Running USA Annual Half Marathon Report Shows Continued Growth of the 13.1-mile Distance

March 21, 2012

Courtesy Running USA Wire 25-03-12 –

Running USA’s third annual Half-Marathon Report shows that the 13.1 mile distance had another year of impressive growth, but like U.S. marathons in 2011, the growth rate wasn’t as large as recent years. Last year, U.S. half-marathons had an estimated 1.6 million finishers (a new high), an impressive 16.2% increase from 2010 (1,385,000 to 1,610,000), but lower than the historic 24% rise in both 2009 and 2010. Also, in the same 870 U.S. half-marathons for 2010 vs. 2011, there was a 6.4% finisher increase (1,264,907 vs. 1,346,280).

The half-marathon is the juggernaut distance in the sport as evidenced by its recent growth trend, and according to Running USA’s 2011 National Runner Survey, the half-marathon is also the favorite distance to run for both genders (35% men and 39% women) and overwhelmingly, the road race distance – by both genders again (70% men and 77% women) – that runners are most interested in entering this year (2012) so the half-marathon should maintain its title as the most popular distance in America.

More half-marathon fun facts:

– Since 2003, the half-marathon has been the fastest growing road race distance in the United States, and for six consecutive years (2006–11), 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 more than tripled (482,000 to 1,610,000), an increase of 234%.
– 59% of half-marathon finishers were females (approximately 950,000, a record).
– In 2011, there were a record number of 30 U.S. half-marathons with 10,000 or more finishers. This has nearly doubled since 2009 when there were 17 with 10,000-plus finishers; in 2000, there was only one.
– There were a total of 43 half-marathons that make up the Top 100 U.S. timed road race list for 2011 with 16 of them from the nationwide Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series.
– Like the past 5 years, there were more than 30 inaugural half-marathons in the U.S. last year, and 2011 produced the largest debut annual half-marathon ever, Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah, with 14,163 finishers (previous record, 13,835, P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona 2004).

Göteborg recaptures #1 spot; record 8 half-marathons with >20,000 finishers
In 2011, Göteborg regained the #1 ranking as the world’s largest half-marathon with 42,904 finishers vs. 2010’s top half the Bupa Great North Run who slipped to #2 with 37,512 finishers. Over the past decade, the Great North Run has held the #1 position 8 out of 10 years. Göteborg 2011 also became the largest annual half-marathon ever (previous record, 40,523, Göteborg 2009).

For the first time, there were four half-marathons worldwide that had more than 30,000 finishers (Göteborg, Bupa Great North Run, Zappos.com Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas and OneAmerica 500 Festival), and Zappos.com Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas impressively added more than 14,000 finishers from the previous year, a total that would have placed it in the top 20 half-marathons in the world last year.

In addition, in 2011, there were a record 8 half-marathons with more than 20,000 finishers (previous record, 7 in 2009 and 2010). Last year, the United States had 14 of the top 20 half-marathons in the world, and just to make the U.S. top 30, a half-marathon needed more than 10,000 finishers (another record).
2011
World’s Largest Half-Marathons (finishers):
1)     Göteborg, SWE     42,904 (largest annual half-marathon all-time)
2)     Bupa Great North Run, GBR     37,512
3)     Zappos.com Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas, NV     33,257
4)     OneAmerica 500 Festival, IN     30,659
5)     Paris, FRA     23,673
6)     Country Music, TN     22,015
7)     Walt Disney World, FL     21,991
8)     Vattenfall, GER     20,250
9)     Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio, TX     19,546
10)     P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona, AZ     19,343
11)     Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego, CA     17,194
12)     Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle, WA     17,101
13)     Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia, PA     16,519
14)     Nike Women’s, CA     16,126
15)     Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago, IL     15,320
16)     Standard Chartered Singapore, SIN     14,655
17)     Solutia Rock ‘n’ Roll St. Louis, MO     14,611
18)     Fubon Taipei Int’l, TPE     14,325
19)     Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah, GA (inaugural)     14,163
20)     Disney Princess, FL     13,799

U.S. Largest Half-Marathons (finishers):
1)     Zappos.com Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas, NV     33,257
2)     OneAmerica 500 Festival, IN     30,659
3)     Country Music, TN     22,015
4)     Walt Disney World, FL     21,991
5)     Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio, TX     19,546
6)     P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona, AZ     19,343
7)     Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego, CA     17,194
8)     Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle, WA     17,101
9)     Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia, PA     16,519
10)     Nike Women’s, CA     16,126
11)     Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago, IL     15,320
12)     Solutia Rock ‘n’ Roll St. Louis, MO     14,611
13)     Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah, GA (inaugural)     14,163
14)     Disney Princess, FL     13,799
15)     ING Miami, FL     13,519
16)     Surf City USA, CA     13,301
17)     Disneyland, CA     12,806
18)     National City Cincinnati Flying Pig, OH     12,162
19)     Chicago, IL     11,891
20)     GO! St. Louis, MO     11,547
21)     Kentucky Derby Festival, KY     11,386
22)     Dodge Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach, VA     11,281
23)     Rock ‘n’ Roll Dallas, TX     11,008
24)     Publix Georgia, GA     10,921
25)     Nationwide Better Health Columbus, OH     10,898
26)     Long Beach International City Bank, CA     10,773
27)     San Francisco, CA     10,716
28)     LIVESTRONG Austin, TX     10,544
29)     Rock ‘n’ Roll Mardi Gras, LA     10,272
30)     NYC, NY     10,205

SOURCE: Running USA with Athlinks (2009-11) and Active.com (2005-08)

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