Sina Horsthemke

Runner's World Running Symposium at ISPO Munich Online

Running Boom Despite Corona: The Trends 2021

If the Corona Pandemic 2020 had anything good, it was this: it got more people running. Urs Weber, editor of Runner's World magazine, presented encouraging data from the industry at ISPO Munich Online.

Egal, ob Influencer oder Testimonial Authentizität ist die Grundvoraussetzung für eine gute Kampagne
Running is trending - but the motivations for running are shifting.

Travel bans, curfews, home offices - the Corona pandemic has changed our everyday lives. And also our sporting behaviour. Running, for example, was more popular in 2020 than it had been for a long time.

This is not only shown by the data from endurance sports networks such as Strava but also a look at popular running routes: "We've been seeing a lot of new runners out there for almost a year now," says Urs Weber, editor of the running magazine Runner's World. "There are a noticeable number of novice runners out there, Corona has created a boom."


Urs Weber war einmal mehr Moderator des Runner's World Laufsymposiums bei der ISPO Munich Online.
Urs Weber was once again the moderator of the Runner's Worls running symposium.

Survey of Over 10,000 Runners

That's not just a feeling, it's provable with numbers: "The visit numbers on our website alone form a veritable corona wave in March, April, and May 2020," Weber reports. As he has done for the past eight years, the journalist presented the annual survey results of his editorial team at the Runner's World running symposium at ISPO Munich Online, which this time surveyed 10,500 runners.

According to the results, the average runner covers 37.4 kilometers every week. "For experienced runners, this is rather little, so we can conclude that there are numerous beginners," Weber said. Every fourth participant in the survey is in a sports club, every third usually jogs in a running club. "Of course, the interest in competitions has decreased significantly in 2020 compared to previous years," Weber said.

• Attractive mountain destinations across Switzerland
• High-spending target group
• Large-format analogue advertising panels and digital screens
Take advantage while the panel space lasts.

Although more people were running, each runner spent on average slightly less money on running clothes in 2020 than in the previous year - probably due to a lack of shopping opportunities:

  • 2020: 296 euros
  • 2019: 324 euros

While online shopping recorded a slight increase compared to the previous year, sales figures in sports stores declined - which can also be explained by the lockdown.

Good Reasons to Lace up Your Running Shoes

Anyone who thinks runners run because they want to win races is wrong. 71 percent of Runner's World survey participants said they run "to stay healthy." Almost as many run for the sake of fitness. And 65 percent lace up their running shoes simply for fun.

Competitions were cited as a motivation by only one in three - probably in part because there were no competitions in 2020: In 2019, competitions were still a training motivation for 40 percent of runners. "Soft reasons" is what editor Urs Weber calls the top five running incentives:

  1. I run to stay healthy: 71%
  2. I run for my fitness: 70
  3. I run for fun: 65
  4. I run for more endurance: 64 %
  5. I run to reduce stress: 62 %.
  6. I run to feel better: 61 %.
  7. I run to keep my weight down: 37 %.
  8. I run to succeed in competitions: 32 %.
  9. I run to lose weight: 20%.
  10. I run to look good: 18 %.

On average, each survey participant gave five reasons for running. The more regularly you run, the more fun you have, according to the data: 71% of those who said they ran for fun covered more than 20 kilometres a week. Only one in two who ran less than 20 kilometers a week cited fun as a motivating factor.

Six Pairs of Shoes for Everyone

The questions about running shoes yielded the following results:

  • 6.2 pairs of running shoes are owned by each runner on average.
  • Each runner bought 2.8 pairs in the past twelve months.
  • 322 euros each runner spent on running shoes in the past twelve months - a pair cost an average of 130 euros.
  • 93 percent of runners plan to buy new running shoes in the next twelve months.

"Runners are equipping themselves more and more," says journalist Urs Weber. "Hardly anyone wants to wear cheap shoes and old T-shirts when running anymore." One in five participants in the Runner's World survey, for example, said they planned to buy a new GPS watch in the next twelve months.

The same number plan to get functional underwear, and one in five women want to buy a new sports bra in 2021. Compression seems out: Only one in ten need compression socks, and even fewer are interested in compression clothing.

Share article
Sina Horsthemke