America’s core runners

Running USA released this week its 2013 State of the Sport report, creating a profile of the core runners in America.

The comprehensive study is conducted every two years and assesses the demographics, lifestyle, attitudes, habits and product preferences of the running population nationwide, according to Running USA.

The results reflect “core runners,” or active adult participants who tend to enter running events and train year-round. The study surveyed more than 30,000 core runners across the country.

Based on the findings, the typical female U.S. runner is 39 years old, stands 5’5”, weighs 140 pounds, averages 20 miles a week and has been running for 9.6 years.

The typical male U.S. runner is 43 years old, stands 5’10”, weighs 174 pounds, averages 25 miles a week and has been running for 13.6 years.

Here are some more interesting findings included in the report:

-Average number of running events participated in during the last 12 months: women, 7; men, 8.

-Completed one or more marathons in their lifetime: women, 49 percent; men, 66 percent.

-Average number of running shoes purchased in the last 12 months: women, 3; men, 3.

-Average body mass index (BMI): women, 23.3; men, 24.7.

According to Running USA,  the core runners “typically run alone, early in the morning, on a paved path or road and likely run with music, GPS, sunglasses, hat/visor, watch, cell phone, keys, and a personal ID.”

“They consume Gatorade, Clif Bars and energy gel products. But you might be surprised to learn that these runners who are committed to a healthy and fit lifestyle state that they frequently go to McDonald’s and their favorite restaurants include In-N-Out Burger, The Cheesecake Factory and Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream,” according to Running USA.

Core runners are motivated to run in order to stay in shape (77.3%), stay healthy (76.1%), relieve stress (61.9%) and have fun (61.7%).

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at or 360-735-4546.

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