Runner survey: results and analysis

The results of my casual (meaning non-scientific) survey of race participants are in. 403 people responded, which I think is a good sampling. They hail from across the spectrum of runner types, from absolute beginners (“Newbies”) to professional elites (well, three of them; I wish I knew who they were).

Download the survey: “What do race participants want?”

Although I “advertised” the survey in many venues (NYRR, USATF and Running Times Facebook pages and the LetsRun.com message boards, as well as via Twitter), I suspect that close to half of the responses originated from the Runner’s World online forums. I shamelessly spammed those forums when responses started dwindling at around 180, and they picked up to a wildly healthy clip in the hours and days after hitting RW.com.

Note that I am not a professional survey maker, nor do I know a thing about statistics. I am a regular person such as yourself. Meaning an amateur.


Groovy pie charts, tables and highlights make for easy comprehension.

Since I have heavily notated the PDF of the results, I won’t post analysis here. If you’re that interested, then click the link below. I will note that there are some excellent ideas for race directors contained herein, and I was very surprised by some of the results, others not so much.

Survey respondents had some great observations and ideas. Like these!

Anyway, once again, in case you missed that first link — read it for yourself by downloading it here: Survey: “What do race participants want?”

Once again, I offer my thanks and gratitude to the 403 runners who took the time to complete the survey.

4 Responses

  1. Some comments (they go backwards since I’m scrolling up on the survey). Generally these comments concern NYRR, which may be unique among racing organizations.

    NYRR has had qualifying times for its big races — marathon and HM — for years, and they are slower now than they used to be.

    In Masters Champs, USATF has athletes wear a bib with their age groups on the back. I suggested this a few years back to NYRR for the Marathon, using predicted times within 10 mins. of the prior year’s 3d in the AG as the line (so everyone didn’t get another number). Needs to be on the back.

    I, too, have several of those unbreathable “tech” shirts, and some of them don’t fit properly either.

    Number transferring is a big issue. I think a concern is scalping, that organizations will buy up tons of entries and then resell them.

    The gun time/chip time is also a touchy one. The rules say first across the line (i.e., chip time) wins, but I’m pretty sure NYRR has gone to chip time for awards (although in 2006 I have two “official” times, chip and gun, the latter for AG). Whatever it is should be made clear.

    On corrals, note that NYRR has gone to an extra one at front for 1-99.

    NYRRC (as it was then known) used to require membership in TAC (USATF’s predecessor) for the marathon. Did away with it years ago.

  2. That’s good stuff. Howsabout in your article we include a slug to view the PDF on the RT site, with your comments? A lot of readers will be interested to see the survey underlying your article.

    • That’s an excellent idea. While not “official” (meaning “professionally composed and administered”), a survey is still better than no survey. Meaning it’s a big step up from, say, anecdotes gathered from a dozen people I know.

  3. [...] Runner survey: results and analysis [...]

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