6 Key Marathon Trends to Watch in 2016

Last year saw drastic changes in marathon trends, according to Running USA’s 2015 Marathon Report. After a historic, record-setting year in 2014 that set a lot of record-high numbers, 2015 saw a decline in the number of marathon finishers for the first time ever. Here’s what you should know. 1. The number of marathon finishers declined in 2015. For the first time in history—except for 2012 when New York City Marathon was canceled after Superstorm Sandy—the number of U.S. marathon finishers declined, going from a record-high number of 550,637 in 2014 to 509,000 finishers last year. 2. The number of marathons with 1,000+ finishers also dropped. In 2015, 90 marathons in the U.S. had 1,000 or more finishers, down from a record high of 98 marathons in 2014, according to Running USA. 3. Finisher times were slower too. Last year marked the slowest average finisher times since 2005 at 4:20:13 for males and 4:45:30 for females. 4. The top 10 marathons remained fairly consistent. New York City, Chicago and Boston retained their spots as the United States’ largest marathons, respectively, based on the number of finishers. Full results below:
  1. TCS New York City Marathon (49,365 finishers)
  2. Chicago Marathon (37,395 finishers)
  3. Boston Marathon (26,612 finishers)
  4. Marine Corps Marathon (23,184 finishers; moved up from No. 6 in 2014)
  5. LA Marathon (21,940 finishers)
  6. Honolulu Marathon (21,551 finishers; moved down from No. 4 in 2014)
  7. Walt Disney World Marathon (19,974 finishers)
  8. Philadelphia Marathon (9,161 finishers)
  9. Medtronics Twin Cities Marathon (8,543 finishers)
  10. Chevron Houston Marathon (7,145 finishers)
5. The fastest sub-four-hour finishers? Boston, with a whopping 18,896, or 71 percent 6. More women are finishing than ever before. In 2015, women set an all-time record high, making up 44 percent of all U.S. marathons finishers. That’s a drastic change from 20 years earlier when only 26 percent of finishers were women, but only a slight increase from 2014 when 43 percent of all finishers were women. Dawn Reiss is a Chicago-based journalist who has written for TIME, USA Today, Reuters, The Atlantic and Chicago Tribune. She can be found at dawnreiss.com. Related Post: 12 Steps to Organize a Successful Marathon Photo Credit: FayFoto/Boston