Since 2003, the half-marathon has been the fastest growing road distance race in the United States, according to Running USA's 2013 Half-Marathon Report. Last year, the 13.1-mile race had 1.85 million finishers, a 14.9 percent increase from 2011. In the last seven years, the number of finishers grew by ten percent or more each year. Here's a quick look at the growth of half-marathons, and how that growth compares to other races, by the numbers.
284%: Finisher increase since 2000, from 482,000 in 2000 to 1,850,000 in 2012
60%: Of 2012 finishers were women, a record high
36: Half-marathons with 10,000 or more finishers, a data point that has doubled since 2007, when 17 races with such numbers existed
31,170: Finishers in the OneAmerica 500 Mini-Marathon in Indianapolis, Indiana, the nation's largest half-marathon
44,094: Finishers in the Göteburg, Sweden, half-marathon, the world's largest
30: Inaugeral half-marathons in the U.S. last year
1,500: Half-marathons estimated in the U.S.—a rough number
6%: Decrease in marathon finishers from 2011 to 2012, from 518,000 to 487,000. The loss was the first time since 2001 that the annual estimated number of U.S. marathon finishers declined. If the sold-out and canceled NYC Marathon had been held, it is likely the 2012 total would have exceeded 2011 numbers. In 2011, 47,000 finishers were tallied in the NYC Marathon.
3,558%: Participant increase in obstacle races, which include Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash, and Spartan Race. Competitors increased from 41,000 in 2010 to 1,500,000 in 2012.
To train for a half-marathon, check out "Yes You Can: Run a Half-Marathon." For more on the explosive growth in obstacle races, read "Playing Dirty." If you're inspired, check out "Yes You Can: Run a Tough Mudder."
H/T: Runner's World