120+ Running Statistics 2021/2022 [Research Review]

Posted on 02 November, 2023 by Nicholas Rizzo

Running globally has taken off significantly in the last decade, growing about 57% in popularity. And though 2020 was met with lockdowns and restrictions, it didn’t stop people from getting their miles on. This is why outdoor activities like running is the biggest fitness trend of 2021 and 28.76% of runners began during the pandemic.

Global running statistics

Based on data aggregated from various fitness tracker apps and devices, during the height of the pandemic in 2020:

  • There was a 65% increase in running and jogging activities
  • Users logged an average of 37.3% more miles
  • Outdoor running miles increased by 34%
  • From spring to fall, race participation increased by 45.5%
  • There was a 5% increase in people running at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • The average running pace has slowed down by 8.5%
  • 5.6% of cyclists shifted from cycling to running
  • Use of running apps increased by 27% 

Worldwide running statistics

The fastest marathon nation includes:

  • Switzerland - 3:50h
  • Netherlands - 3:52h
  • Spain - 3:52h
  • Portugal - 3:59h
  • Norway - 4:01h 

The countries with the slowest marathon runner average finish time:

  • Philippines - 5:25h
  • India - 5:05h
  • Mexico - 4:53h 

The countries with the most race participation are:

  • USA - 456,700
  • UK - 97,254
  • Germany - 86,032 

Running statistics in the U.S.

More than 50 million Americans participated in running or jogging activities in 2020

  • 29.2% of the participants are in the age range of 18 to 24
  • Only 9% of the participants registered as males
  • The states with the fastest marathon average finish time:
    • Massachusetts - 4 hours and 4 minutes
    • Washington - 4 hours, 18 minutes, and 9 seconds
    • Indiana - 4 hours, 18 minutes, and 57 seconds

Running statistics in Europe

  • Ireland logs the highest race participants at 0.5%
  • Only 0.2% of people in the Netherlands participate in races
  • The U.K. also has about 0.2% of its population who run races

Race statistics

Races are quite popular over the globe. From 2018 to 2019, race signups grew by 19%. With 95% of these races affiliated with non-profit organisations.

In the US, to place in the top 10% of:

  • 10K participant you need to have an average finish time faster than 47 minutes and 17 seconds
  • Marathoners, you need an average finish time faster than 3 hours and 24 minutes
  • Half-marathon runners, you need an average finish time faster than 1 hour and 31 minutes

Pre-pandemic, there were about 50K race events in the U.S. alone. These races are broken down into the following categories:

  • 5K races - 28.8K
  • 10K races - 4.9K
  • Half marathon - 3k
  • Marathon - 1.2K
  • Ultramarathon - 1K
  • Triathlon - 1.4K
  • Other races - 11k 

Meanwhile, participation in races pre-pandemic reached 7.4 million in total, and can be broken down into:

  • 5K - 4.6M
  • 10K - 960.2K
  • Half marathon - 816.7K
  • Marathon - 201.2K
  • Ultramarathon - 93.1K
  • Triathlon - 114.3K
  • Other races - 559.2K  

Road running statistics

  • In the U.S., 18.1 million people signed up for road races in 2018
  • Sign-ups for road races declined 2.7% from 2018 to 2019

Trail running statistics

  • From 2013 to 2019, there are over 25,700 trail races across 195 countries
  • In the last 7 years, an average of 3,600 trail races are conducted yearly
  • There are 1.77 million trail racers worldwide
  • 90% of trail runners are aged between 22 and 55 
  • European trail racers have the highest ITRA performance index score at 443 followed by:
    • North America - 442
    • Oceania - 438
    • Africa - 408
    • South America - 393
    • Asia - 362
  • The countries with the most female trail runners are:
    • Finland - 43%
    • Australia - 41%
    • Canada - 39% 

Running statistics by race distance

For a comprehensive break down of marathon running statistics, see our State of Running Report.

5K race statistics

  • Over 8.9 million participated in 5K races in the US pre-pandemic
  • the average race time for 
    • Women is 40 minutes
    • Men is 34 minutes
  • since 2009, racer average pace has significantly slowed down by:
    • 10% in women
    • 15.9% in men 

10k race statistics

  • In 2018, over 1.8 million people participated in 10K races globally
  • the average 10K race time is 
    • 1 hour and 14 minutes for women
    • 1 hour for men 

Half marathon race statistics

  • Over 2.1 million people worldwide participated in half marathons in 2018
  •  the average finish time for a half marathon is
    • 2 hours 15 minutes for female participants
    • 1 hour and 48 minutes for male participants

Marathon race statistics

  • Global Marathon event participation reached 1.1 million in 2018
  • The average finish time for a marathon is
    • 4 hours and 45 minutes for a female runner
    • 4 hours and 30 minutes for a male runner

Ultramarathon race statistics

  • Ultramarathon event popularity has grown by 345% in the last decade
  • Women ran 0.6% faster in long-distance marathons compared to men
  • Women participation in ultramarathons increased to 23% in the last 2 decades
  • the average speed of ultramarathoners is 14 minutes and 40 seconds per mile

Running health statistics

No matter what type of activity you chose, all exercise benefits your health. Running reaps all the benefits of cardio exercise - being remarkably similar to walking benefits for your health. Numerous studies have shown that running daily can do wonders for your overall health.

Running can:

  • Instantly boost your mood and make you feel happier
  • Reduce stress and feeling of anxiety
  • Lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases
  • Increase insulin sensitivity
  • Boost metabolism
  • Increase confidence and self-esteem
  • Improve brain functions such as memory and information retention
  • Help you sleep better
  • Aid in ditching bad habits
  • Improve sex drive and performance
  • Lowers the chances of becoming overweight when you're older
  • Improve bone and joint health
  • Reduces the risk of developing several types of cancers
  • Help you look younger and live longer

Running age statistics

Running is for everyone. And as long as you've trained and are in good health, you can participate in long-distance runs.

According to reports:

  • The average age of runners grew older from 35 to 39, from 1986 to 2018
  • The average age for 5K and marathon participants is 40
  • The average age for 10K and half marathon runners is 39
  • Runners aged 70 and above are reported to be the slowest finishers
  • Runners ages 30 to 50, on average, finish marathons the fastest

Running shoe statistics

About 28.7% of people took up running when the pandemic hit, which also directly impacted the running shoe market.

According to reports:

  • Performance running shoe sales grew 32% year-over-year by the end of June 2020
  • The global athletic footwear is expected to see a compound annual growth rate of 4.56% from 2021 to 2026

Running injury statistics

Because running is a high-impact sport, the risk for injury is somewhat high.

According to several studies:

  • About 37 to 70% of competitive and recreational runners get injured yearly
  • 50 to 70% of running injuries is caused by overuse
  • Overuse is the main cause of runner injury that include:
    • patellofemoral pain syndrome (runner’s knee)
    • iliotibial band friction syndrome
    • plantar fasciitis
    • meniscal injuries
    • tibial stress syndrome
    • patellar tendinopathy.
  • The most common types of running injuries are:
    • Knee - 42%
    • Foot/ankle - 17%
    • Lower leg - 13%
    • Hips/pelvis - 11%
  • 30 to 90% of all injuries result in runners reducing or stopping their training
  • 20 to 70% of running injuries need medical treatment
  • A minimum of 2.5 running accidents happen per 1,000 hours of running

About RunRepeat

RunRepeat is the largest online athletic shoe review website. We publish shoe reviews that are a result of our own tests (running, hiking, walking, tennis, etc) and lab tests. In the lab, we cut all the shoes in half and measure the thickness of various elements, heel drop, toebox width, heel width, as well as test the shoe's breathability, flexibility, durability, and rubber and foam softness. We always put these numbers in context by comparing them to the averages. 

Before checking out your next pair of running shoes, check out our detailed shoe guides. You can learn about shoes with arch support, pronation, how to get the correct shoe size, and more.

Use of content

  • If you wish to learn more about the running statistics, you can send your questions to Nick Rizzo at nick@runrepeat.com. He’s also available for interviews.
  • Feel free to use data found in this article on any online publication. We only request that you link back to this original source.















Nicholas Rizzo
Nicholas Rizzo
Nick combines 10+ years of experience in the health and fitness industry and a background in the sciences in his role as the Fitness Research Director. During his competitive powerlifting years his PRs have him sitting in the top 2% of bench presses (395 lbs), top 3% of squats (485 lbs) and top 6% of deadlifts (515 lbs) for his weight and age. His work has been featured on Bodybuilding.com, LiveStrong, Healthline, WebMD, WashingtonPost, and many more. Along the way, collaborating with industry leaders like Michael Yessis, Mark Rippetoe, Carlo Buzzichelli, Dave Tate, Ray Williams, and Joel Seedman.