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The “New” Average Runner

March 6, 2015 by susiefagerholm

Since the 1990’s, the average runner participant in 5Ks up to Marathon distances has changed from the elite competitive runner to the novice unexperienced runner. There are pros and cons of this new running population. The positive is that there are more people that are choosing running as a way to get a fast and efficient workout. Making a goal of running a 5K or a Marathon keeps the runner motivated to stay on a consistent schedule for him or herself. More people are joining running groups or running with friends to race for a charity or revolve a race around a destination vacation. The negative to this novice population is lack of education of training, footwear, and overall experience. These variables lead to more chances of injury.

The average number of participants in 1976 for a marathon in the US was 25,000. By 2013 the number increased to over 500,000 participants. Over 60% of ½ marathon finishers are women. In 1980, the median marathon finish time for men was 3:32 and for women 4:03. Times have shifted to 4:16 for men and 4:41 for women in 2013. You can see a large increase in masters marathoners from 1980, when 26% of marathon finishers were masters, whereas in 2013, 47% are masters.

Overall, it is encouraging that there are more runners out there participating in races. However, this leads to a lot of inexperienced runners that are more prone to injury due to lack of running experience and lack of training knowledge. If you fit in to this new category of runners, please get properly fit at your local running shoe store for a running shoe.

If you are about to train for a marathon or even a 5K and you are new to running it is smart to seek out a health professional for a running video gait analysis. Being proactive with a running video gait analysis will help decrease running injury risks by having a health professional find any abnormalities in your running gait that may lead to injury. You will go away knowing areas where you have weakness and which exercises and running techniques to work on. The health professional can usually guide you with a running program to achieve your running and exercise goals.

Wilder, Bob. On the Run: Physician’s Perspective. On the Run: Physician’s Perspective, 2014.

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