While road running has grown dramatically over the past twenty years, the mile distance has carved a sizeable niche in the sport. The latest Running USA Mile Report shows participant total in mile road races setting an all-time record in 2016 with 149,000 finishers, while seeing an uptick in events with 1,530 being hosted across the United States.
Mile Road Race Numbers Continue to Rise with Nearly 150,000 Finishers in 2016
New Balance Fifth Avenue Mile Ranks as Largest Mile Event
WICHITA, Kan. – The running industry saw a record number of finishers over the mile distance in 2016, according to the latest research from Running USA. In 2016, 149,000 runners crossed the finish line of a mile road race, eclipsing the past record of 117,000 set in 2014.
Since 2013, the mile has seen more than 100,000 runners cross the finish line annually, but the finisher jump between 2015 and 2016 was the largest increase since 2012-2013 when finisher totals increased by 23,000 finishers year-over-year.
“The mile distance is ideal in many respects,” said Rich Harshbarger, Running USA CEO. “The distance appeals to competitive athletes trying to run a personal best, it’s an easy access point to get into the sport of road running for first-time participants and runners with busy schedules don’t need to put in much time training in order to finish.”
The New Balance Fifth Avenue Mile, organized by the New York Road Runners, ranked as the largest race with 6,148 finishers in 2016. The Yuengling Shamrock Marathon, Tar Heel 10 Miler and Grand Blue Mile each hosted mile events with more than 2,000 finishers, while the Medtronic TC 1 Mile rounded out the five largest mile events.
In addition to a rising finisher total, the number of events increased between 2015 and 2016. 1,530 mile races were staged in 2016, a rise of nearly 200 events. The number of events ranks as the second largest, falling short of the 1,800 events in 2014.
Mile Races by the Numbers
Number of Finishers
Number of Events
Ten Largest Mile Events in United States (2016)
|New Balance Fifth Avenue Mile||6,148|
|Yuengling Shamrock Marathon||3,737|
|Tar Heel 10 Miler||2,473|
|Grand Blue Mile||2,086|
|Medtronic TC 1 Mile||1,864|
|Flying Pig Marathon||1,830|
|Kalakaua Merrie Mile||1,339|
|Crim Festival of Races||1,316|
|First National Bank Harrisburg Mile||1,224|
SOURCE: Running USA powered by Athlinks