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Running USA 2020 Global Runner Survey Results Highlight Runners’ Desire to Return to Live Events

January 20, 2021

Revamped survey took the pulse of runners across North America on virtual events, post-COVID running, DEI and more

(January 20, 2021) – There was no question of the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the running industry. But the good news is that most runners are looking forward to racing in person again this year.

That’s just one top takeaway from the 2020 Global Runner Survey. Results for North America were released today by Running USA.

Event professionals won’t be surprised to learn that 78 percent of respondents reported participating in fewer events last year due to the pandemic, and 94 percent were unable to participate in events they had planned due to cancellations.

Better news is that looking forward, 66 percent of runners plan to be back out racing as soon as an event is available in their area or within traveling distance. An additional 20 percent wanted a vaccine to be available before they raced again. (Survey responses were collected November-mid December 2020.)

“We’re thrilled to bring this exceptionally relevant and current data to our membership and the larger endurance community as plans are made for 2021,” said Dawna Stone, CEO of Running USA. “The results confirm the dedication of the core running participant base to the sport we all love, and that’s great news.”

Additional key takeaways include:

  • 61 percent of runners expect to participate in more events in 2021 than they were able to in 2020.
  • 73 percent of runners participated in a virtual event in 2020 as an alternative to in-person racing, but 50 percent say they prefer to race in person.
  • 87 percent believe that COVID-related cancellations will continue to hamper their running schedule in 2021.

Additional areas of focus for the 2020 survey included runner perspectives on diversity, equity, and inclusion; running brand preferences; reasons for choosing an event and much more. Download the survey today to see all the top line takeaways.

Upcoming Results Webinar

On Tuesday, Jan. 26, Running USA will host a webinar featuring insights from survey analyst Ashlyn Modlin. The webinar is free and open to all.  You can sign up to attend here.

In addition to assessing the survey data to determine key takeaways, Modlin has prepared extensive actionable suggestions that will be beneficial for event producers.

How to Download

Running USA members can download the results of the survey by logging into their Running USA account online. For non-members, cost of the survey result report is $279. The report can be purchased at runningusa.org – it is easily found on the center of the home page.

About the Running USA Global Runner Survey

The Running USA Global Runner Survey is the second-generation iteration of the previous research product known as the National Runner Survey. It is a comprehensive study designed to assess the demographics, lifestyle, perspectives, habits and preferences of the running population nationwide.

Initially launched in 2007, the Survey is distributed electronically on an annual basis to race directors, media, running retailers, brands and vendors, running clubs and others who have an interest or do business within the running industry. Beginning with the 2020 Global Runner Survey, the results will be named for the year the survey was conducted. The research for the results contained herein was conducted among North American respondents from November to December 2020. Nearly 5,000 respondents completed the survey in entirety.

About Running USA

Running USA is a tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization devoted to improving the status and experience of distance running and racing in the United States through collective marketing and promotions, information and communications within the industry and to the national media, services to events and industry members, and the development of American world class stars. It seeks the advancement of the sport and the provision of value to each of its members’ events and businesses. For more information, visit RunningUSA.org