2013 State of the Sport – Part II: Running Industry Report

Running USA
June 26, 2013

General running participation and shoe sales hit record high in 2012; slight decline in charitable fundraising; overall, Running Industry thriving despite sluggish economy


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - (June 26, 2013) - Another year of impressive record growth was recorded by the Running Industry in 2012. Millions of Americans, from young to old, serious to novice, thrill-seeker to the color-inspired, spent billions of dollars for shoes, apparel, gear and event expenses while participating in running events at record levels.

According to the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA), running / jogging continues to show strong and consistent growth annually as running total participation (ran at least 6+ days/yr) was up nearly 4% overall in the last year. The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), formerly the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, survey indicates similar growth for the general running population as well as explosive growth in the category of adventure racing (see Table 1).

Table 1:  U.S. Running Participation Numbers 2012



Total Participants ('11 - '12 +/-)

SFIA Total Runners

Run/Jog at least once

51,450,000 (+2.8%)

SFIA Core Participants

Run/Jog 50+ days/yr

29,478,000 (+2.9%)




SFIA Total Trail Runners

Run on Trails at least once

5,806,000 (+8.1%)




SFIA Total Adventure Racing

Participated 1+ times

1,618,000 (34.6%)

SFIA Casual Adventure Racing

Participated 1 time

672,000 (99.8%)

SFIA Core Adventure Racing

Participated 2+ times

945,000 (9.2%)




NSGA (1) All Runners

Run/Jog 6+ days/yr

40,031,000 (+3.5%)

NSGA (1) Frequent Runners

Run/Jog 110+ days/yr

  9,227,000 (+0.6%)

NSGA (1) Occasional Runners

Run/Jog 25-109 days/yr

18,569,000 (+3.0%)

NSGA (1) Infrequent Runners

Run/Jog 6-24 days/yr

12,234,000 (+6.5%)

SOURCE: 2013 SFIA Sports & Fitness Participation Topline Report

Running Shoes and Apparel Also Up
The National Sporting Goods Association's (NSGA - 2) "Sporting Goods Market Edition 2013" reports that running/jogging shoe sales totaled $3.04 billion (record high) in 2012, up 23% in total dollars from the previous year ($2.46 billion in 2011). Sales are projected to grow an additional 16% to approximately $3.51 billion in 2013. See Table 2 below for historical sales figures and distribution channels and Table 3 for the average price of jogging / running shoes by distribution channel.

The NSGA (2) also reports that running/jogging apparel purchases totaled $1.04 billion in 2012 compared to $985 million in 2011. Apparel in this category is expected to grow an additional 5% in 2013.

Table 2:  Jogging & Running Footwear Sales in U.S.






Running Shoe Units 

 29.41 million

 37.16 million

 38.02 million

44.62 million

Running Shoe Dollars

 1.47 billion

 2.32 billion

 2.46 billion

3.04 billion






Sales Channels - % of Units





General Sporting Goods





Discount Stores





Specialty Athletic Footwear










Department Stores





Factory Outlet





Specialty Sport Shops





Family Footwear





Mail Order





Pro Shop





SOURCE: NSGA Sporting Goods Market 2013 Edition

Table 3:  Average Price of Jogging / Running Shoes (NSGA - 2)

Mail Order



Specialty Athletic Footwear



Specialty Sport






Sporting Goods



Factory Outlet



Department Store



Family Footwear



Discount Store



SOURCE: NSGA Sporting Goods Market 2013 Edition


Running Shoe Brand Preference - ASICS edges rising Brooks to stay #1
According to Running USA's 2013 National Runner Survey, the top purchased running shoes are ASICS, Brooks, Nike, Saucony, Mizuno and New Balance. While ASICS continues to barely lead the pack, Brooks is positioned to claim the #1 position within a matter of time. In the 2009 survey, ASICS claimed nearly 30% of the core runners in our survey, while Brooks was only at 14%. In 2013, ASICS had fallen to 21.8%, while Brooks had competitively positioned itself at 21.6%.

More than 30,000 core runners were surveyed in 2012 and 68% reported spending $90 plus on running shoes in the past 12 months and purchasing an average of 3 pairs of shoes in the last year.

Sport & Travel
With highly successful destination running events such as Competitor Group's Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series and runDisney events, thousands of runners are enjoying the combination of vacationing and sport. According to Running USA's National Runner Survey, more than 66% of core runners were likely to travel overnight for a running event in the next 12 months. For those who had traveled recently, they reported spending an average of $441 on air transportation, $310 on housing, $139 on food, $116 on ground transportation and $174 on miscellaneous expenditures.

Charitable Fundraising - slight decline in 2012
While the exact number of charity runners in the United States is not available, part of the increase in road race entrants over the past decade has been driven by charitable running. Since 2007, the Run Walk Ride Fundraising Council has been benchmarking statistics on the nation's top fundraising events by revenue. Every year the Council releases the Run Walk Ride Thirty, which is the only report of its kind that ranks the nation's largest event fundraising programs.

Without a doubt, charitable fundraising has had a huge impact on the sport of running - in dollars raised and new runners added to the sport. The Run Walk Ride Fundraising Council recently released its annual study on charitable dollars and the top thirty programs listed raised more than $1.68 billion in 2012 (a 1.3% decrease from 2011, or $22.1 million), with nearly 11.9 million fundraising participants, in 35,000-plus fundraising events (see Table 4).


Table 4:  Run Walk Ride Fundraising Council’s Top 10 Events by Total Revenue





% +/-


Relay for Life (American Cancer Society)

$415.0 mil

$407.5 mil



Race for the Cure (Susan G. Komen for the Cure)

$131.3 mil

$126.8 mil



March for Babies (March of Dimes)

$105.0 mil

$107.0 mil



Heart Walk (American Heart Association)

$99.1 mil

$97.8 mil



Bike MS (National MS Society)

$82.4 mil

$82.3 mil



Walk to Cure Diabetes (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation)

  $85.7 mil

$81.0 mil



Team in Training (Leukemia & Lymphoma Society)

$87.5 mil

$77.4 mil



Making Strides Against Breast Cancer (American Cancer Society)

$61.0 mil

$68.0 mil



Jump Rope for Heart (American Heart Association)

$61.4 mil

$60.6 mil



Susan G. Komen 3-Day (Susan G. Komen for the Cure)

  $84.4 mil

$57.5 mil


SOURCE: 2012 Run Walk Ride Fundraising Survey produced by the Run Walk Ride Fundraising Council


Upcoming Running USA State of the Sport reports will feature gender and age group demographics, event finisher totals by distance and the largest races nationwide for 2012.

National Runner Survey. The National Runner Survey, compiled and produced by Running USA, is a comprehensive study designed to assess the demographics, lifestyle, attitudes, habits and product preferences of the running population nationwide. The 2013 edition included responses of more than 30,000 core runners. To learn more or to order a full report, go to: https://www.runningusa.org/2013-national-runner-survey

NSGA: National Sporting Goods Association. (1) = NSGA Sports Participation in the United States 2013 Edition, (2) = NSGA Sporting Goods Market 2013 Edition, based on retail sales in the U.S. projected from consumer surveys of national households. To obtain information on any of the NSGA products and services, email: info@nsga.org, phone (847) 296-6742 or visit: www.nsga.org

Running USA. Running USA advances the growth and success of the running industry. State of the Sport reports, comprehensive running data and lists of the largest races from past years can be found on RunningUSA.org in the "Statistics" section. For other questions about running trends and demographics, contact ryan@runningusa.org or tracy@runningusa.org

Run Walk Ride Fundraising Council. The Run Walk Ride Fundraising Council is the focal point of research in the burgeoning field of athletic event fundraising. Each year the council publishes the Run Walk Ride Thirty  which is a list of the top 30 programs ranked on revenue and other key metrics. For more information, visit www.runwalkride.com or contact info@runwalkride.com

SFIA: Sports & Fitness Industry Association. 2013 SFIA Sports & Fitness Participation Topline Report, based on participation numbers in the U.S. projected from online interviews of a nationwide sample. To obtain information on any of the SFIA products or services, email: info@sfia.com, phone (301) 495-6321, or go to: www.sfia.org


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