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A FEW HIGHLIGHTS:

  • College-educated: Today’s core runners are highly educated with 79% having earned a college diploma, compared with only 27% of the United States population (ACS, 2006-08).

  • Affluent: These runners are affluent with 73% of those surveyed reporting a Household Income of more than $75,000, well above the U.S. median household income of $52,175 (ACS, 2006-08).

  • Active Participants: Core runners are active participants who train year round, reporting running/jogging an average of 224 days and logging 1,357 miles per year, a significant difference compared with the typical fitness runner/jogger who runs approximately 85 days per year (SGMA, 2009).

  • Running Shoes: The average respondent purchased 3.2 pairs of running shoes in the last year contributing to the 2.31 billion in jogging/running footwear sales reported by the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA).

  • Race Distance: The favorite race distance continues to be the half-marathon reflecting why the half-marathon has been the fastest growing distance in the U.S. since 2003 and why for four consecutive years (2006-09) the 13.1 mile distance has grown by 10% or more in this country, according to Running USA.

The National Runner Survey is distributed electronically to event participants, club members, specialty shoe store visitors, members of USA Track & Field, subscribers to running publications, and those who frequent the online running community. Running USA worked closely with more than 35 organizations to help distribute the online survey to various constituency groups between the months of August through December of 2009. A total of 11,264 runners nationwide (53% female, 47% male) responded to the survey with an 86% rate of completion. Select results from the 2009 study are presented below.

The following female and male runner snapshots represent “core runners”, that is, active adult participants who tend to enter running events, train year-round, and purchase 2-4 running shoes each year.

Typical U.S. Female Runner
Typical U.S. Male Runner
Demographics
  • Average Age: 38.6
  • 61.9% Married
  • 78.7% College educated
  • 69.0% Earn a household income of $75,000+
  • Average Age: 44.8
  • 73.5% Married
  • 78.8% College educated
  • 76.4% Earn a household income of $75,000+
Running History
  • Average number of years running: 11 years
  • verage number of running events participated in during the last 12 months: 7 events
  • 53.9% have completed 1 marathon or more in their lifetime
  • Average number of years running: 16 years
  • Average number of running events participated in during the last 12 months: 9 events
  • 67.9% have completed 1 marathon or more in their lifetime
Running Routine
  • 74.7% Run/Jog 4+ hours each week
  • 80.1% run 12 months a year
  • Average number of days run per week: 4.1
  • Average number of miles run per week: 23
  • 64.8% describe themselves as Frequent/Fitness Runners
  • 79.2% Run/Jog 4+ hours each week 8
  • 2.5% run 12 months a year
  • Average number of days run per week: 4.5
  • Average number of miles run per week: 29.5
  • 55.8% describe themselves as Frequent/Fitness Runners’ and 32.7% as "Serious Competitive Runners’
Running Preferences
  • Favorite race distance is the Half-Marathon (38.1%)
  • Interested in entering next year: Half-Marathon (76.6%), 10K (57.9%), 5K (56.6%), Marathon (48.0%)
  • Favorite race distance is the Half-Marathon (31.7%)
  • Interested in entering next year: Half-Marathon (69.7%), 5K (58.5%), 10K (58.0%), Marathon (56.9%)
Motivation
  • Primary motivation to start running: For Exercise (25.3%), Weight Concerns (13.8%)
  • Motivation to continue to run: Staying in Shape (75.5%), Staying Healthy (74.8%), Relieving Stress (62.4%)
  • Primary motivation to start running: For Exercise (22.0%), Competed in School and Never Stopped (15.2%)
  • Motivation to continue to run: Staying in Shape (75.2%), Staying Healthy (70.8%), Having Fun (58.9%)
Product Preferences
  • Average number of running shoes purchased in last 12 months: 3.0 pairs
  • Last running shoes purchased: ASICS (29.9%), Brooks (14.9%), Nike (13.6%)
  • 64.4% spent $90+ on their running shoes and 50.1% purchased their running shoes at a specialty running store
  • Favorite brands of running apparel: Nike (64.3%), Under Armour (42.2%), Champion (36.9%)
  • 80.2% spent $100+ on running apparel in the last 12 months and 61.5% purchased running apparel at a specialty running store
  • Average number of running shoes purchased in last 12 months: 3.4 pairs
  • Last running shoes purchased: ASICS (29.1%), Nike (15.9%), Brooks (14.1%)
  • 56.4% spent $90+ on their running shoes and 42.9% purchased their running shoes at a specialty running store
  • Favorite brands of running apparel: Nike (56.1%), ASICS (33.8%), Under Armour (32.0%)
  • 76.2% spent $100+ on running apparel in the last 12 months and 66.6% purchased running apparel at a specialty running store
Health
  • Average Weight: 136.2
  • Average Body Mass Index (BMI): 22.6
  • 43.0% are content with their weight
  • 44.7% are content with their fitness level
  • Average Weight: 171.2
  • Average Body Mass Index (BMI): 24.2
  • 47.7% are content with their weight
  • 45.9% are content with their fitness level

The following tables offer a snapshot of some of the findings and reflect the top factors that determine event participation, favorite race distances, and the most common self-reported running-related injuries as reported in the 2009 National Runner Survey.

Table 1: Factors that Determine Event Participation
  • Date the event is held 69.2%
  • Location is convenient 69.1%
  • It’s a distance I prefer 61.9%
  • It sounds fun 50.2%
  • I have time to train 40.1%
  • Scenic course 38.1%
  • My friends are doing it 36.1%
  • Reputation of event or organizers 32.8%
  • Health/Injury 31.9%
  • Chip Timed 24.4%

Note: response % is >100% for a “check all that apply” question.

Table 2: Favorite Race Distance
  • Half-Marathon 34.9%
  • 5K 18.8%
  • 10K 15.0%
  • Marathon 14.9%
  • 12K or 15K or 10 mile 5.5%
  • 4 mile or 8K or 5 mile 4.1%
  • Ultra-Marathon 2.1%
  • 1 mile, 2 mile, or 3 mile 1.6%
  • Other 3.1%
Table 3: Self-Reported Running-Related Injuries in Last 12 Months
  • Blisters 30.9%
  • Knees 22.7%
  • Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITB) 15.6%
  • Plantar Fasciitis 14.0%
  • Shin Splints 12.7%
  • Hamstring 12.3%
  • Foot 12.0%
  • Hips 11.9%
  • Low Back 10.4%

Note: response % is >100% for a “check all that apply” question.

 

*Only select results are presented in the tables above. A complete list of responses is available in the 2009 National Runner Survey Report available through Running USA.

Sources for Part I:
ACS = American Community Survey (2006 – 08). An annual nationwide survey distributed by the United States Census Bureau that collects updated and relevant data to provide communities a fresh look at how they are changing between the decennial census. Numbers reported reflect a three-year estimate between the years of 2006 and 2008. The ACS collects information such as age, race, income, commute time to work, home value, veteran status, and other important data. For more information, visit: http://factfinder.census.gov

National Runner Survey = The 2009 National Runner Survey is a product of Running USA. Approximately 11,264 runners nationwide completed the online survey distributed by running events, clubs, specialty shoe stores, USA Track & Field, and running publications. Variables measured include: demographics, sports participation, running history and routine, shoes, events, community resources, apparel, sponsorship, health/diet, technology, sports/fitness products, food/drink, and travel. Results include data segmentation for gender, runner type, and distance.

NSGA = National Sporting Goods Association. “National Sporting Goods Market in 2009” and the Sporting Goods Market with Historical Data CD, based on retail sales in the U.S. projected from consumer interviews. For more information, visit: www.nsga.org

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - (April 11, 2010) - The 2009 National Runner Survey is a comprehensive survey conducted every two years by Running USA. Initially launched in 2007, the National Runner Survey assesses the demographics, lifestyle, attitudes, habits, and product preferences of the running population nationwide. Results from the National Runner Survey reflect “core runners”, that is, active adult participants who tend to enter running events and train year-round.