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The Copenhagen Marathon: The Running Boom May be Reversing

Clock Posted Jul 31, 2019

An In-Depth Look into the Copenhagen Marathon

By Miranda Hanson, Runner Click.

Is the running boom really over? A lot of people think so.

As lovers of the sport, we decided that this question is one worth exploring. So we chose to conduct an analysis of a decades-long marathon, hoping to disprove this notion.

Established back in 1980, the Copenhagen Marathon has been around for nearly 40-years and has brought in runners from all around the world to partake in one of the more well-known marathons around the globe. This long-standing marathon has made a name for itself over the last four decades and only continues to draw in more and more runners each year.

What sort of runners is what intrigued us.

Now that the 2019 Copenhagen results are in and finalized, we decided to take a more in-depth look at the overall statistics based on the results from a study that we released earlier this year.

And the results might surprise you.

After analyzing over 50,000 participants from 2014-2019, it is safe to say that Copenhagen has made great strides over the years.

The overall participation rate has increased by 11.8%. Although our results show that 65% of runners are men, the woman participation rate has increased by 27%, while men have only increased by 7%.

Starting out with under 100 female runners back in 1980, having that high of an increase is no small feat. We can assume that this gender gap will only shrink in the years to come.

We also took a closer look into the different age groups and how they stack up over the years of 2014-2019. Age group 30-39 is the fastest age group for all 6 years, with an average finish time of 4:08:22, age group 20-29 came in a close second with an average finishing time of 4:09:32, and the age group 40-49 came in third, with an average finishing time of 4:13:07.

Age group 40-49 is the most popular age group with over 30% of runners landing in this group. Coming in second is the age group 30-39 with 26%, in third is the age group 20-29 with 21.5%, in fourth is the age group 50-59 with 16%, and last but definitely not least, the age group 60-69 with 3.3%.

Surprisingly, the age group 60-69 had the highest growth in participation, with an increase of +64.8%. Age group 50-59 came in second, with an increase of +53.2%, and impressively coming in third in this category is the age group 70-79, with an increase of +14.7%.

Shockingly, the youngest age group, 0-19 showed the highest decrease of participation, with a decrease of -16.6%, followed by the age group 30-39 with a decrease of -4.75%. The age group 80-89 showed no increase or decrease since there was only 1 runner for each year.

We also decided to take a look into the average finishing times and see where the numbers fell. The overall average finish time is 4:08:50. The average finish time for men is 4:03:42 and the average finish time for women hit 4:23:32. This means that the men are only 0:19:50 faster than women on average.

Since we are on the topic ofaverage finish times, we also broke down the average finish times for each year. 2014 holds the record for the fastest average finish time with a time of 4:02:01. Coming in at a close second is 4:02:37, in third is 2017 with a time of 4:06:55, in fourth, is 2018 with a time of 4:11:57, in fifth place, is 2019 with a time of 4:13:55, and in sixth place is 2016 4:15:45.

So what we are seeing here is that even as more women are participating and competing, and even as more elderly are doing the same, the youth are opting out of the sport.

That means the running boom may indeed be coming to an end — in fact, the trend may actually be reversing.

The question is, what can we do about it?

Omitted Information

*Since this was a study based on recreational runners, we omitted any men with a finishing time of 2:30:00 or better and any women with a finishing time of 2:45:00 or better.

*Original research including methodology can be found here.



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