Revamped survey took the pulse of runners across North America on virtual events, post-COVID running, DEI and more


(January 19, 2021) – There was no question of the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the running industry. But the good news is that most runners are looking forward to racing in person again this year.

That’s just one top takeaway from the 2020 Global Runner Survey. Results for North America were released today by Running USA.

Event professionals won’t be surprised to learn that 78 percent of respondents reported participating in fewer events last year due to the pandemic, and 94 percent were unable to participate in events they had planned due to cancellations.

Better news is that looking forward, 66 percent of runners plan to be back out racing as soon as an event is available in their area or within traveling distance. An additional 20 percent wanted a vaccine to be available before they raced again. (Survey responses were collected November-mid December 2020.)

“We’re thrilled to bring this exceptionally relevant and current data to our membership and the larger endurance community as plans are made for 2021,” said Dawna Stone, CEO of Running USA. “The results confirm the dedication of the core running participant base to the sport we all love, and that’s great news.”

Additional key takeaways include:

61 percent of runners expect to participate in more events in 2021 than they were able to in 2020.

73 percent of runners participated in a virtual event in 2020 as an alternative to in-person racing, but 50 percent say they prefer to race in person.

87 percent believe that COVID-related cancellations will continue to hamper their running schedule in 2021.

Additional areas of focus for the 2020 survey included runner perspectives on diversity, equity, and inclusion; running brand preferences; reasons for choosing an event and much more. Download the survey today to see all the top line takeaways.

Upcoming Results Webinar

On Tuesday, Jan. 26, Running USA will host a webinar featuring insights from survey analyst Ashlyn Modlin. The webinar is free and open to all.  You can sign up to attend here.

In addition to assessing the survey data to determine key takeaways, Modlin has prepared extensive actionable suggestions that will be beneficial for event producers.

How to Download

Running USA members can download the results of the survey below. Be sure to log into your account first to reflect the complimentary download.

For non-members, cost of the survey result report is $279.