Running USA's Annual Half-Marathon Report

Running USA
April 16, 2014

2014 Annual Half-Marathon Report

Running USA
April 6, 2014

A record of nearly 2 million finishers in U.S. half-marathons in 2013; female finishers hit new highs; Nike Women's DC largest inaugural and Göteborg largest 13.1 mile ever

 

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - (April 6, 2014) - Since 2003, per Running USA State of the Sport Reports, the half-marathon has been the fastest growing standard distance in the United States with a 12.5% annual finisher growth rate, and moreover, from 2006-12, the number of 13.1 mile finishers grew a noteworthy 10% or more each year. In 2013 that historic growth rate slowed as U.S. half-marathons had an estimated 1.96 million finishers (a new high) with a solid 6% increase from 2012 (1,850,000 vs. 1,960,000), but not nearly as impressive as the 24% record rise in both 2009 and 2010. Also, in the same 1,135 U.S. half-marathons for 2012 vs. 2013, there was a 1.6% finisher increase (1,528,938 vs. 1,552,696). By comparison, 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).

There were several factors why there was a single digit percent increase in U.S. half-marathon finishers. First, in 2013, like some U.S. marathons, several half-marathons were also impacted by weather cancellations including larger ones such as MetroPCS Dallas and St. Jude Memphis, both the same weekend in December. Second, the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series reported fewer finishers than the previous year. Third, there were only two inaugural half-marathons with more than 5,000 finishers compared to a record six in 2012 including two with more than 10,000 finishers. Collectively the aforementioned reduced the 2013 U.S. half-marathon count by an estimated 60,000 finishers.

Half-marathon fun facts snapshot:

  • Since 2000, the number of half-marathon finishers in this country has quadrupled (482,000 to 1,960,000) or an impressive increase of 307%.
  • For the first time in history, 61% of U.S. half-marathon finishers were females (approximately 1,196,000, a record), the highest proportion of any race distance.
  • Although their percent fell to 39%, there was also a record 764,000 male finishers last year.
  • Also, in 2013, there were 34 U.S. half-marathons with 10,000 or more finishers (second highest total ever). This data point has doubled since 2009 when there were 17 with 10,000-plus finishers, and in 2000, there was only one.
  • For the year, there were a total of 42 half-marathons that make up the Top 100 U.S. timed road race list with 15 of them from the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series.
  • The Nike Women's event in Washington, DC last April was the largest inaugural annual half-marathon ever with 14,478 finishers.
  • Since 2010, 13.1 miles has been the second most popular distance by finishers behind the 5K.
  • According to Running USA's 2013 National Runner Survey, the half-marathon distance is the favorite race distance by core runners nationwide (preferred 38% by men and 43% by women).
  • Last year, there were more than 2,100 active U.S. half-marathons (final road race numbers to be released in an upcoming State of the Sport Report).
  • Per our count, October hosted the most U.S. half-marathons (288), while January had the least (83) in 2013.
  • October 2013 also produced the most 13.1 mile finishers with more than 312,000 and July the least finishers with just under 53,000.

The following tables and lists display the demographics and astounding growth of the half-marathon over recent years.

TABLE 1

Gender and Age Group Breakdown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Women   

53%

55%

56%

57%

59%

59%

60%

61%

Men

47%

45%

44%

43%

41%

41%

40%

39%

Masters (40 yrs+) 

41%

 

 

39%

36%

40%

41%

41%

Open (20 to 39 yrs)

56%

 

 

58%

61%

56%

55%

55%

Juniors (under 20) 

3%

 

 

3%

3%

4%

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

       

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Males  

39.5

39.3

39.2

38.9

38.7

38.2

38.5

38.6

Females

35.9

36.3

36.1

35.8

35.7

35.3

35.6

35.6

Median Times for U.S. Half-Marathon Finishers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Males   

1:58:07

1:59:55

2:00:33

2:00:21

2:00:30

2:01:04

2:01:28

2:01:37

Females

2:16:33

2:19:12

2:19:02

2:19:47

2:19:12

2:19:33

2:19:47

2:19:48

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  
Annual Reports

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