# I'm in interested in reliable statistics about marathons. In particular, I'd like to know: a) How many marathons are held each year (in the US and the world)? b) How many people run in these races (in the US and the world)? c) Of those US and glob...

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## I'm in interested in reliable statistics about marathons. In particular, I'd like to know: a) How many marathons are held each year (in the US and the world)? b) How many people run in these races (in the US and the world)? c) Of those US and global participants, how many are first-time marathon runners?

Hello, and thanks for asking for reliable statistics on marathon participation in the US and globally. The short version is that there are 1 100 marathons in the US each year, with 509 000 participants. Globally, there are between 2 500 and 4 000 marathons each year with approximately 11 million marathon runners. It is estimated that between 52% and 55% of marathon entrants are first-time marathon runners (in the US and globally).

APPROACH
By searching through industry reports and trusted media sites, as well as reports from some of the bigger marathons in the world, I was able to obtain sufficient information to provide reported statistics on the first two parts of the question and was able to deduce an answer to the third part based on that. The most valuable sources were the 2015 U.S. Marathon report, the global marathon calendar as well as the reports of the London and Los Angeles marathons.

NUMBER OF MARATHONS PER YEAR

1. United States: According to Running USA, there were 1 100 marathons held in the US in 2015, comprising 4% of all road races for that year. Of these the New York Marathon is the largest, with more than 50 000 finishers in 2014, followed by the Chicago Marathon (40 000 finishers) and the Boston Marathon (31 000 finishers).

2. Globally: There was no direct report available on the global number of marathons held per year, but according to global marathon site, Ahota Marathons, there are 2 596 marathons in their 2017 - 2018 season available to enter across the world. At the same time, World's Marathons have 3 758 marathons available to enter on their global entry website.
Based on these two number, the global number of marathons per year is estimated to be between 2 500 and 4 000.

The largest marathons outside of the U.S. are Paris (38 000 finishers), London (35 000 finishers) and Tokyo (34 000 finishers)

NUMBER OF MARATHON RUNNERS

1. United States: In this case, the U.S. is again the only source of hard statistics. In their 2015 U.S. Marathon report, Running USA reported that 509 000 runners completed a marathon in the U.S. in 2015, significantly less than the record 550 600 of 2014. Of these, 56% were male and 44% were female, with the most popular age category being Masters (40+) at 49% of all marathon runners.

2. Globally: In order to determine the global number of marathon runners, one has to extrapolate the reported numbers. The 509 000 marathon runners in the U.S. represent about 0.15% of the total U.S. population. While in Germany, it is reported that there are about 110 000 marathon runners, 0.14% of the population.

The popularity of marathons in the U.S. has grown by 13.92% from 2009 to 2014, while only growing by 10.3% in Europe. The fastest growing marathon region in the world is Asia, with marathons growing 92.43% in popularity from 2009 to 2014, while Chinese participation in marathons has increased 259.47% over the same period.

If one, therefore, uses the baseline of at least 0.15% of the population, there are approximately 11 million marathon runners in the world. This is calculated from the total world population of approximately 7.5 billion multiplied by the baseline of 0.15% (7 500 000 000 x 0.0015 =) 11 250 000.

FIRST-TIME MARATHON RUNNERS

The only confirmed statistics available on marathon participation by first-time marathon runners is the race reports of various marathons. For example:
1. The Los Angeles marathon reports that 53% of runners who run the marathon are attempting a marathon for the first time.
2. The Disney Marathon reported that 52% of marathon runners in the race are running their first marathon.
3. According to the London Marathon, 55% of those attempting to gain an entry are first-time marathoners.

If this number seems high, a detailed study of the Dublin City Marathon from 2000 to 2015 found that only 15% of participants complete more than one marathon during the period. It also found that 18% of men ran multiple Dublin City marathons over the period compared to 9% of women.

Based on this anecdotal evidence, one can estimate that between 52% and 55% of marathon entrants are first-time marathon runners.

CONCLUSION
Based on the above data sources, the conclusion is, that:
1. In the U.S. there are 1 100 marathons each year with 509 000 participants. (confirmed)
2. Globally there are between 2 500 and 4 000 marathons each year with up to 11 million participants. (estimated)
3. Between 52% and 55% of marathon entrants are first-time marathon runners. (estimated)

Thanks for using Wonder! I hope we can assist you again in the future.

Sources
Sources