Road Races In America: Going Strong Or Slowing Down?

Road races are said to be losing their popularity in America, yet millions continue to participate in it each year. Piplsay (powered by Market Cube) polled 67,028 Americans to find out what the trend looked like in 2019, and also took a peek into the wearable industry that is growing around it. Road race organizers, as well as sports brands, can leverage this data in their decision making. For an in-depth analysis, download the full document here.

With close to 30,000 running events held across the country each year, America is no doubt a running-obsessed country. However, over the years, road races are said to have hit a wall, with the industry witnessing a gradual decline in the number of events as well as participants. Did 2019 also see a similar trend, and if so, then what is the reason behind it? Piplsay polled 67,028 Americans nation-wide to get the details. Here’s a summary of what found.

“I love running. I make sure that I participate in 5K races at least once a year” – Moby

Other Insights

  • Just over 30% Gen Zers and millennials took part in road races last year
  • 5K races are most popular with both men and women
  • Millennials are most keen to travel to participate in road races; Baby boomers are least interested
  • 51% of Gen Zers use fitness trackers, highest amongst all age groups
  • 64% of Idaho residents took part in road races in 2019, highest amongst all states
“I mostly participate in 5K, 10K and non-traditional races. The latter is fun and enjoyable, especially with family” – Dale

Run America, Run!

A whopping 62% of Americans have participated in at least one running event so far, but regular participation seems to be thinning. According to the Piplsay survey, about 21% of Americans took part in running events last year, with over 52% of them running just one or two races. That said, a good 20% of runners said that they ran in five or more races last year. While 5K remains the most popular racing category, non-traditional events like color runs and mud races are gaining popularity as well, mostly because of their non-competitive and fun nature.

While fitness remains the main motivation for runners preparing for such road races, overall, a whopping 52% say they have started participating in fewer events now. Lack of time and high registration fees seems to the top reasons for these dwindling numbers.

“I used to be very involved in races and running but had to stop a few years back because of my hectic work schedule” – Dexter
“I run in small local events whenever I can, but just don’t have the time to prepare for bigger races” – Lenny

The Gadget Run

The running culture has given rise to a burgeoning industry around it, with gadgets specifically designed to make running easy, fun, and trackable. Earphones and smartwatches remain the most commonly used gadgets, making for a good 51% of all choices. Smart shoes and glasses also seem to be gaining popularity.

In terms of brands, Nike continues to dominate the sneaker world, while Fitbit and Apple fight neck to neck in the fitness tracker category.

Survey Methodology: This Piplsay survey (powered by Market Cube) was conducted nationwide in the US in the month of December 2019. We received 67,028 responses from individuals aged 18 years and older

For deeper insights, download the detailed research report here
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