Recently, I got curious about the increase in popularity of marathon running. It seems that every week I hear about a new marathon in the State of Utah. When I left Utah in the spring of 1999, there were four Utah Marathons. As we approach the end of 2014, the amount of marathons held in Utah has risen into the double digits. Is there really enough demand for all of the marathons popping up around the country to be successful? Is running marathons really becoming more popular, or does it just feel that way because we live in a world where we are bombarded by media, both social and traditional, more than any other time in history?
I was able to locate marathon statistics that spanned from 1976 to 2013. As I reviewed the statistics, I was amazed at the yearly increase in the number of people running marathons. Indeed, the amount of marathon finishers in the USA has increased every year since 1976 (except for 2012 because the NYC Marathon was canceled due to Hurricane Sandy). I personally found the results fascinating and I want to share them with others that will likely feel the same.
Instead of presenting the marathon statistics to you in a spread sheet, I decided to put together the infographic below for easy consumption of the data. I hope you enjoy seeing the growth of our sport visually presented as much as I did!