According to a survey 3,500 runners in seven European countries by Asics, 54% said they run for fitness while 40% claimed they ran to lose weight. Thirty four percent said declared they do it for fun and 35% as a means of stress-relief.
Executed by the research institute Synovate, ASICS' 'Reasons to Run' research asked more than 3,500 runners in seven European countries to reveal the 'why?' behind their actions, making it the biggest study of its kind ever.
On average, Europeans wish to lose 6.1kgs by running, but the Dutch go above and beyond this target with a goal of 9.5kgs. On the topic of running partners, the British hold the highest number of runners who run with their babies in strollers while the Italians hold the highest percentage of running-club memberships (13%) as they enjoy the company of a running partner the most. When asked what goes through their minds whilst running, the Spanish declared they scrutinize other runners they see, while the French focus on their breath, pace and rhythm, the British worry about their finances and the current credit crunch, and Belgians think about nothing at all.
The countries that participated are Great Britain, France, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany, and the results are a representation of the 80 million runners in these European countries.
Asics said the findings range from a general consensus over certain aspects (such as why people start to run) to factors that differ hugely between nations (such as motivation to continue, injury prevention, and preferred locations). These differences are down to the fact that the runner's mindset profile greatly resembles their country's disposition. The hard-working Germans, for example, are diligent runners who don't like to give up, while the joie-de-vivre French run mainly for fun. The down-to-earth qualities of the Dutch mean they are not bothered by anything while running in contrast to the passionate Spanish who find they are easily irritated.
Asics said that not since the first running boom of the early seventies, when people realized that running was a reliable means of getting healthy, has the world of running seen such an immense escalation in runners. Progressively more runners appearing in parks, streets and gyms, a surge in numbers on marathon registration lists (with a total of 494 marathons taking place in Europe alone), and a huge increase in women taking up the sport (33% of European women started in the last 12 months) are just some of the signs highlighting what is now known as the 'second running wave'. This latest boom is emphasized by the fact that a third of today's runners started in the last year and the numbers just keep growing, with the current total of European runners exceeding 80 million.