Home  »  research

Research Overview

Since 1999, Running USA has been the statistical authority and trusted source for road running data, analysis and trends in the United States. Our library of research reports has grown from annual reports of race finishers across U.S. states and distances to now include in-depth reports on age, gender and trends, the popularity of holiday and themed events, as well as special project reports. 

Most recently, this included an in-depth review of why some events are seeing declines in participation and what event and brands can do to retain runners’ interest and dollars. Every other year, we complete the National Runner Survey, the only comprehensive survey of running industry participants, which is widely considered the benchmark for smart business decisions in the industry.

Data and research is a cornerstone of the Running USA mission. While our methodology continues to evolve our commitment to serving as the primary source for our industry remains steadfast. In our most recent round of reporting, Running USA is proud to have worked collaboratively with leading registration companies The Active Network, imATHLETE, Race Roster and RunSignUp, along with many individual events and production companies, to report top-line race registration data vs. historical finisher data. Learn more about this here. 

Below and in the main menu you will find charts and previews of our most recent reports.  Full access to reports is restricted to Running USA members only. Become a member here.

2018 Road Race Trends

For the vast majority of road races of all sizes across the U.S., participation held steady in 2017, according to an analysis of road race participation trends released in June 2017 by national trade organization for the sport Running USA. Review the report.

Runner Retention Survey

With responses from more than 5,000 runners across the United States, the Runner Retention Survey is an in-depth report providing the running industry a starting point to start gaining answers as to why runners are leaving the sport and start gaining answers as to how organizers can attract new runners to their events. See the survey summary.

National Runner Survey

The 2017 National Runner Survey is a comprehensive study designed to assess the demographics, lifestyle, attitudes, habits, and product preferences of the running population nationwide. More information.

Race Director Survey

The most recent Race Director Survey captures a comprehensive look at the thoughts, feedback and opinions of race directors providing the industry an in-depth look at the trends and challenges of those putting on road race events. Race director survey details.

Largest Races

Event level finisher detail is available for 2015 and 2016 on the largest races in the state and nation. It can be sorted by distance, festival and date. Beginning in 2017, participation data was compiled using registration information rather than finisher totals. Largest races data is found here.