67% increase in runners over past 8 years


A feature on Sky News has highlighted the huge increase in the number of people across the UK who are pulling on their trainers and heading out for a run.

The feature, which aired on Sky News recently, pointed out that the number of people running has increased by 67% over the past eight years, according to figures released by Sport England. Almost 2.1 million people are now regular runners.

Meanwhile, the number of club athletes registered with England Athletics stands at just over 140,000 for 2014-15, more than 7,000 up on the previous record set in the year of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.  There are also currently more than 2,500 running groups registered with Run England, all of which are led by qualified Group Leaders.

The last year also saw The Great North run celebrate its millionth finisher, Tracey Cramond, who crossed the line at the event on 7 September 2014 – the first time such a milestone has been reached in any mass participation event. Former 5,000m world record holder and the chairman of Run Group, David Moorcroft, told Sky News that it is "wonderful" that a greater number of people are turning to running: "One of the challenges teams sports have is that we're busier. Running is also a way of getting fit for other sports," he said.

Kent Group Leader Workshop - Stretching

The soaring popularity of the free 5km weekly parkrun events is further proof of how running is taking off. About 4,000 people would take part each Saturday in 2010 and that is now more than 60,000, with over 650,000 registered runners and a total of 5,135,983 runs logged in 10 years.

Financial analyst Rory Marriott set up Ipswich parkrun in 2012. He said: "It is so inclusive that everyone can take part in parkrun. We don't mind whether they are speed demons or they are people who are walking the run."

Andy Dixon, editor of Runner's World UK commented: "If you turn back the clock long enough, there was a male bias - a lot of club runners and it was more competitive, but recently, there's been a big rise in female participation. And the younger generation are getting into it more again."

You can read the full story and watch the video feature at http://news.sky.com/story/1459360/running-races-ahead-as-team-sports-lag-behind.

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