 35.3 35.6
                 
Median Times for U.S. Half-Marathon Finishers        
  2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Males     1:58:35 1:58:07 1:59:55 2:00:33 2:00:21 2:00:30 2:01:04 2:01:28
Females  2:17:09 2:16:33 2:19:12 2:19:02 2:19:47 2:19:12 2:19:33 2:19:47

 

Year Estimated U.S. Half-Marathon Finisher Total
1990 303,000        
1995 420,000        
2000 482,000        
2004 612,000        
2005 658,000        
2006 724,000        
2007 796,000        
2008 900,000        
2009 1,113,000        
2010 1,385,000        
2011 1,610,000        
2012 1,850,000 (record)      

TABLE 2

2012 U.S. Half-Marathons (>2,000 finishers) with the…    
… Fastest Median Times        
  2009 2010 2011 2012
New Bedford   1:52:29 1:52:13 1:54:34
NYRR: Staten Island 1:56:47     1:57:27
Lake Minnetonka       1:59:08
NYC       1:59:15
NYRR: Brooklyn     1:58:42 1:59:16
         
… Slowest Median Times        
  2009 2010 2011 2012
Tinkerbell       2:48:51
Disney Princess 2:37:04 2:38:49 2:46:00 2:44:49
Disneyland 2:32:53   2:38:48 2:40:19
Nike Women’s 2:41:04 2:40:20 2:41:26 2:40:05
Divas San Francisco Bay       2:39:48
         
… Most <2 Hour Finishers        
  2009 2010 2011 2012
NYC   5,998 (52%) 5,038 (49%) 7,911 (51%)
NYRR: Brooklyn 4,849 (50%)     7,306 (52%)
OneAmerica 500 Festival 8,476 (28%) 8,816 (28%) 7,966 (26%) 5,749 (18%)
Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia 5,899 (48%)   6,416 (39%) 5,556 (37%)
Rock ‘n’ Roll USA       4,634 (28%)
         
… Most >3 Hour Finishers        
  2009 2010 2011 2012
OneAmerica 500 Festival 6,669 (22%) 7,091 (23%) 6,931 (23%) 8,197 (26%)
Nike Women’s   4,889 (32%) 5,156 (32%) 6,190 (31%)
Disney Princess     4,866 (35%) 5,716 (34%)
Walt Disney World   4,637 (27%) 5,616 (26%) 5,710 (25%)
St. Jude Country Music 5,299 (23%) 4,334 (18%)   4,787 (21%)
         
… Highest Percent Women*        
  2009 2010 2011 2012
More/Fitness Magazine 99% 99% 100% 100%
Chicago Women’s        100%
Girlfriend’s       100%
Divas at Long Island 99% 99% 100% 100%
Divas San Francisco Bay       100%
         
… Highest Percent Men*        
  2009 2010 2011 2012
Dexter Ann Arbor 57%     57%
Newport Liberty     55% 57%
NYRR: Staten Island 59% 58% 56% 56%
Kaiser Permanente Southern California     55%
New Bedford   57% 58% 55%
         
… Highest Percent Masters (40+ yrs)*      
  2009 2010 2011 2012
First Watch Sarasota     54% 59%
Publix Fort Lauderdale A1A 53% 54% 55% 57%
Girlfriend’s       57%
National Breast Cancer - 26.2 with Donna 55% 55% 56% 54%
Brooksie Way 54% 55%   54%
*Based upon events with >1,000 finishers in each representative category and >2,000 total race finishers.
     
… Most Finishers in Certain Age Groups
  Event 2012
Female Juniors Nike Women’s 3,422
Male Juniors Pomona Holiday 1,636
Females 20-29 Disney Princess 4,637
Males 20-29 OneAmerica 500 Festival 1,668
Females 30-39 OneAmerica 500 Festival 5,400
Males 30-39 OneAmerica 500 Festival 4,142
Females 40-49 Nike Women’s 3,837
Males 40-49 OneAmerica 500 Festival 3,699
Females 50-59 OneAmerica 500 Festival 2,049
Males 50-59 OneAmerica 500 Festival 2,433
Females 60+ OneAmerica 500 Festival 596
Males 60+ OneAmerica 500 Festival 1,012
     
Overall 40+ OneAmerica 500 Festival 13,465
Overall 50+ OneAmerica 500 Festival 6,090
Overall 60+ OneAmerica 500 Festival 1,608

 

Göteborg largest annual half-marathon ever; record 9 half-marathons with >20,000 finishers
In 2012, Göteborg not only kept its #1 ranking as the world's largest half-marathon, but with 44,094 finishers, it was the largest annual half-marathon ever, and for the first time, there were two halves with more than 40,000 finishers in the same year (also, Bupa Great North Run with 40,066).

In addition, in 2012, there were a record 9 half-marathons worldwide with more than 20,000 finishers (previous record, 8 in 2011), and for the first time, just to be in the top 30 world list, a half-marathon had to have more than 12,000 finishers.

Unlike the largest marathon rankings last year, the U.S. dominates the largest half-marathon world lists with 6 of the top 10, 16 of the top 20 and 19 of the top 30. Just to make the U.S. top 30, a half-marathon needed more than 11,000 finishers (another record).

With 31,170 finishers, One America 500 Festival reclaimed its #1 U.S. ranking after being supplanted by Zappos.com Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas last year. One America 500 Festival has been the largest U.S. half-marathon for 22 of the past 23 years.

2012        
World’s Largest Half-Marathons (finishers)    
  1)   Göteborg, SWE 44,094 (largest annual half-marathon ever)
  2)   Bupa Great North Run, GBR 40,066  
  3)   OneAmerica 500 Festival, IN 31,170  
  4)   Paris, FRA 24,990  
  5)   Vattenfall Berliner, GER 23,055  
  6)   Walt Disney World, FL 22,443  
  7)   St. Jude Country Music Nashville, TN 22,330  
  8)   Zappos.com Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas, NV 22,123  
  9)   Nike Women’s, CA 20,097  
10)   Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego, CA 17,604  
11)   Disney’s Princess, FL 16,910  
12)   Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio, TX 16,516  
13)   Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Nation’s Capital, DC 16,329  
14)   ING Miami, FL 16,096  
15)   P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll, AZ 15,700  
16)   NYC, NY 15,344  
17)   Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia, PA 15,154  
18)   XSport Fitness Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago, IN 14,990  
19)   Disneyland, CA 14,831  
20)   Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle, WA 14,247  
21)   NYRR Brooklyn, NY 14,197  
22)   Surf City USA, CA 14,140  
23)   Villa de Madrid, ESP 13,733  
24)   Lloyds TSB Cardiff, GBR 13,674  
25)   Reading, GBR 13,104  
26)   Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans, LA 13,093  
27)   Bupa Great Birmingham, GBR 12,843  
28)   TCS Amsterdam, NED 12,727  
29)   Old Mutual Two Oceans, RSA 12,517  
30)   Stockholm, SWE 12,208  
         
U.S. Largest Half-Marathons (finishers)    
  1)   One America 500 Festival, IN 31,170  
  2)   Walt Disney World, FL 22,443  
  3)   St. Jude Country Music Nashville, TN 22,330  
  4)   Zappos.com Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas, NV 22,123  
  5)   Nike Women’s, CA 20,097  
  6)   Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego, CA 17,604  
  7)   Disney’s Princess, FL 16,910  
  8)   Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio, TX 16,516  
  9)   Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Nation’s Capital, DC 16,329  
10)   ING Miami, FL 16,096  
11)   P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll, AZ 15,700  
12)   NYC, NY 15,344  
13)   Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia, PA 15,154  
14)   XSport Fitness Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago, IL 14,990  
15)   Disneyland, CA 14,831  
16)   Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle, WA 14,247  
17)   NYRR Brooklyn, NY 14,197  
18)   Surf City USA, CA 14,140  
19)   Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans, LA 13,093  
20)   UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh, PA 12,141  
21)   Chicago, IL 12,108  
22)   Kentucky Derby Festival, KY 12,091  
23)   Cincinnati Flying Pig, OH 11,775  
24)   Disney Wine & Dine, FL 11,617  
25)   Wipro San Francisco, CA 11,559  
26)   Rock ‘n’ Roll Dallas, TX 11,340  
27)   Long Beach International City Bank, CA 11,241  
28)   Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah, GA 11,166  
29)   Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach, VA 11,046  
30)   Rock ‘n’ Roll Portland, OR (inaugural) 11,038  

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

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

March

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