RunSignup released its Annual RaceTrends Report that showed participation in endurance events on its platform in 2020 and 2021 had an average growth rate of 21.6 percent; however, participation was down from the pre-pandemic year.

Shifting event types, from in-person to virtual and back again, contributed to lower loyalty levels and fewer participants returning to the same event year after year. Key takeaways regarding overall participation include:

  • 2021 participation levels improved throughout the year, with October 2021 participation just 11.9 percent below that of the same month in 2019
  • 18 percent of 2019 events did not recur in 2020, including 10.7 percent that did not take place in either 2020 or 2021
  • In-person events bounced back, with 79.6 percent of participants opting for in-person events (compared to 59.8 percent in 2020), but remained significantly higher than in 2019 when just 1 percent of participants were virtual

Despite the continued impact of the pandemic on overall participation, most data points showed patterns that were remarkably similar to pre-pandemic years. The timing of registrations, demographics, and average pricing all reverted to levels that resembled 2019. Notable trends include:

  • 4 percent of participants identified as female, on-par with the 55.8 percent who registered as female in 2019
  • 2 percent of participants registered on race week, much like the 24.2 percent of race week registrations in 2019
  • Despite downward pricing pressure from virtual events, 5K’s in 2021 were down just 2.3 percent compared to 2019, coming in at an average of $27.40

Race day trends from the year include growth in the roster of services offered by race timers, rapid adoption of the RaceDay CheckIn App, and an increase in spectator participation for events using the RaceJoy runner tracking app.

CEO and Founder Bob Bickel said, “Considering the challenges facing the industry over the last two years, it’s remarkable how much recovery we saw this year. We expect to see some lingering impacts but are encouraged by the enthusiastic return of in-person participants and the identifiable trend back towards normalcy.”

To read the full report, go here.