A record number of runners finished marathons last year, while average times for finishers slowed overall, according to Running USA’s 2014 Annual Marathon Report, released this month.
Last year, 550,637 runners finished a 26.2-mile race, an increase of more than 9,000 people over the total from 2013. This continues 38 straight years of growth, with the exception of 2012, when Hurricane Sandy canceled the New York City Marathon.
Not surprisingly, average times slowed with the increase in participation. The averages of 4:19:27 for men and 4:44:19 for women were each up about three minutes from 2013. These times are each more than 40 minutes slower than the corresponding averages in 1980.
The 2014 NYC Marathon’s field of 50,386 was the largest ever for a marathon, according to Runner’s World. There were more than 1,200 marathons in 2014, compared to just 300 in the year 2000.