RRCA Releases Return to Running: Runner Attitude Survey Results

May 12, 2020

Runners weigh in from all 50 states and DC about a return to group running post-pandemic

Arlington, VA – From April 21 to May 6, 2020 the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) collected over 10,000 responses on its Return to Running Events and Group Runs survey. The goal of the survey was to get an understanding about customer attitudes as they relate to returning to running in organized group settings and in-person events.

Utilizing the zip code question, RRCA was able to confirm responses were received from individuals from all 50 states and the District of Columbia*. Of the respondents that completed the question about gender (67% completed the question), 54% were female and 43% were male and 3% did not identify or chose not to respond. A high percentage of the respondents are likely to be members of a local running club and representative of runners and event organizers that are engaged in their local running communities.

Questions on the survey were divided into four major classifications: Group Running, Event Running, Event Size, and Registration Planning. While the overall results are predictably nuanced, the responses did result in some key immediate takeaways in each of these categories.

Group Running: Once a return to larger group running is permitted, 60% are comfortable running with 5 or fewer people. 51% are comfortable with 10 or fewer runners, but the percentage of comfort drops significantly when group runs start to see 20 or more participants.

Event Running: Approximately 53% of respondents noted they would participate in events for the remainder of 2020, if public health officials allow them to take place. While that leaves 47% of runners unsure (23%) or not willing to run in events for the remainder 2020, 90% plan to participate in events in 2021 and beyond. Less than 1% of respondents having written off participation in running events in 2021 and beyond.

Event Size: For events, 500 stands out as a point of demarcation, with 53% of respondents feeling comfortable with an event up to that size (down from a starting point of 61% of respondents who feel comfortable with an event between 0-100). From there, the number drops quickly with just 34% comfortable running in an event with over 1,000 participants.

Registration Planning: When local permitting agencies eventually give the green light for events to occur, organizers should plan for the fact that most participants are likely going to register within a narrow window of race day, with 42% feeling comfortable registering one to three months out from race day, with a significant drop-off in comfort  four months to a year before race day.

For the full survey results, further analysis of the responses and subsequent recommendations, as well as a more in-depth discussion of methodology and demographics visit https://www.rrca.org/news-articles/news-archives/2020/05/08/return-to-running-runner-attitude-survey-results

About the RRCA: The Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) is the oldest and largest national association of running organizations and runners dedicated to growing the sport since 1958. The RRCA champions the development of community-based running clubs and events that serve runners of all ages and abilities in pursuit of health and competition. The RRCA’s vision is to see an organized running club established in every community in the U.S. To learn more, visit: www.RRCA.org

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