Running Statistics UK – How Popular Is Running In 2021?

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Running has become one of the biggest forms of exercise around the world. It can reap fantastic rewards and health benefits for many people. We will be going through some key statistics, facts and figures to further understand the art of running.

Running Statistics: A Quick Version

Here’s just a quick rundown of the types of things we will be focusing on in this article. However, we would always recommend reading on as we go more in depth on certain aspects.

  • Nearly 1 million downloads for the “Couch to 5k” app

 

  • 4.9 billion views for #running on TikTok

 

  • 6 million people run once a week

How Popular Is Running In The UK?

Running has been a huge part of the UK for many years, with the likes of athletes such as Paula Radcliffe and Mo Farah. Throughout recent years, it’s become more and more popular. There are many reasons for this, for example, the recent pandemic. This global event caused a surge in people wanting to change their life and live a healthier lifestyle, and with that came running. 

The app “Couch to 5k” has grown tremendously and continues to be downloaded to this day. In the summer of 2020, there were just under 1 million (858,000) downloads of the app. This is a gigantic jump from 1 year prior. In 2019, there were only 448,000 downloads in the same time frame. This 92% increase of downloads just goes to show how popular running is across the UK.

The graph above shows how popular the term ‘running’ was on Google by people searching it between April 2019 and April 2021. It’s clear that during the start of summer time in 2020, there was a large volume of people searching for topics to do with running. Although there was another slight spike at the start of 2021, it did kind of slow down a bit. However, there’s still a larger volume than throughout 2019. This reinforces the idea that running has become more popular. 


Also, in 2010, there were only 2 million people running at least once a week. If we compare that to 10 years later, there are approximately 6 million people running at least once a week. This is a great increase in the number of runners which could easily continue to grow in coming years.

Where Is The Running Capital In The UK In 2021?

On average, the term ‘running’ gets searched on Google 1.06 times out of every 1000 people. However, when you delve further into the data, there are some areas of the UK that are more popular than others when it comes to search volumes. The table below shows the top 10 most popular places in the UK in terms of how many people per 1000 search the term ‘running’.

 

AreaAverage Amount Of Searches Per MonthNumber Of People Searching Per 1000 People
Stockport2001.88
Belfast4601.64
Cambridge2301.57
Bristol8301.54
Peterborough2401.48
Bath1401.47
Glasgow8701.47
Wigan1501.44
Edinburgh6601.43
Manchester7201.4

The figures in this table were calculated by dividing the number of searches per area by the total area population and multiplying that figure by 1,000.

With this table in mind, there are a few key points we can make:

  • Stockport is a clear winner when it comes to how many people on average search for the term ‘running’, despite having a fairly small population compared to other areas.

 

  • London isn’t in the top 10 even though it has the highest population by area (It comes 47th on the list with 1.02 per 1000 people)

 

  • Newport, Wales is the least popular when it comes to the number of people per 1000 with only 0.15.

Running On Social Media

Social media can be a great place to meet like-minded people who are interested in similar things. Hundreds and thousands of people use social media to support their love of running. One example to use is TikTok. The #running has a gigantic 4.9 billion views altogether with the most popular video on that hashtag gaining 14.7 million likes. This reinforces the idea that running is an extremely mainstream sport/exercise with millions of people being involved in some degree. 

Instagram also has a huge amount of posts related to running. There are over 75 million posts using  #running. This figure indicates that all across social media, people are getting involved in running, whether that’s posting, watching or actually running.

Running has brought many people together over the years, but more recently, it seems as though there has been a slight surge in popularity across social media and in real life. People use many different techniques to motivate themselves to run, including the hugely downloaded Couch to 5k app.

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