The run business is certainly not out of the COVID woods just yet, but there have been a number of encouraging signs as spring takes over and runners look to do what they do best – run races.

According to a new report from RunSignup, year-over-year race signup transactions exceed 2019 numbers for the first time since March 2020, with increases in the number of events renewing for 2021 and the number of new events on the platform.

The good news is that RunSignup’s recently released Spring 2021 Registration Market Analysis reports that Alexa rankings of web traffic indicate that most registration platforms have seen a rebound compared to Fall 2020. The bad news is that all platforms still lag behind its March 2019 rankings.

(The site provides a caveat that due to the impact of COVID-19, many traditional data sources and measurements are less reliable than usual, but website rankings, acquisitions and public data are able provide some insight into the market.)

A look at acquisitions, annual reports and public statements filled in some details shaping the endurance market.

  • Endurance events pivoted to virtual and hybrid models faster and effectively than other forms of live events; however, signs of recovery at Eventbrite, including an increase in stock prices from less than $6 a share to approximately $24 per share, suggest optimism with a return of live events.
  • Large Events Return: Large events were hit especially hard last year, but many are planning a return this year (see below). Haku, which focuses on custom solutions for large customers, saw a bounce in its Alexa ranking since the fall with an expectation for continued improvement.

For more on RunSignup’s analysis: go here.

Adding to the optimism, Running Insight senior writer Danny Smith provided this brief look at some race news for late in 2021:

  • The Gate River Run in Jacksonville recently had 6731 finishes, the nation's largest in-person road race in more than a year. A bunch of COVID protocols, including wave starts and two separate starting lines, marked the COVID impact.

  • Toledo's Glass City Marathon on 4/25 is requiring entrants to have a negative test within 72 hours of the marathon or proof of full vaccination, finished at least two weeks before the marathon.

  • The popular BolderBoulder 10k will offer six different courses that participants can run over the three-day Memorial Day weekend. Each course will be marked, measured and timed. Races are certainly finding ways to blend virtual and real-world options.

  • The mid-June Grandma's Marathon is using mathematical software to facilitate social distancing. 

  • The Boston Marathon has trimmed its field to 20k