RunSignup reported a mid-year update on race trends, showing that pre-race registrations have continued to increase after nearly matching 2019 numbers in 2023. On average, registrations grew 8 percent compared to 2023. 

Early 2024 data from RunSignup, the employee-owned company that offers online race management tools for endurance events and nonprofits, shows that prices have increased and younger runners are slowly making their way to races.

Other key takeaways from the company’s report include:

  • Large races (5,000+) grew 9 percent. Midsize and large races have seen a slower post-pandemic recovery than small races, with races of more than 5,000 participants still lagging 16 percent behind 2019 levels in 2023. Early 2024 shows a reason for big races to be encouraged, with races of 1,000 to 5,000 participants and races of 5,000-plus participants increasing an average 9 percent compared to 2023.
  • Race churn steady at 5 percent. Before the pandemic, RunSignup found that 5 to 7 percent of races over 500 participants did not recur in the following year. In 2023, that number returned to normal at 5.9 percent and is forecasted to be consistent in the first half of 2024.
  • Average price rose 4 percent to 9 percent. Races continue to raise prices to compensate for inflation and increased costs, with 10 K’s showing the biggest change— 2024 prices are 9 percent higher than 2023 and 20 percent higher than 2019.
  • 16 percent of participants are between ages 18 and 29. Race participation by 18- to 29-year-olds continues to increase slightly in the first half of 2024, up from 15 percent in 2023. However, while it’s encouraging that youth participation has increased for the third year in a row, participation levels lag behind the 2015 to 2017 rates of 18 percent to 22 percent.

RunSignup Founder and CEO Bob Bickel said, “The data from the first half of 2024 tells us the same thing our customers and research have suggested: the endurance industry has not only bounced back, it is growing. Now is the time to capitalize on enthusiasm with engaging race day experiences that will bring runners back year after year.”

Image courtesy Maine Coast Marathon