The Cellcom Green Bay Half Marathon sold out this past Sunday to 6,000 participants.
The marathon has over 1,500 participants registered and will hopefully reach 2,000 by May 1st. While distance running in general continues to boom, the half marathon in particular is the growth engine of the sport. According to Running USA, the number of 13.1 mile finishers has grown by 10% or more annually since 2006. No other U.S. road distance comes close to this growth rate during the Second Running Boom.
What’s driving this growth? First of all women. The “daughters of title 9” are reaching the prime age for distance running (35-45) which is fueling a massive surge in female participation. Women account for a stunning two-thirds of our audience in the half marathon each year. I always tell single friends of mine they should show up for the Prevea Training Runs on Saturday given the large number of athletic, goal-oriented women who attend.
The second factor is a more general change in the psychological makeup of the running audience. Thirty years ago, running was a sport for the competitive-minded and was dominated by men. Nowadays, participants are less concerned about their overall ranking and more concerned about just crossing the finish line. As a friend of mine likes to say, “the walls of intimidation have crumbled.” We have shifted from a competitor mindset to a participant mindset. This is a good thing, especially for a society facing health problems including childhood obesity.
Whatever your reason for running — competition, health, wellness, weight loss, stress relief — we’re glad you’re choosing to participate in our event!