We’re in the midst of a running renaissance and it shows no signs of slowing down. Not just on the North Shore, but across the entire country. Despite the lagging economy, runners are flocking to road races in record numbers.
According to RunningUSA, a survey conducted by the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) found that running total participation (running at least six days per year) was up almost 4% overall in 2012. Another survey from the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) echoed these findings of growth for the general running population as well as serious gains in the adventure racing category.
The NSGA survey also found that 9.2 million respondents were frequent runners (i.e., they ran 110 or more days in 2012), 18.6 million runners were occasional runners (between 25 and 109 days) and 12.2 million were infrequent runners (six to 24 days).
The SFIA survey found that there were 51.5 million total runners (i.e., people who ran or jogged at least once in 2012) and 29.5 million core participants (50 or more days). In addition, there were 5.8 million total trail runners and 1.6 million runners who participated in at least one adventure race, up 34.6 percent from the previous year.
RunningUSA also found that there were more than 15.5 million road race finishers in 2012, a record high. Women comprised 8.6 million finishers nationwide (a record number) and represent the highest percentage ever reported of 56 percent of event fields. The number of U.S. race finishers has increased 80 percent since the year 2000, and female representation increased by 14 percent in that time.
The total number of U.S. running events reached 26,370 last year, another all-time high, according to RunningUSA, with the half-marathon distance seeing an annual increase of 14.9 percent finishers (1.85 million) and 60 percent in female participation. In 2012, the 5K was the most-run distance with 6.2 million finishers, which was nearly 40 percent of all finishers in the U.S., followed by the half-marathon with approximately 12 percent and the 10K with 9.5 percent.
In 2012, RunningUSA’s list of the top 100 timed races accounted for more than 1.5 million finishers compared to 922,500 finishers in 2000, a 73 percent increase. In 2000, the 100th race on the U.S. list had more than 3,600 finishers and by 2012 that number had grown to more than 8,300. Half-marathons made up 43 of the top 100 races, compared to just 17 in 2003; 15 of the half-marathons were from the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race 10K (58,043 finishers), Lilac Bloomsday Run 12K (48,229) in Spokane, Wash. and Dick’s Sporting Goods Boulder (Colo.) 10K (47,925) continue to rank as the top three largest timed road races in the nation. The largest marathons last year were the Bank of America Chicago Marathon (37,475), the Honolulu Marathon (24,069) and the Marine Corps Marathon (23,519). Keep in mind that the ING New York City Marathon, which was the top marathon in 2011 with 47,133, was cancelled last year after Hurricane Sandy left much of New York without power.
It’ll be interesting to see how the numbers shake out next year, but chances are the running resurgence will continue for the foreseeable future.
Starts and stops
A new race making its debut in Beverly this weekend is the Lungstrong 5K on Sunday, Oct. 13 at 11 a.m. at Cherry Hill Corporate Center, 66 Cherry Hill Drive, Beverly. Planned as an annual event, Lungstrong includes both a 5K and a 1-mile fun run. Contact Jill O’Leary (Lungstrong) at 1-978-270-6038 or email@example.com for more information.
Also on Sunday is the Stone Tower Trail Run #VI at 9 a.m. in Lynn Woods, Lynnfield Street Entrance (near Gannon Golf Course). The event benefits the preservation of Lynn Woods. Visit http://danvers5k.com/stonetower or contact William Liam Brady (Stone Tower Events) at 1-978-762-3994 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the Run is a biweekly column about the North Shore running scene. Send any questions, comments, or news to email@example.com.
Wednesday, Oct. 16: Danvers 5K Fun Run, Sweet William’s Garden Center, 141 Pine St., Danvers, 7 p.m. Free, timed run. All welcome. These events are part of a weekly 52-race series. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, Oct. 17: No Rest for the Wicked Weekly 5K-ish, Salem Common, Salem, 6:45 p.m. Free 3.2-mile run. Contact email@example.com.
Saturday, Oct. 19; Landmark School 5K, Ansara Athletic Center: Landmark HS Campus, 447 Hale St., Prides Crossing, 10:30 a.m. Run through Beverly Farms. Includes fun run, prize money and t-shirt. Visit www.landmarkschool.org/5k-road-race or contact: Jeffrey Fauci (Landmark School) at 1-978-236-3367 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, Oct. 20: Ravenswood 4.1-mile Trail Race, Magnolia Woods Soccer Fields, Western Ave., Gloucester, 9 a.m. Contact: Jennifer Brooks (Team Gloucester) at 1-978-290-1859 or email@example.com; 34th annual Topsfield Fall Foliage Classic, The Proctor School, 60 Main St., Topsfield, 1:30 p.m. Five-mile race, 3-mile walk, 1.25-mile fun run. Visit www.rotarytbm.org/fallfol.htm or contact: Lisa M. Foley (Topsfield Boxford Middleton Rotary Club) at 1-978-857-4332 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Witch City 5K Road Race, Salem Willows, One Sewall St., Salem. Contact: Barb Berry (Salem YMCA) or 978-283-0470 x103 or email@example.com.
Wednesday, Oct. 23: Danvers 5K Fun Run, Sweet William’s Garden Center, 141 Pine St., Danvers, 7 p.m. Free, timed run. All welcome. These events are part of a weekly 52-race series. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, Oct. 24: No Rest for the Wicked Weekly 5K-ish, Salem Common, Salem, 6:45 p.m. Free 3.2-mile run. Contact email@example.com.
Visit www.northshoreroadraceguide.com/race-calendar for more race listings.