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Profiling The Largest U.S. Road Races

The top 100 largest-timed U.S. road races include 42 half-marathons.

The top 100 largest-timed U.S. road races include 42 half-marathons.

From: Running USA

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — As part of its mission to promote and celebrate the sport, Running USA annually releases statistics for the nation’s top road races including such popular lists as the Top 100 U.S. Timed, Largest by Distance, Largest by State, Largest Festivals, Women-Only, World’s Largest and Youth Runs. Below is a summary of each category with tables.

Top 100 U.S. Timed – In 2011, the Top 100 U.S. Timed list accounted for more than 1.6 million finishers (an all-time high) compared to 922,500 finishers in 2000, a 75% increase. In 2000 the 100th race on the U.S. list had more than 3,600 finishers and by 2011 that number had grown to more than 8,000. Last year, half-marathons accounted for 42% of the races listed in the Top 100, with 15 of these being represented by Competitor Group’s popular Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series. As mentioned in previous State of the Sport Reports, since 2003, the half-marathon has been the fastest growing distance in the U.S., with women leading the charge. See Table 1.

Also, for the first time in the same year, there were 5 U.S. road races with more than 40,000 timed finishers: Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionPeachtree Road Race 10K, Lilac Bloomsday Run 12K, Dick’s Sporting Goods BolderBOULDER 10K, ING New York City Marathon and Zazzle Bay to Breakers 12K plus a record 11 U.S. road races with more than 30,000 timed finishers.

Table 1: Top 100 U.S. Timed Road Races (2000 vs. 2011)
2000 2011
Events Finishers Events Finishers
5K 25 244,391 9 101,700
10K 15 113,649 9 237,946
Half-Marathon 10 63,736 42 563,293
Marathon 18 204,322 11 215,950
OVERALL TOP 100 TOTAL 100 922,500 100 1,611,599


Largest by Distance – Table 2 lists the U.S. largest races by distance in 2011. For a complete list of rankings by distance, go to:

Table 2: Largest by Distance (2011)

1 Mile               4,709                NYRR Fifth Avenue Mile (New York, NY)

2 Mile               4,687                Montana Women’s Run (Billings, MT)

5K                    34,751E            Race for the Cure: DC (6,951 timed) (Washington, DC)

3.5 Mile             15,923              JPMorgan Corporate Challenge: NYC #1 (New York, NY)

4 Mile               22,676              Pat’s Run 4.2 Mile (Tempe, AZ)

8K                    32,442              Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle (Chicago, IL)

5 Mile               13,472              75th Manchester Road Race 4.75 Mile (Manchester, CT)

10K                  55,077              Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race (Atlanta, GA) – largest ever

7 Mile               11,144              Quad-City Times Bix 7 (Davenport, IA)

12K                  51,303              Lilac Bloomsday Run (Spokane, WA)

15K                  14,979              Gate River Run (Jacksonville, FL)

10 Mile              25,244              Blue Cross Broad Street Run (Philadelphia, PA)

20K                  7,037                Dam to Dam (Des Moines, IA)

Half Marathon   33,257     Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas (Las Vegas, NV) – largest U.S. ever

25K                  5,586                Fifth Third River Bank Run (Grand Rapids, MI)

30K                  3,832                ING New York City Marathon Tune-Up 18 Mile (New York, NY)

Marathon          47,133              ING New York City Marathon (New York, NY) – largest ever

Ultra                 864                   JFK 50 Mile Trail (Boonsboro, MD)

Relay                14,616              Beach to Bay Relay Marathon (Corpus Christi, TX)

Largest by State – The Race for the Cure: St. Louis Festival ranks Missouri as #1 on the map for largest festival event. Below is a list of the Top 10 states who had either the largest stand-alone or the largest festival events reported in 2011.

Table 3: Top 10 Festival Largest by State (2011)

Missouri                 55,393 E           Race for the Cure: St. Louis Festival

Georgia                  55,077              Atlanta-Journal Constitution Peachtree Festival

New York               53,020              ING New York City Marathon Festival

Washington                 51,303              Lilac Bloomsday 12K

Colorado                       49,213              Dick’s Sporting Goods BolderBOULDER 10K

California                      43,954              Zazzle Bay to Breakers 12K

Florida                            43,856              Walt Disney World Marathon Festival

Ohio                                 42,633 E           Race for the Cure: Columbus Festival

Minnesota                   42,500 E            Race for the Cure: Twin Cities Festival

Arkansas                     39,100 E            Race for the Cure: Little Rock Festival

E = estimate not all finishers timed

Largest Festivals – Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure events include 8 races in the top 20 festivals for 2011. Festivals continue to experience tremendous growth during the Second Running Boom. In 2009, the Top 50 festivals included approximately 1.5 million finishers, whereas by 2011, the number had increased to 1.6 million.

Women-Only – As reported in previous State of the Sport Reports, females now account for 7.6 million finishers nationwide (a record number) and represent the highest event field percentage ever reported of 55%. Of the largest women-only races (95% or greater female finishers), six of the top 15 were half-marathons in 2011, with the Nike Women’s and Disney’s Princess Half-Marathons dominating spots #1 and #2, respectively.

World’s Largest – With 68,929 timed finishers in 2011, the Sun-Herald City2Surf 14K in Sydney, Australia was again the world’s largest road race. For the second time (also 2010), six marathons – New York City, Chicago, London, Berlin, Tokyo and Paris – had more than 30,000 finishers in the same year.

Also for the first time, there were four half-marathons worldwide that had more than 30,000 finishers (Göteborg, Bupa Great North Run, Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas and OneAmerica 500 Festival) plus a record eight half-marathons worldwide with more than 20,000 finishers, and last year, based on finishers, the United States had 14 of the top 20 half-marathons in the world.

Largest Youth – With the development of the final mile programs and the majority of road race events now incorporating a youth component, youth runs across the nation continue to experience growth. While many youth events continue to be untimed fun runs, making tracking of these events difficult, Running USA estimates that there were more than 35 youth events in 2011 that surpassed 2,000 youth finishers at a single event.

To see where your favorite road races ranked in 2011 or what the #1 race is per the different largest race categories, go to:


Running USA. Running USA advances the growth and success of the running industry. State of the Sport reports, many types of running data and lists of the largest races from past years can be found on in the “Statistics” section. Running USA statistics are powered by Athlinks.

For full report, click here.