There’s some good news to be found in the midyear trends update recently released by RunSignup, the technology solution for U.S. endurance events, and both run retailers and brands should pay close attention. In a nutshell, the early 2023 data, based on internal RunSignup data (representing an estimated 35-40 percent of the U.S. endurance market) suggests three significant trends:
1. Registrations are continuing to rise at a slow pace.
2. Prices have risen more sharply.
3. Younger runners may be returning to racing.
The most important number shows that per-race registrations have continued to increase, with average registrations growing 5.8 percent compared to 2022. As could be expected, though, registrations were still slightly behind 2019 levels, with a 5.7 percent average decline for races on the RunSignup platform in both years.
Among other key takeaways from the RunSignup research:
- Following concern over declining participation by young adults, the participation by the demographic in early 2023 exceeds that of any year between 2019-2022 — 14.7 percent of participants were between ages 18-29. Unfortunately, this young adult participation has not reached the levels seen in 2015-2018.
- In pre-pandemic years, RunSignup found that 5-7 percent of races over 500 participants did not recur in the following year. The churn numbers from early 2023 suggest that the industry has returned to a similar level of churn.
- The average cost for a 10k is 13.8 percent higher than in 2019. This marks the second year in a row that prices rose for virtually all race distances, likely in response to inflation and rising costs.
- In the first six months of 2023, it appears that participants are planning ahead slightly more, with 19.9 percent of registrations during race week. Race week registrations have made up between 24-26 percent of registrations each of the previous six years. Looking at registration data by race distance, races that require significant training, such as half marathons, marathons, ultramarathons, and triathlons, see a majority of registrations several months before race day. On the flip side, more than half of all 5K registrations take place within the last month.
“We share our numbers throughout the years to help races better understand the landscape they are operating within,” explains RunSignup founder and CEO Bob Bickel. “While this midyear report shows that recovery from the pandemic hasn’t been instant, we are encouraged to see registration numbers for our customers continuing to rise and we look forward to more improvement throughout the year.”
The data does suggest that race participation is still rebounding and races are growing back in 2023. RunSignup advises event organizers that it’s reasonable to expect more participants than last year, but slightly fewer than in 2019.
To read the full 2023 Midyear Update, visit: https://info.runsignup.com/2023/07/06/2023-midyear-trends-update/