Understanding the Millennial Runner

April 14th, 2016

As the largest generation since baby boomers—and the most technologically advanced generation ever—the impact of millennials on the sport of running will be significant. The role of millennials in running is what industry research and advocacy group Running USA sought to understand in a recent study, “The Millennial Running Study.” In February 2016, Running USA released the results of the study on those born between 1980 and 2000, providing insight into this group’s motives and mindset. We have provided a recap on some of the highlights from the study below.

Motivations for Running & Participation

Most millennials consider themselves to be healthy and fit (74 percent), and their primary motivation to participate in running events is to maintain or improve their health and fitness (49 percent). Although most have only began running for a few years, with the majority taking up the sport within the last one to five years, 76 percent run all yearlong, even when they are not in training. The distance millennials are most looking to complete in this coming year is a half marathon at 82 percent, followed by 10K and 5K distances.

Fitness As Lifestyle

Most millennial runners participate in an array of fitness activities in addition to running (94 percent).  Top cross-training activities include weight lifting (49 percent), hiking, backpacking and/or rock climbing (43 percent), cycling (38 percent) and aerobics/fitness class (31 percent).

Leveraging Digital & Social Media to Learn About Events

The millennial runner relies heavily on the Internet to inform their decision-making. Sixty-four percent find out about events through social media. Top social media platforms for learning about events included Facebook (95 percent), Instagram (39 percent), Twitter (27 percent) and Pinterest (9 percent). Forty-eight percent register for events at least three months prior to the event, which highlights the communication opportunity for partners throughout the training journey. Eighty-four percent are interested in participating in a well-known event.

With this group now making up a significant portion of the marketplace, it is important to understand what drives millennial runners’ actions and what keeps them engaged. To learn more about the Millennial Running Study, click here.



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