Insight Update

Strava reveals activity trends from 48 million athletes worldwide

Strava’s annual Year in Sport report has revealed activity trends from 48 million people in 195 countries, the world’s largest community of athletes.

In its tentth year, Strava has seen a million new athletes join the platform every month. Half the peloton at the Tour de France and nearly half of all runners from the London Marathon shared their race on the social network for athletes in 2019.

In the UK, 7.5 per cent of adults are on Strava. Between them, they recorded 308.5 million km run and 937.2 million km cycled – equivalent to 31,084 times the circumference of the earth.

The Year in Sport report maps the biggest trends in sport for 2019 including the secrets to motivation, the gender divide in cycle commuting, the rise of ultramarathons and tech-enabled indoor training and, for the first time, gear and tech trends from the last 12 months.
Key findings are summarised below:

Athletes are pushing themselves further
Last year, 5.8% of runners in the UK completed a marathon or ultramarathon.
There has been a 7.6% increase in the share of runners who have run a marathon or an ultramarathon. The UK experienced a 3.9% increase.
Interestingly, most ultra-marathon runners on the platform have never uploaded a marathon to Strava.

Women more likely to workout together as safety fears remain
For both runs and rides, women are more likely to exercise with other people than men. In the UK, 27% of rides by men are grouped vs. 37% of rides by women and 22% of runs by men are grouped vs. 32% by women
With almost half of all female runners saying that they don’t feel safe when they are out alone (England Athletics, 2017) Strava data reveals that nearly half of all runs recorded by women in the evenings are with someone else.

The ‘parkrun effect’ is getting people active
Whilst increasing numbers of athletes are pushing themselves to run further and longer, British runners have also embraced the 5k distance in the year that parkrun celebrated its 15th anniversary.
About a third of all parkruns in the UK are uploaded to Strava.
The popularity of this growing community in the UK helps to explain why the average distance run by British athletes is shorter than the global average (5.8km vs. 6.6km) and their US counterparts (6.4km).

Virtual workouts are on the rise
As platforms like Zwift and TrainerRoad continue to grow, virtual cycle rides are up 4.7% in June and 9.7% in January (2015-2019) – helping athletes to train in all seasons. 
Data from the Year in Sport report demonstrates how adverse weather conditions impact athlete activity. As the world sees more frequent extreme weather events, technology is helping athletes to train in whatever the season or weather.

Britain is worse than Europe on the gender divide in cycle commuting
In the UK, women are 12% less likely to cycle than men when commuting, compared to a global average of 6.7%. In London, however, it is more equal with women just 2.7% less likely than men.
France, Germany and Spain are all much closer to equal likelihood – suggesting that Britain should learn from its European counterparts when it comes to cycle infrastructure.

Gareth Mills, UK Country Manager of Strava, said: “There’s so much to celebrate in the Year in Sport this year. The growth of distance running on Strava is mindblowing, and something I don’t believe has been captured effectively in the past. As we are living increasingly sedentary lifestyles, particularly in developed countries, perhaps the call of the marathon or ultramarathon distance becomes a way of combating this trend for many of our community.
“At the same time, we are clearly engaging a broader range of athletes than ever before – from 50 per cent of the pro peloton at the Tour de France to almost a third of parkrunners in the UK.
“The data also spotlights areas for improvement. It is disappointing to see that British women are much less likely to commute by bike than men compared to the global average, and we should refocus on the root causes. Organisations around the world, including TfL, are working with Strava Metro to find insights in our data which can support better infrastructure planning – and it’s great to see that London performs far better than the UK average in this area.”

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