Every year, Running USA gathers and analyzes data from running races around the country and compiles those statistics into its annual State of the Sport report. Here are the highlights from the 2014 race year.
Running in America
When looking at the numbers in this report, it's easy to tell that running in the United States has become incredibly popular. In 2014, the number of races at any distance totaled 28,000, with more than 18.7 million crossing the finish line. That's a lot of shoes taking even more steps.
The Most Popular Distances
With 15,100 5K races that took place in 2014, the distance was the most popular option for runners. The short distance made up 54 percent of road races in the U.S., and runners sure took advantage of the many 3.1-mile opportunities, with 8.3 million 5K finishers.
The half marathon, however, was the fastest growing distance with a 4 percent increase in races from the previous year and 2.4 million runners receiving their finishers' medals.
So, who exactly are these people crossing the finish lines of American road races? According to the 2015 report, running is more popular among women, but not by much. Nearly 10.7 million women participated in at least one 2014 running race in the U.S., as compared to 8.06 million men.
As far as age goes, millennials and Generation Xers love to run. Both age groups (25-34 and 35-44 years, respectively) make up approximately 26 percent of overall finishers. With the exception of the 6-17 age group, female runners outnumber males until age 45, whereafter a larger number of men cross the finish line in all older age groups.
The average age of U.S. runners in 2014 was approximately the same among men and women, at 34.5 and 35.8, respectively. The half marathon distance brought out the youngest runners with an average age of 36 for women and 39.1 for men. The 5K and 10K distances saw the oldest runners with an average age of 36.6 for women and 39.4 for men.
The half marathon distance saw the largest percentage of women finishers (61 percent), while the marathon distance brought out the most men at 57 percent of finishers.
And now for the part of the report where we each feel really well or really terribly about our personal race pace. Check out the median finisher times for each of the following distances:
- 5K: Women: 33:45; Men: 29:47
- 10K: Women: 1:06:22; Men: 57:03
- Half Marathon: Women: 2:21:22; Men: 2:02:55
- Marathon: Women: 4:44:18; Men: 4:19:27
Find your next race.