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News Archive

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

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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