Strava asked 25,000 runners why they run, here’s what they said

We dissect the data.

Ever thought about why you go for a run? In the Why We Run survey, Strava surveyed 25,000 runners from all over the globe to find out what exactly motivates them to lace up and head out the door. Here’s what they found:

63% of runners said their favourite part of a run was the finish line

Perhaps unsurprisingly, for most runners, their favourite part of a run was when it was done. When looking at the different aspects of our sport that runners loved and hated, Strava found nearly three times as many runners tolerate the first km than love it, they also found men love running uphill (19% love, 2% hate) more than women do (10% love, 8% hate).

In fact, only 8% of runners said they ran because they loved running. 50% said they hate it, or merely tolerate it – Strava named this the ‘runner’s paradox’.

35% of runners in the UK citied body image as a reason why they run

When asked about the benefits they sought when they started, 35% of runners in the UK said it was to improve their body image. In fact, health is the main motivator around the world, whether this was because of a health scare, combatting anxiety or getting stronger – 40% of runners in the UK said they were running to be strong.

41% of runners globally run to reach a goal

Whether it was a half marathon, a marathon or weight loss, runners all over the world cited setting a goal as their biggest motivation to keep going.

Almost a third of weekend runs happen before 8am

The survey found that globally, the most popular time to get out for a run was in the morning. The data states, “Across weekdays and weekends, men are more likely to run later in the day than women. And by a wide margin, Spanish runners are the night owls of the bunch – almost half of their runs are completed in the evenings on weekdays, more than any other country we surveyed.”

The vast majority of runners cited running as helping them cope with a major life change

Strava write, “From experiencing a significant injury, to losing a loved one, over 30% of runners experienced a major life change in the past six months. The vast majority said that running helped them cope with these changes, especially the challenging ones. But more than any other adjustment—moving house, injury, marriage or divorce—78% of runners whose kids recently left home said running definitely helped.”

Almost half of runners surveyed said they ran with others

Almost half of the runners surveyed by Strava said they run with others, whether that was friends, a running club, or a sports team. According to the data, those who run in at least one group appear to enjoy running more than those running alone by a wide margin. This holds true for every country surveyed.

Strava found women are more likely to run in a club or group than their male counterparts. On the other hand, men are more likely to run with friends at work across all ages and countries surveyed.

See the full survey here.

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