Running Statistics UK – How Popular Is Running In 2024?

How popular is running in the UK in 2024? We polled 2,000 people and collated some other facts and figures to find out.

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Donning a pair of trainers and getting out for a run is a popular means of keeping fit. It offers up a whole host of physical and mental health benefits, whether it’s just for fun or competitively. But how many people run in the UK in 2024? 

Let’s take a look in our running statistics 2024 round up.

Running Statistics: A Quick Sprint

If you’re just here for the speedy stats (every pun intended), here are the most important figures to be aware of:

  • 1 in 5 people over 16 in the UK say they will go running at least monthly in 2024
  • Men (20.76%) are just a little more likely than women (17.98%) to be planning to run in 2024
  • Running is particularly popular with the 35 to 44 age group in the UK, 30.12% of whom say they will run at least monthly in the UK in 2024
  • It is least popular with the 55+ age group, where just 8.3% say they’ll do it in 2024
  • There are over 92 million posts on Instagram (as of January 2024) with the hashtag #running

Now, if you fancy slowing the pace to a jog so you can hang around for all the details, you’ll find more information about those running facts within. Let’s go!

How Popular is Running in 2024?

To find out how popular running is in the UK in 2024, we polled the public. With the help of a market research company, we surveyed 2,000 people aged 16 and over in the UK in January 2024 and asked:

  • What sporting/fitness activities, if any, do you expect you`ll do at least monthly on average in 2024? (Tick all that apply)
 
We then gave them a list of sporting activities to choose from plus the ability to specify others.

Running was the top chosen activity with 19.40% of respondents saying they plan to run monthly in 2024.

Here’s those responses in summary:

 Proportion Who Will Run At Least Monthly in 2024
All19.40%
Men20.76%
Women17.98%

So we see men are likelier to run at least monthly in the UK but the difference isn’t significant. This appears to be a fitness activity that has cross gender appeal.

Running Popularity by Age in the UK in 2024

Where we saw some real variation, however, is in the responses broken down by age.

Here are the figures.

 Proportion Who Will Run At Least Monthly in 2024
16 – 2422.87%
25 – 3428.35%
35 – 4430.12%
45 – 5423.97%
55+8.31%

running statistics by age 2024

The least likely to run are those aged 55 and over. But this isn’t a simple sliding scale where the older someone is the less likely they are to run. In fact the keenest runners are those aged 35 to 44.

The youngest people in our survey were less likely than those aged between 25 and 54 to run.

Where in the UK are the Keenest Runners?

Our survey also broke down responses by the region in which they live.

And there’s a notable variation in the proportion of people who expect to run at least monthly.

RegionProportion Who Will Run At Least Monthly in 2024
East of England14.97%
Greater London27.97%
East Midlands14.77%
West Midlands14.12%
North East17.50%
North West19.37%
Northern Ireland21.43%
Scotland23.42%
South East20.58%
South West16.57%
Wales15.05%
Yorkshire and Humber20.61%

running statistics regionally

London followed by Scotland is where people are likeliest to say they’ll run in 2024 with 27% and 23% respectively.

At the opposite end of the scale is West Midlands (14.12%) and East Midlands (14.77%).

In other words, people in London are almost twice as likely to run at least monthly as those in the West or East Midlands.

Running on Social Media – The Numbers

Have you even been for a run if you haven’t Instagrammed it?

running on mobile phone

Well, yes, of course you have. But the running community on social media is massive with people using social media platforms for accountability and to inspire others.

At the time of writing, there are over 92 million posts on Instagram with the hashtag #running and that’s not the only one either. Other popular running related hashtags on Instagram are:

  • #runningmotivation – 10.7 million posts as of January 2024
  • #runninglife – 2.3 million
  • #runningcommunity – 5.1 million
  • #trailrunning – 18 million
  • #runninggirl – 5.2 million
  • #runningman – 4.6 milli0n

 

Getting Started with Running – Couch to 5k

runner ready to start couch to 5k

One incredibly popular way people get started with running is through the Couch to 5K program. Did you know. Here are a few facts about that:

  •  The NHS Couch to 5k app has been downloaded more than 6.5 million times
  • On average over the last 12 months there have been 55,000 searches per month in Google UK for “couch to 5k.”
  • Searches peaked though in January 2021 when there were 246,000 searches in Google UK for “couch to 5k” according to statistics from kwfinder.com (Covid lockdown coupled with New Year resolutions probably contributing here)

Running in 2024

Running is an incredibly popular active pastime in the UK in 2024. According to our statistics, it’s the activity people are most likely to take part in at least once a month. And it’s easy to see why:

  • It’s good for you
  • It’s low cost
  • It can be done almost anywhere
 

Not going to lie. I’m not a runner personally… I prefer hiking. But whether you’re looking to get into long distance running competitively or just get a bit more active in 2024, taking up running will see you part of a community of millions.

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