Running is one of the most popular and practiced sports worldwide. In the U.S. alone, more than 64 million people went jogging or running in 2016. Walking for fitness drew nearly 110 million participants in the U.S. in 2015. Improving their fitness is one of the main motivations for Americans to start running or jogging. In 2016, about 24 percent of Americans stated that exercise was the primary reason for them to start running. Weight concerns and the decision to enter a race are also common reasons Americans begin practicing the sport. Nearly 80 percent of American runners continue to run to stay healthy or to stay in shape. Relieving stress and having fun are top reasons as well to why people continue to run as a sport in the U.S.
Although not all runners may compete, entering a race or run in a particular event is a major motivation to continue practicing the sport. In the U.S., nearly 70 percent of core runners – that is, active adult participants who tend to enter running events and train all year round – felt that it is easy to find an event that they want to participate in. About 60 percent stated that they would participate in more events if the entry fees were lower. More than 30 thousand running events and train all year round – felt that it is easy to find an event that they want to participate in. About 60 percent stated that they would participate in more events if the entry fees were lower. More than 30 thousand running events take place in the U.S. every year, including 5k, 10k and 8K/5 mile races as well as half-marathons and marathons. All in all, these races were finished by more than 17.1 million people. In terms of distance, 5K runs had the highest number of finishers – about 7.6 million. U.S. marathon events had 509 thousand finishers in 2015. That year, about 56 percent of marathon finishers in the U.S. were male, and 44 percent were female.
The World Marathon Majors is composed of six races hosted in six different cities; three of them are located in the U.S. – Boston, Chicago and New York City. In 2015, the TCS New York City Marathon was the biggest marathon in the U.S. with nearly 50 thousand finishers. The Chicago Marathon ranked second in number of finishers, and the Boston Marathon third. Major marathons also attract many spectators and viewers. In spring 2016, about 6.4 million people attended a marathon event in the U.S. The number of people who watched any marathon event on broadcast TV added up to more than one million in 2016, while about 16 thousand people watched this type of sporting event via cable TV.
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