Road Race Stats - Marathons & Other Running Races

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Are Too Many People Running Marathons?

This article looks into the growing popularity of marathons. It used to be only the super fit would consider running a marathon. Now it seems like everybody wants to take the challenge. It's now attracting a lot of running newbies who would probably be better off with shorter races.

Some interesting stats from this article:

Someone training for a marathon has a 40 percent to 60 percent chance of getting a musculo-skeletal injury like a stress fracture, knee pain or foot pain.


Statistics compiled by the association show that 25,000 people ran a marathon in 1976. Last year, nearly 425,000 went the distance. And the four biggest marathons this fall - including the Chicago Marathon - are already sold out.


The phenomenon includes a surge of women. Twenty-five years ago, only 10 percent of marathon finishers were women. Now 40 percent cross the line.


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    By Blogger darrelfisher8647, at 2:16 AM  

  • very interesting article, it almost has a "stay fat and lazy feel to it" as they give a few examples of those that jumped right into marathoning with TNT and other groups.

    Although more and more people are doing marathons, and it's not as out of the ordinary to say "I've ran a marathon" there is still the mystic of performance time. Such as time compared to the elite and time compared to one's self. Example: my PR is 4:09, so therefore someone who runs a 3:30 or better, I revere them for their accomplishment. For me, if I do 4:15 or worse (depending on circumstances) then I feel bad about that but I know that there are people out there who can't run a 4:15.

    "knee pain and foot pain" is SO general... You put on the wrong pair of socks... there is a blister. Tie your shoes to tight, ends in soreness. Plus with the number at 425,000 with beginners you would expect to have a lot more cases of injury.

    A point on the women... 25 years ago, many races didn't allow or encourage women. Thanks to Joan Benoit in 1984 that perception changed. Obviously Ms. Winfrey's running did help their movement, but I am not sure it's as big of an impact that her entourage wishes it was.

    By Anonymous Terry from Knoxville, at 7:32 AM  

  • You're right about the feel of the article. I wonder how that doctor came up with that 40% to 60% stat.

    It would be interesting to know how many who run a marathon began serious running within the last year. I wonder if training programs should start with a 10K the first year, half-marathon the second year, and then a full marathon in the third year. Perhaps that's too much time for people to stay committed.

    By Blogger Ken, at 9:39 AM  

  • That would a good idea. My Running History, I started with an 8k before I ran a 5k, only because a friend (a runner) wanted to do a run while he was visiting me and that was all that was available.

    I think a year of 5-8-10ks are all very valuable to a runner's training program and I glad that I went the route that I did, because if I had gone straight to 26.2 I doubt I would be running much anymore.

    I am also taking the same approach to triathlons. I'd like to do a Half Ironman, but want to progress up from the sprint distance

    By Anonymous Terry from Knoxville, at 6:56 PM  

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