Overall, participation in road races has remained stable

It’s no secret that runners are very numbers-oriented. You know—minutes per mile, 5K splits, running a 2:59 marathon versus a 3:00 marathon. So here are a few numbers of our sport.

A company called Race Trends did some numbers crunching for 2018 and compiled their Race Trends Annual Statistical report. Overall, running participation was “flat,” and that’s not a bad thing. It indicates that although our sport may not be on the upward arc of a boom, nonetheless, we have achieved a stability. When Race Trends compared races that used RunSignup for both 2017 and 2018, they found that those races had 0.1 percent fewer participants.

Using RunSignup’s registration data (remember, this does not show all nation-wide data, only data from RunSignup), it was found

  • In 2017 there were 25,310 overall races; in 2018 there were 26,356
  • In 2017 there were 4,336,935 overal participants; in 2018 there were 4,331,563
  • The cost of running races is climbing upwards. Registration fees in every distance from the 5K to the marathon went up. Since 2015, the average price of a 5K has climbed from gone to $25.68 to $26.48 (Does anyone remember the days of $3.00-$5.00 entry fees)?
  • The average price of a marathon went from $87.49 to $94.11
  • Ultramarathons bucked the trend with the cost dropping down to $107.70 in 2018 from $112.38 in 2017.
  • Note: cost is definitely getting out of hand. In a completely different 2017 survey, “Running USA found that 20 percent of runners expected to decrease their race participation. Half of the runners in the survey said they thought that races were too expensive, and that cost was a top 10 factor in deciding whether or not to register for a race. The survey also indicated that six in 10 runners would participate in more races if fees were low.”
  • The report indicated that while spring and fall continue to have the most races, more events are being added in summer and winter. This is likely due to market saturation.
  • Putting on a race is a business and must be done in a cost -effective manner: six percent of races with over 500 participants didn’t come back for 2018.

Upcoming Races: Saturday, February 23 at 9:00 a.m., Get Your Rear in Gear 5K at Camp Mabry, Austin. Saturday, February 23 at 8:30 a.m., Dash 4 Victory 5K at The Master’s School, 1664 Center Point Road in San Marcos.