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Running the Numbers

Those who want to be able to add a few extra statistics to go along with a track bid proposal or a promotional package for a running track company might be interested in the release of Running USA’s 2011 National Runner Survey.

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.

Some of the more interesting factoids: 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).

Something new on the survey is the surge in popularity of marathons. 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.


© 2011 American Sports Builders Association 

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2011 National Running Survey