“This is the first mapping for Global running participation. The analysis covers 107.9 million race results from more than 70 thousand events from 1986 to 2018. This is by far the largest study of race results in history. ”

What I  have culled from the report supports my assertations of the last several years.  That Real Running, aka Real Runners, purists that ran for achievement alone,  have decreased dramatically.  In their place, multitude and sundry other reasons to participate, primarily social intercourse.

This report analyzes finish times in terms of “race results” with descriptions couched in “participation.”  The dichotomy of juxtaposition is not lost on me.

Today I look at marathoning in particular.

In 2004 fully 25% of all race results were from the marathon.  In 2018 marathons attributed only 12%.  Fewer marathoners these days.  That in and of itself is not much of  a worry for our sport, half marathon participation has leaped from 17% to 30% of all race results.  5K & 10K participation has remained relatively stable with a 3-5% increase in those distances.

Men’s marathon times have slowed significantly.  In 1986 the average finish time was 3:48:15.  In 2018, 4:22:13.  An increase of 13.8% in times.  Fewer male marathoners, slower times.   Where did all the faster fellas go?  We got old.  Before you call “Elitist!” remember my marathon personal best is a mere 2:46:56.  No ways elite.  My work over the last 30 years on their behalf may just give me a bit more insight into their habits and mindsets.

Big Tips to you ladies!  Your average marathon times slowed between 1986 and 2001 by 38 minutes.  But between 2001-2018 your times actually decreased by an average of 4 minutes.  Fewer female marathoners, faster times!

Tomorrow- What does it mean for marathon runners in Nebraska?  In the Midwest?  In the United States?