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Running USA Releases Annual Half-Marathon Report

1 Apr, 2013


Half-marathon, the country's most popular distance, again delivers record numbers; Göteborg keeps largest 13.1 mile crown

Over the past decade, the half-marathon has become America's most popular distance by virtually any metric: by finisher growth, by debut half-marathons, by "buzz" and by survey, and the following numbers and tables compiled by Running USA for its annual report further reinforce the 13.1 mile's impact and influence. In short, it is the Usain Bolt of the U.S. road race world.

Last year, U.S. half-marathons had an estimated 1.85 million finishers (a new high), an impressive 14.9% increase from 2011 (1,610,000 to 1,850,000), but lower than the historic 24% rise in both 2009 and 2010. Also, in the same 1,136 U.S. half-marathons for 2011 vs. 2012, there was a 5.1% finisher increase (1,522,637 vs. 1,599,838).

More half-marathon fun facts reflecting its dynamic growth:

  • Since 2003, the half-marathon has been the fastest growing road race distance in the United States, and for seven consecutive years (2006-12), the number of 13.1 mile finishers has grown by 10% or more each year. No other U.S. road distance comes close to this growth rate during the Second Running Boom (circa 1994).

  • Since 2000, the number of half-marathon finishers in this country has nearly quadrupled (482,000 to 1,850,000), an impressive increase of 284%.

  • For the first time in history, 60% of U.S. half-marathon finishers were females (approximately 1,110,000, a record).

  • Although the male U.S. half-marathon percent has declined to 40%, in absolute terms, last year, there were a record 740,000 male finishers in U.S. 13.1 mile races.

  • Also, in 2012, there were a record number of 36 U.S. half-marathons with 10,000 or more finishers. This data point has more than doubled since 2009 when there were 17 with 10,000-plus finishers; in 2000, there was only one.

  • For the year, there were a total of 43 half-marathons that make up the Top 100 U.S. timed road race list for 2012 with 16 of them from the nationwide Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series.

  • Like the past 6 years, there were more than 30 inaugural half-marathons in the U.S. last year and the largest debut half was Rock 'n' Roll Portland (OR) with 11,038 finishers. Overall, there were five debut half-marathons with more than 5,000 finishers (also, Tinkerbell, Rock 'n' Roll St. Pete, Hollywood and Rock 'n' Roll Pasadena), a record (previous record was four in 2010).

  • Last year, there were more than 1,500 active U.S. half-marathons (final road race numbers to be released in an upcoming State of the Sport Report).

According to Running USA's 2013 National Runner Survey, the half-marathon is also the favorite distance to run for both genders (38% men and 43% women) and overwhelmingly, the road race distance that runners (77% overall) are most interested in entering this year (2013), so the half-marathon should maintain its title as the most popular distance in America.

The following tables and lists illustrate the demographics, depth, breadth and incredible growth of the half-marathon:

TABLE 1

Gender and Age Group Breakdown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Women

53%

53%

55%

56%

57%

59%

59%

60%

Men

47%

47%

45%

44%

43%

41%

41%

40%

Masters (40 yrs+)

42%

41%

 

 

39%

36%

40%

41%

Open (20 to 39 yrs)

55%

56%

 

 

58%

61%

56%

55%

Juniors (under 20)

3%

3%

 

 

3%

3%

4%

4%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Female

Male

 

 

 

 

 

 

6-17 yrs

1%

2%

 

 

 

 

 

 

18-24 yrs

11%

7%

 

 

 

 

 

 

25-34 yrs

35%

28%

 

 

 

 

 

 

35-44 yrs

31%

31%

 

 

 

 

 

 

45-54 yrs

16%

21%

 

 

 

 

 

 

55-64 yrs

5%

9%

 

 

 

 

 

 

65+ yrs

1%

2%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Average Age

 

 

 

 

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Males

39.2

39.5

39.3

39.2

38.9

38.7

38.2

38.5

Females

36

35.9

36.3

36.1

35.8

35.7

35.3

35.6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Median Times for U.S. Half-Marathon Finishers

 

 

 

 

 

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Males

1:58:35

1:58:07

1:59:55

2:00:33

2:00:21

2:00:30

2:01:04

2:01:28

Females

2:17:09

2:16:33

2:19:12

2:19:02

2:19:47

2:19:12

2:19:33

2:19:47

 

Year

Estimated U.S. Half-Marathon Finisher Total

1990

303,000

 

1995

420,000

 

2000

482,000

 

2004

612,000

 

2005

658,000

 

2006

724,000

 

2007

796,000

 

2008

900,000

 

2009

1,113,000

 

2010

1,385,000

 

2011

1,610,000

 

2012

1,850,000

(record)

TABLE 2

2012 U.S. Half-Marathons (>2,000 finishers) with the…

 

 

… Fastest Median Times

 

 

 

 

 

2009

2010

2011

2012

New Bedford

 

1:52:29

1:52:13

1:54:34

NYRR: Staten Island

1:56:47

 

 

1:57:27

Lake Minnetonka

 

 

 

1:59:08

NYC

 

 

 

1:59:15

NYRR: Brooklyn

 

 

1:58:42

1:59:16

… Slowest Median Times

 

 

 

 

 

2009

2010

2011

2012

Tinkerbell

 

 

 

2:48:51

Disney Princess

2:37:04

2:38:49

2:46:00

2:44:49

Disneyland

2:32:53

 

2:38:48

2:40:19

Nike Women’s

2:41:04

2:40:20

2:41:26

2:40:05

Divas San Francisco Bay

 

 

 

2:39:48

… Most <2 Hour Finishers

 

 

 

 

 

2009

2010

2011

2012

NYC

 

5,998 (52%)

5,038 (49%)

7,911 (51%)

NYRR: Brooklyn

4,849 (50%)

 

 

7,306 (52%)

OneAmerica 500 Festival

8,476 (28%)

8,816 (28%)

7,966 (26%)

5,749 (18%)

Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia

5,899 (48%)

 

6,416 (39%)

5,556 (37%)

Rock ‘n’ Roll USA

 

 

 

4,634 (28%)

… Most >3 Hour Finishers

 

 

 

 

 

2009

2010

2011

2012

OneAmerica 500 Festival

6,669 (22%)

7,091 (23%)

6,931 (23%)

8,197 (26%)

Nike Women’s

 

4,889 (32%)

5,156 (32%)

6,190 (31%)

Disney Princess

 

 

4,866 (35%)

5,716 (34%)

Walt Disney World

 

4,637 (27%)

5,616 (26%)

5,710 (25%)

St. Jude Country Music

5,299 (23%)

4,334 (18%)

 

4,787 (21%)

 

… Highest Percent Women*

2009

2010

2011

2012

More/Fitness Magazine

99%

99%

100%

100%

Chicago Women’s

 

 

 

100%

Girlfriend’s

 

 

 

100%

Divas at Long Island

99%

99%

100%

100%

Divas San Francisco Bay

 

 

 

100%

 

 

 

 

 

… Highest Percent Men*

 

 

 

 

 

2009

2010

2011

2012

Dexter Ann Arbor

57%

 

 

57%

Newport Liberty

 

 

55%

57%

NYRR: Staten Island

59%

58%

56%

56%

Kaiser Permanente Southern California

 

 

55%

New Bedford

 

57%

58%

55%

 

 

 

 

 

… Highest Percent Masters (40+ yrs)*

 

 

 

 

2009

2010

2011

2012

First Watch Sarasota

 

 

54%

59%

Publix Fort Lauderdale A1A

53%

54%

55%

57%

Girlfriend’s

 

 

 

57%

National Breast Cancer - 26.2 with Donna

55%

55%

56%

54%

Brooksie Way

54%

55%

 

54%

*Based upon events with >1,000 finishers in each representative category and >2,000 total race finishers.

 

...Most Finishers in Certain Age Groups

Event

2012

Female Juniors

Nike Women’s

3,422

Male Juniors

Pomona Holiday

1,636

Females 20-29

Disney Princess

4,637

Males 20-29

OneAmerica 500 Festival

1,668

Females 30-39

OneAmerica 500 Festival

5,400

Males 30-39

OneAmerica 500 Festival

4,142

Females 40-49

Nike Women’s

3,837

Males 40-49

OneAmerica 500 Festival

3,699

Females 50-59

OneAmerica 500 Festival

2,049

Males 50-59

OneAmerica 500 Festival

2,433

Females 60+

OneAmerica 500 Festival

596

Males 60+

OneAmerica 500 Festival

1,012

 

 

 

Overall 40+

OneAmerica 500 Festival

13,465

Overall 50+

OneAmerica 500 Festival

6,090

Overall 60+

OneAmerica 500 Festival

1,608

Göteborg largest annual half-marathon ever; record 9 half-marathons with >20,000 finishers
In 2012, Göteborg not only kept its #1 ranking as the world's largest half-marathon, but with 44,094 finishers, it was the largest annual half-marathon ever, and for the first time, there were two halves with more than 40,000 finishers in the same year (also, Bupa Great North Run with 40,066).

In addition, in 2012, there were a record 9 half-marathons worldwide with more than 20,000 finishers (previous record, 8 in 2011), and for the first time, just to be in the top 30 world list, a half-marathon had to have more than 12,000 finishers.

Unlike the largest marathon rankings last year, the U.S. dominates the largest half-marathon world lists with 6 of the top 10, 16 of the top 20 and 19 of the top 30. Just to make the U.S. top 30, a half-marathon needed more than 11,000 finishers (another record).

With 31,170 finishers, One America 500 Festival reclaimed its #1 U.S. ranking after being supplanted by Zappos.com Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas last year. One America 500 Festival has been the largest U.S. half-marathon for 22 of the past 23 years.

2012 World’s Largest Half-Marathons (finishers)

 

 

1)

Göteborg, SWE

44,094

(largest annual half-marathon ever)

2)

Bupa Great North Run, GBR

40,066

 

3)

OneAmerica 500 Festival, IN

31,170

 

4)

Paris, FRA

24,990

 

5)

Vattenfall Berliner, GER

23,055

 

6)

Walt Disney World, FL

22,443

 

7)

St. Jude Country Music Nashville, TN

22,330

 

8)

Zappos.com Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas, NV

22,123

 

9)

Nike Women’s, CA

20,097

 

10)

Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego, CA

17,604

 

11)

Disney’s Princess, FL

16,910

 

12)

Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio, TX

16,516

 

13)

Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Nation’s Capital, DC

16,329

 

14)

ING Miami, FL

16,096

 

15)

P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll, AZ

15,700

 

16)

NYC, NY

15,344

 

17)

Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia, PA

15,154

 

18)

XSport Fitness Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago, IN

14,990

 

19)

Disneyland, CA

14,831

 

20)

Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle, WA

14,247

 

21)

NYRR Brooklyn, NY

14,197

 

22)

Surf City USA, CA

14,140

 

23)

Villa de Madrid, ESP

13,733

 

24)

Lloyds TSB Cardiff, GBR

13,674

 

25)

Reading, GBR

13,104

 

26)

Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans, LA

13,093

 

27)

Bupa Great Birmingham, GBR

12,843

 

28)

TCS Amsterdam, NED

12,727

 

29)

Old Mutual Two Oceans, RSA

12,517

 

30)

Stockholm, SWE

12,208

 

U.S. Largest Half-Marathons (finishers)

 

 

1)

One America 500 Festival, IN

31,170

 

2)

Walt Disney World, FL

22,443

 

3)

St. Jude Country Music Nashville, TN

22,330

 

4)

Zappos.com Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas, NV

22,123

 

5)

Nike Women’s, CA

20,097

 

6)

Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego, CA

17,604

 

7)

Disney’s Princess, FL

16,910

 

8)

Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio, TX

16,516

 

9)

Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Nation’s Capital, DC

16,329

 

10)

ING Miami, FL

16,096

 

11)

P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll, AZ

15,700

 

12)

NYC, NY

15,344

 

13)

Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia, PA

15,154

 

14)

XSport Fitness Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago, IL

14,990

 

15)

Disneyland, CA

14,831

 

16)

Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle, WA

14,247

 

17)

NYRR Brooklyn, NY

14,197

 

18)

Surf City USA, CA

14,140

 

19)

Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans, LA

13,093

 

20)

UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh, PA

12,141

 

21)

Chicago, IL

12,108

 

22)

Kentucky Derby Festival, KY

12,091

 

23)

Cincinnati Flying Pig, OH

11,775

 

24)

Disney Wine & Dine, FL

11,617

 

25)

Wipro San Francisco, CA

11,559

 

26)

Rock ‘n’ Roll Dallas, TX

11,340

 

27)

Long Beach International City Bank, CA

11,241

 

28)

Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah, GA

11,166

 

29)

Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach, VA

11,046

 

30)

Rock ‘n’ Roll Portland, OR (inaugural)

11,038

 

SOURCE: Running USA with Athlinks (2009-12) and Active.com (2005-08); Contact: Ryan Lamppa, (805) 966-7747, (805) 966-7747 or ryan@runningusa.org

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