The Rise of Running Around the UK

Running has seen a profound increase in popularity over the past couple of years. Everyone knows someone who has invested in a new pair of running shoes or bought some extra gear to run in: headphones or perhaps a phone holder?  

We wanted to dive into this in more detail, we wanted to find where in the UK is researching different race distances and where are looking for different types of running shoes. 


So we put a foot to the floor and our fingers to the keyboards to do just that. Using data from 2019 through to the start of 2022, Google Search volumes reveal popularity changes for different key categories.


According to the data, running related searches spiked in 2021 with the average UK county searching around 700 times per 10,000 people. This beat 2019’s average search volume by 47%. 


Two northern counties rank towards the top for the biggest overall running popularity increase with residents of Durham and Northumberland seeing the largest rises in relevant search volumes. 


Running shoe research is up 41% compared to data three years ago. The biggest riser in this category has been trail running shoes which has spiked by 58% compared to 2019 and 26% compared to 2020. This is a homage to the revival of the love for the Great British outdoors. Road running popularity is almost 40% more than that in 2019.


Runners in Durham, South Yorkshire and West Midlands are the runners where trainers are up the most with increases of 200%, 73% and 72% respectively. 


Accessories for running have also seen an increase of popularity over the past few years with research up 19% over the past three years. Notably, headphones, phone holders and, interestingly, socks have increased the most.


Lincolnshire and Durham are amongst those doing the most research for different running shoes with runners in Merseyside, Hertfordshire and Warwickshire making up the top five. 


Certain social running events have also increased in popularity with charity runs and fun runs amongst the most popular socials in the running community. When it comes to races, too, we can see a clear distinction between events, 5k is way out in the lead in terms of popularity. Marathons rank surprisingly high in popularity with the second highest demand. 


Whether your running is competitive, social or just down the local canal-side path with your dog there’s a shoe, accessory or even an event perfect for you. Take some time to have research and you might stumble on some of the best moments of your running life. 


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