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Marathon Growth Continues in U.S. and World-Wide

Marathon Mania continues

2001-04-29

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - (April 11, 2001) - April is marathon month across the country and the world--from Boston to Big Sur, from Paris to London and points in-between. A review of the 1999 and 2000 marathon data by the USATF Road Running Information Center indicates another period of growth here and world-wide. See tables and lists below.

The preliminary race data, from the larger and more established U.S. events, shows nearly an 8% increase in finishers for the same 116 marathons from 1999 to 2000, while outside the U.S., the same 32 marathons from 1999 to 2000 reported a 20% increase. If the Paris Marathon is excluded (it grew by over 10,000 finishers), the non-U.S. growth rate is an impressive 15%! In short, over the past couple of years, marathon mania has become global.

The demographic data indicate that numbers of masters are increasing (by about 2% of total race finishers per year) but so are the numbers of younger participants. As a result, the median ages of marathoners have remained steady over the last five years.

U.S. Marathon Growth

YEAR Estimated # of Finishers
1976 25,000
1980 120,000
1990 260,000
1995 347,000
1996 396,000 (Bostons 100th)
1997 396,000
1998 419,000
1999 435,000
2000 451,000

2000 Worlds Largest Marathons (finishers):

1) Flora London, GBR 31,648
2) New York City, NY 29,375
3) LaSalle Bank Chicago, IL 27,889
4) Paris, FRA 27,596
5) Real Berlin, GER 23,129 (28,824 with Skaters)
6) Honolulu, HI 22,652
7) City of Los Angeles, CA 17,192
8) Marine Corps, DC 17,048
9) Suzuki Rock Roll, CA 15,918
10) Boston, MA 15,668

U.S. Largest Marathons (finishers):

1) New York City, NY 29,375
2) LaSalle Bank Chicago, IL 27,889
3) Honolulu, HI 22,652
4) City of Los Angeles, CA 17,192
5) Marine Corps, DC 17,048
6) Suzuki Rock Roll, CA 15,918
7) Boston, MA 15,668
8) Portland, OR 7,751
9) Walt Disney World, FL 7,660
10) Country Music, TN 6,349
11) Grandmas, MN 6,074
12) Twin Cities, MN 5,907
13) Houston, TX 4,699
14) Philadelphia, PA 4,266
15) St. George, UT 4,161

Demographic Breakdown

1980 1995 1998 1999 2000
Women 10.5% 26% 34% 36% 38%
Juniors 5% 2% 1% 1% 2%
Masters 26% 41% 40% 42% 44%

Median Age 1980 1995 1998 2000
Males 34 38 38 38
Females 31.3 35 34 35

Median Age Overall 37 37

Median Times
In a sample of marathons from 1998 and 2000, the RRIC noted a continuation of the slowing trend illustrated by the difference in the finisher median times for each year. As always, due to the selective nature of the event, Boston had the fastest overall median time (3:41:10) in 2000. Of the five largest marathons in the U.S., the City of Los Angeles and LaSalle Bank Chicago had the greatest increase in median times (5:14:00 in 2000 compared to 4:50:00 in 98 for L.A. and 4:26:00 compared to 4:00:00 for Chicago). Marine Corps added about 10 minutes to its median time (4:48:00 in 2000, 4:38:00 in 98) whereas New York (4:21:30) and Honolulu (5:50:00) stayed about the same over the two-year period. The marathons have once again been divided into two categories - classic "Runner Marathons" (like New York, Chicago, St. George, CVS and Philadelphia) and "Community/Festival Marathons" (such as Disney, Marine Corps, L.A., Portland and San Diego) to better describe the great variation in time stats. Both Boston and Honolulu were treated as separate categories in the Median Time Table below due to their special characteristics.

* 3:30:12 males in Boston Marathon
* 3:55:25 females in Boston Marathon
* 4:10:00 approximate male median time in "runners marathons"
* 4:30:00 approximate male median time in "community marathons"
* 4:30:00 approximate female median time in "runners marathons"
* 5:10:00 approximate female median time in "community marathons"
* 5:26:00 males in Honolulu Marathon
* 6:24:30 females in Honolulu Marathon

Source: USA Track & Field Road Running Information Center


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