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

March

Valued Partners :

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