Athletics and Running in England continues to grow


The latest Active People Survey figures from Sport England have shown the number of people over the age of 14 taking part in athletics and running each week has grown to 2.357million.

Chris Jones, Chief Executive of England Athletics said, “Athletics is a great sport to be a part of and provides a huge amount of enjoyment to many people. The growth of the sport over recent years is testimony to the hard work and expertise of many people.

“We are privileged to have tremendously skilled and dedicated volunteers working in clubs, running groups and organised events across England. The sport has innovative and tireless event organisers in clubs and across the charitable and private sector whether that be at a local 10k, a parkrun, Great Run or London Marathon. All these people and organisations provide opportunities that inspire and enable people to get involved and stimulate a running habit for life.

“England Athletics works to support these people and to facilitate growth, in particular working with our member clubs, as well as with partners such as County Sports Partnerships and priority cities such as London. We are also working closely with other partners including Sport England through supporting the “This Girl Can” campaign to showcase athletics and running as a sport that is both inspiring and enjoyable to a wide range of people.

“We know we must continue to work hard to ensure that this growth is sustained and to give existing and new participants the support and experience that they deserve.

“The fact that our England Athletics registered athlete numbers for 2014-2015 reached over 140,000 for the first time shows how more and more people are becoming aware of the wide ranging benefits of being part of a club. Part of our responsibility is to focus on signposting recreational participants to the great benefit and enjoyment they can get from being part of an affiliated club.

“We are also committed to continue our work to create increased opportunities for disabled people in all aspects of the sport, whether their participation is as a competitive or recreational athlete or being part of the sport as a volunteer. We are particularly pleased that the number of disabled participants in our great sport has increased during this period.”

The Active People Survey is conducted on behalf of Sport England and measures participation across a range of sports and activities. The figures which were announced today for the year from April 2014 to March 2015 show 2.227million people aged 16 and over taking part in athletics for at least 30min a week. This was an increase from 2.128million for the previous year. With the 14-16 age band included the number of weekly participants now reaches 2.357million.

Track and field athletics participation among over 16s rose from 94,300 to 107,900 over the same period.

One specific example of where England Athletics works collaboratively with others to develop running participation is through Run Group, a sector wide group made up of representatives of major organisations in the running community. Dave Moorcroft, the former 5,000m world record holder is now chair of Run Group. He said, “Running and athletics is a sport I have been privileged to be part of for more than 40 years. I am delighted to see the sport growing as I have seen so many different people of all abilities enjoying running. It is a natural, effective and simple form of physical activity.

“The running market consists of many organisations which have shown great creativity and innovation in offering exciting and accessible events, products and services which are making running even more attractive to people in communities across England. This is reflected in the growth we have seen over recent years.

“When this is combined with the work of volunteers involved in the many events and clubs nationwide it continues to make running an appealing and inspiring activity for a broad range of people.

“The sport makes a significant impact on so many important areas such as improving health and well-being, enhancing young people’s experience in education, and addressing inequalities. It is something we are very proud of and long may it continue.”

Another example of the growth of the sport is that in 2014 the number of licensed road running events in England rose to 2,405 from 2,115 in 2013.

For more information on Sport England and the Active People Survey see

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