(March 19, 2019) – The number of runners registering for organized races in the U.S. was down slightly in 2018, continuing a five-year gradual drawback of mass participation in recreational road racing. The industry peaked in 2013, when 19 million runners crossed the finish line at U.S. running events over all distances.
The number of people registering for U.S. road races in 2018 compared to the previous year declined 1 percent from 2017 to 18.1 million, according to data compiled by Running USA with the help of a consortium of The ACTIVE Network, imATHLETE, Race Roster, RunSignUp, Race Entry, Run Reg and many individual events.
This was the second year that Running USA has analyzed race entries vs. race finishers, and allows for a year-over-year comparison of the registration data for the first time.
The majority of runners of U.S. road races in 2018 continued to be women, who typically make up 60 percent of a road race field.
The most popular distance is still the 5K, which racked up 8.9 million registrations in 2018.
Collecting road race data was used for Running USA summary reports beginning in 2018 with the 2017 racing year. This data presents a broad picture of the health of the sport by sharing registration totals rather than participants who crossed a finish line. Thanks to the help of registration companies (ACTIVE Network, imATHLETE, Race Roster, RunSignUp, Race Entry, Run Reg) who contributed data, as well as major race producers, and individual races, which allowed Running USA to create a customized process to collect information and summarize recent data trends.
Research pricing: Foundation and Contributing Level memberships receive the report free of charge, Standard Level Event/Vendors receive a 50 percent discount. Be sure to log into your membership account to see discounted pricing.