Report: Big-Dollar Running Industry Is Thriving

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Jun. 26, 2011
  • Updated Jun. 27, 2011 at 4:06 PM UTC

Billions of dollars are spent annually on shoes, apparel and race fees.

From: Running USA

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — From record or sold-out race fields across the country last year, billions of dollars in shoe sales and running apparel, innovative products such as personalized devices to track individual workouts and record fundraising, the Running Industry continues to show impressive growth in virtually every sector.

Running is one of the most convenient and inexpensive forms of exercise available. There are no required membership fees, special equipment or required classes. All you need is a pair of running shoes and you can just walk out your door or office. No longer is the marathon just for someone who trains 50 to 70 miles a week or a specialty running store only for those with chiseled calves. Today’s runners are those looking to achieve a new goal, to stay fit, to relieve stress, to feel empowered or to run for a cause. And thanks to numerous free online training programs, today’s new runners can easily find a program that is right for them, based on their ability and available time to train.

Many casual runners are entering events to have fun, as a social activity, and for the experience; it’s not about setting a new PR for them, but finishing. Last year, 14 Rock ‘n’ Roll Series events saw more than 255,000 individuals cross the finish line. Of those, 37% were debuting in the marathon or half-marathon, and 62% were female, reflecting the broad appeal of running nationwide.

Running / jogging continues to show strong and consistent growth annually as running total participation was up almost 13% overall in the last year and has increased by 57% in the last 10 years, according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturer’s Association. SGMA also projects running / jogging as a sport with some of the greatest growth potential from 2010 to 2015, ranking #12 on the list with a 31% growth rate.

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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