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Survey has Good News for Track Industry

Anyone who was worried the track industry was suffering can take heart -- Running USA's 2011 National Runner Survey says the sport of running is alive and well.

The survey is a comprehensive look at the demographics, lifestyle, habits and product preferences of the running population nationwide. It took into account the data provided by more than 11,000 respondents; these people represent what are known as ‘core runners:’ active adult participants who tend to enter running events and train year-round.

Running/jogging continues to show strong and consistent growth annually as running total participation was up almost 13% overall in the last year and has increased by 57% in the last 10 years, according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturer’s Association. SGMA also projects running / jogging as a sport with some of the greatest growth potential from 2010 to 2015, ranking #12 on the list with a 31% growth rate.

Some interesting facts from the National Runner Survey: Today’s core runners are highly educated with 77.2% having earned a college diploma (national percent: 29.5%) and affluent with 72.9% reporting a household income of more than $75,000 (national average: 32.4%). Surveyed runners are motivated to run in order to stay in shape (80.7%), stay healthy (77.4%), have fun (66.1%) and relieve stress (64.3%). Core runners train year-round and report running/jogging an average of 213 days and logging nearly 1,269 miles per year. (Compare that to figures from Club Industry Magazine and American Sports Data, which notes the average home-gym user exercises 70 days during the year).

One trend that is interesting to follow? Marathon mania. U.S. marathons in 2010 recorded an all-time high of 507,000 finishers, which is an 8.6% increase over 2009, and the second-largest increase in the past 25 years. (In 2009, participation in marathons surged by 9.9%).

Running USA attributed the explosion in marathon popularity to a variety of factors: availability of training programs (both charity and non-charity driven), the challenge of running 26.2 miles, more women running marathons, and the fact that marathons are fun, well-organized community events. (Oh, and bucket list appeal.)

Those who want copies of the full survey can order it electronically or in hard copy. Cost varies depending upon format ordered and whether the person ordering is a member of Running USA. Information:

© 2011 American Sports Builders Association 

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