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Strava’s Year in Sport report tells the story of running during COVID-19

We already knew there was a running boom this year, but Strava's latest report is proof that we ran a whole lot in 2020

Photo by: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

We didn’t need hard numbers to tell us there was a running boom in 2020, but Strava’s Year in Sport data report has confirmed that fact. There are many interesting stats to come out of this report, and if you’re on Strava, you’ve probably already seen your own personal year in review. Here are a few of the most mind-boggling and shocking numbers highlighted in the Year in Sport for 2020 — a year in which we all ran extremely far. 

Skyrocketing in popularity 

Outdoor walking took the top spot for the Strava activity with the highest increase in popularity between 2019 and 2020, but the running still saw quite a big jump, too. From April to June in 2020, athletes uploaded 1.9 times more outdoor runs compared to the same period in 2019. As for indoor runs, 1.3 times more activities were uploaded to Strava in 2020 versus 2019. 

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Mixing it up 

With nothing else to do this year due to lockdowns, many runners decided to try new activities on Strava as well. Cycling was the most popular activity for runners (other than running, of course), and 11.2 per cent of us posted outdoor rides to Strava in 2020 for the first time ever. Outdoor walks came in a close second (10.8 per cent of Strava runners posted these activities for the first time this year) and indoor workouts finished in a distant third at 5.3 per cent.  

dynamic running uphill on trail male athlete runner side view

Solo marathons 

Events around the world were cancelled this year, but that didn’t stop runners from creating their own races and time trials. The total number of marathons uploaded to Strava was down from 2019, but that’s due to the fact that there were next to no official marathons available to race. Even so, Strava users uploaded hundreds of thousands of marathons, 44 per cent of which were run solo. This is reportedly up from just 14 per cent in 2019, back when most of us wouldn’t even consider running a marathon all alone. 

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Personal bests 

This year was a big one for Strava PBs. According to the Year in Sport report, of the athletes who have had Strava since at least 2019, 55 per cent ran PBs in the 5K, 10K, half-marathon or full marathon. They might not have been run in official races, but moving forward, we all know what we’re capable of running when we finally do return to in-person events.

A lot of running 

In 2020, Strava users ran a whopping three billion kilometres. That’s farther than the distance from Earth to Uranus. Strava runners also climbed a collective 28.8 billion metres this year, which works out to climbing Mount Everest 3.25 million times. That’s a lot of running. 

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