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Largest Road Races

Largest Road Races

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – (September 22, 2013) – Each year, Running USA releases rankings for the nation’s top road races including such popular lists as the Top 100 U.S. Timed, Largest by Distance, Largest by State, Largest Festivals, Women-Only and Youth Runs as well as the World’s Largest. These lists are cited by the media, used by the races and perused by running fans around the world.

Top 100 U.S. Timed – In 2012, the Top 100 U.S. Timed list accounted for more than 1.5 million finishers compared to 922,500 finishers in 2000 or an impressive 73% increase. In 2000 the 100th race on the U.S. list had more than 3,600 finishers and by 2012 that number had grown to more than 8,300 (a record high).

In 2003, half-marathons represented 17 of the races listed in the Top 100, and last year, the 13.1 mile distance accounted for an astonishing 43 races listed in the Top 100, with 15 from Competitor Group’s popular Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series. As mentioned in past State of the Sport Reports, since 2003, the half-marathon has been the fastest growing distance in the U.S., with women – 60% of fields now – driving its growth. See Top 100 Table 1 below.

TABLE 1: Top 100 U.S. Timed Road Races (2000 vs. 2012)
































Largest by Distance – Table 2 below lists the U.S. largest races by distance for 2012. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race 10K (58,043), Lilac Bloomsday Run 12K (48,229) and Dick’s Sporting Goods BolderBOULDER 10K (47,925) continue to rank as the top three largest timed road races in the nation, and Peachtree (photo, left) kept its #1 U.S. timed ranking for the 4th straight year and its 58,043 finishers were the largest number ever fully timed for a 10K.

In 2012, there were three U.S. 15K’s that had more than 11,000 finishers: Hot Chocolate Chicago (16,411), Gate River Run (16,357) and Boilermaker (11,360). The 10 mile also claimed four races with 10,000-plus finishers: Blue Cross Broad Street Run (34,068), Army Ten-Miler (22,065), Credit Union Cherry Blossom (16,923) and Fleet Feet Sports Soldier Field (12,883), but the Half-Marathon continues to lead the pack with 36 events having more than 10,000 finishers in 2012 – a new annual record.

TABLE 2: Largest by Distance (2012)
1 Mile 4,839 NYRR Fifth Avenue Mile (New York, NY)
2 Mile 6,432 Fight for Air Omaha Corporate Cup (Omaha, NE)
5K 24,000 E EIF Revlon Run for Women: LA (Los Angeles, CA)
3.5 Mile 18,500 JPMorgan Corporate Challenge: Chicago (Chicago, IL)
4 Mile 23,448 Pat’s Run 4.2 Mile (Tempe, AZ)
8K 34,369 Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle (Chicago, IL) – largest timed ever
5 Mile 13,416 Manchester Road Race 4.75 Mile (Manchester, CT)
10K 58,043 Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race (Atlanta, GA)
– largest timed ever
7 Mile 10,413 New Balance Falmouth Road Race (Falmouth, MA)
12K 48,229 Lilac Bloomsday Run (Spokane, WA)
15K 16,411 Hot Chocolate (Chicago, IL)
10 Mile 34,068 Blue Cross Broad Street Run (Philadelphia, PA)
20K 6,895 Dam to Dam (Des Moines, IA)
Half-Marathon 31,170 OneAmerica 500 Festival (Indianapolis, IN)
25K 5,704 Fifth Third River Bank Run (Grand Rapids, MI)
30K 4,320 ING New York City Marathon Tune-Up 18 Mile (New York, NY)
Marathon 37,475 Bank of America Chicago (Chicago, IL)
Ultra 967 JFK 50 Mile Trail (Boonsboro, MD)
Relay 15,100 E Beach to Bay Relay Marathon (Corpus Christi, TX)
E = estimate not all finishers timed

Largest by State – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race 10K ranked Georgia as #1 on the map for the largest festival event last year, but other states have stand-alone large events or festivals also topping the list such as Florida (Walt Disney World Marathon Festival – 48,369 estimated finishers), Washington (Lilac Bloomsday 12K – 48,229), and Colorado (Dick’s Sporting Goods BolderBOULDER 10K – 47,925). See Table 3 below.

Largest Festivals – Despite the Planned Parenthood negative press, five Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure events placed in the top 25 festivals for 2012. Festivals continue to experience tremendous growth during the Second Running Boom. For example, in 2009 the Top 50 U.S. festivals totaled approximately 1.5 million finishers, whereas by 2012, the number had increased to 1.6 million. In addition, in 2000 the 50th largest festival had approximately 12,000 finishers and by 2012 the 50th festival on the list had more than 21,000 finishers.

TABLE 3: Top 10 Largest Festivals (2012)
  1) Georgia 58,043 Atlanta-Journal Constitution Peachtree Road Race
  2) Florida 48,369 E Walt Disney World Marathon Festival
  3) Washington 48,229 Lilac Bloomsday 12K
  4) Colorado 47,925 Dick’s Sporting Goods BolderBOULDER 10K
  5) Missouri 42,593 E Race for the Cure: St. Louis Festival
  6) Illinois 40,557 Hot Chocolate Chicago Festival
  7) Illinois 37,475 Bank of America Chicago Marathon
  8) South Carolina 37,413 Cooper River Bridge Run
  9) Ohio 37,331 E Race for the Cure: Columbus Festival
10) Virginia 35,186 Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K and Kids Run
E = estimate not all finishers timed

Women-Only – As reported in previous State of the Sport Reports, females now account for 8.6 million finishers nationwide (a record number) and represent the highest event total field percentage ever reported of 56% in this country. Of the largest women-only races (90% or greater female finishers), six of the top 15 were half-marathons in 2012. Last year, there were 31 women-only events with more than 2,000 finishers compared to 19 women-only events with more than 2,000 finishers in 2011.

World’s Largest – Australia’s Sun-Herald City2Surf 14K, with 69,163 finishers – its most to-date, kept its #1 timed road race crown for a record 5th consecutive year. For the first time, 30 marathons worldwide had more than 10,000 finishers led by the world’s largest, Bank of America Chicago Marathon, with 37,475 finishers, and in the half-marathon, also for the first time, there were two halves with more than 40,000 finishers in the same year (Göteborg and Bupa Great North Run with 44,094 and 40,066 finishers respectively, with the former the largest annual half-marathon ever).

Largest Youth – With the development of the final mile programs and the majority of road race events now incorporating a youth component, youth runs across the nation continue to experience growth. While many youth events continue to be untimed fun runs, making tracking of these events difficult, Running USA estimates that there were more than 35 youth events in 2012 that surpassed 2,000 youth finishers at a single event.