COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – (March 31, 2013) – 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 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.