Strava, the social network for athletes, released its annual Year In Sport data report – revealing new insights into its community of over 36 million athletes in 195 countries.
Over the past year, Strava athletes from all over the world uploaded more than 624 million activities, collectively covering more than 10.7 billion km. December 2018 has also seen the two billionth activity upload, with the community’s increasingly rapid growth credited to three groups on the platform: women, runners, and athletes located outside Strava’s original home in the United States.
Globally, cyclists covered more than 8.7 billion km in 2018 – far enough to get from Earth to Pluto. Runners covered 1.5 billion total km with an average distance of 8.2 km per run. From a UK and Ireland perspective, cyclists clocked up just over 1 billion km on 42.3 million rides, with runners lacing up for 269 million km and 42.1 million runs.
Cycle and Run Stats
Cyclists from England were shown to be the most active in terms of regularity, but they were eclipsed by their Northern Irish, Irish and Welsh counterparts when it came to how far they ride. Meanwhile, on a local level, Londoners were the most active, followed closely by those from Edinburgh and Castlereagh. Ballymoney in Northern Ireland has the fastest cyclists, clocking an impressive average speed of 26.1kph.
From a running perspective, Ireland topped the most active table, followed by Scotland and Northern Ireland, with England sitting in fourth. Irish runners were also the fastest overall, with an average pace of 5:49 min/km. On a local level, Derry in Northern Ireland boasts the fastest (and most active) runners, followed by Antrim and Glasgow.
From the global scale of the data, it’s possible to see clear trends regarding how Strava members stay motivated to exercise. Goal setting has a dramatic impact on perseverance, with those who set goals – either by distance or time – proven to stay more active. Cyclists who set goals were 15.1% more active, alongside runners who were 14.2% more active.
Similarly, being social leads to a significant improvement in overall activity and distance. Solo cyclists averaged 28.6km, whilst those who rode as part of a group averaged 49km. Those who joined a Strava Club also uploaded three times more activities. Add to this the results of 2018 research from Glasgow Caledonian University which found that 89% of people said that Strava made them more motivated to exercise and you can see that 36 million people can’t be wrong!
Another insight from this year’s report is that people who mix up their sports don’t split their time between the different activities – they dramatically multiply their overall efforts, exercising more than twice as much. Those who uploaded activities from two or more different sports recorded 15.3 activities per month compared to those who only uploaded runs (6.1) or rides (6.7).
It’s not all sweat and hard work, as we can also see athletes around the world aren’t afraid of a bit of indulgence. Beer ranked as one of the major things that both runners and cyclists talked about in activity titles on Strava (over 650,000 times in fact) with coffee and cake completing the top three!
Most Popular Places to Exercise
One of the most popular cycling destinations in the world has been shown to be Box Hill in Surrey, where there have been 492,520 attempts. Alongside this, the most popular running route in excess of 5km was the home of parkrun – Bushy Park in Southwest London, which regularly sees around 1,000 people turning out at 9am on a Saturday morning.
Gareth Mills, UK Country Manager at Strava, said: “We’ve analysed billions of athletic data points from Strava’s 36 million members and put them to good use for Strava’s Year in Sport 2018 report. As we hit 2 billion activities uploaded from the community, one thing that stands out especially is the importance of social exercise.
“Our data shows that sociability dramatically improves motivation – joining a club, setting a goal and exercising in a group – all boost activity.”