Running USA Annual Report – Road Racing Trends

Road Running reaches new heights with more than 10 million
finishers, 17,000 events in U.S. for 2009; Half-Marathon, Marathon and
5K lead the charge

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – (August 4, 2010) – Road Running continued
its “boom” in 2009 with another record year of participation. Despite
the lingering recession, the sport grew to an estimated 10,290,000
finishers in U.S. road races, a record high. By contrast, according to
Running USA,
there were just over 3.9 million finishers in U.S. road races twenty
years earlier (1989). The 2009 record increase also marks the first time
that finisher totals exceeded 10 million and represents the largest
percentage increase (9%) in U.S. finisher totals annually since 1992.
The 5K, 10K and Half-Marathon accounted for 62.3% of all finishers and
68.7% of all events nationwide in 2009. See Tables 1 and 2 below.

2009 Road Running Snapshot:
In the past decade (2000 – 2009) U.S. road running finishers have grown
from 7,502,000 to 10,290,000, a 37% increase. In 2009 finisher totals
exceeded the 10 million mark for the first time.

2009 is the 2nd highest percent increase in overall finisher totals
(9%). Growth such as this hasn’t been seen since the early stages of the
Second Running Boom: 1992 (9.2%) and 1993 (7.9%), and based on
preliminary totals, 2010 should also show above average growth.

* Females now account for over 5.4 million finishers nationwide and represent 53% of race fields compared to only 23% in 1989.
* Total U.S. running events exceeded 17,000, an all-time record high.
A record annual increase in total finishers for the Half-Marathon (24%)
and an astounding 10% increase in the Marathon, which is the largest
percent increase for the distance in the last 25 years.

The 5K and 10K – the #1 and #2 most popular racing distances – also
experienced higher annual increases than seen in previous years and
exhibited growth patterns similar to trends seen in the early 1990s. In
addition, the 5K surpassed the 4 million finisher total for the first
time in 2009.

* A trend toward a
slightly younger race field – based on average age – suggests that road
racing will continue to grow as more Baby Boomers’ children, the
so-called Echo Babies, enter the sport as young adults in the coming

For the rest of Running USA’s State of the Sport 2010 – Part III, CLICK here

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