More People Around the World Are Running

According to Runkeeper, after the Boston Marathon bombings, Massachusetts has seen 13 percent increase in runners.


runners image via shutterstock

Boston-based Runkeeper, a mobile app and software development company, whose flagship app has more than 30 million users, launched an initiative to track 118 million miles from March 1st to April 21st—the day of the 118th Boston Marathon—to celebrate the event.

Runkeeper is a free app that tracks pace, distance, and charts weight loss, in order to help users “crush their goals.” To join the 118 For Boston program, you can use Runkeeper to track your walks, bike rides, or any distance-based activity you do and then watch the miles from all over the world add up in real time.

“[We noticed] that a lot of our users were sharing RunKeeper trips on social media with mentions of the Boston Marathon and running because they wanted to show support for those affected by the tragedy,” says Erin Glabets, content manager at Runkeeper. “That inspired our efforts behind the campaign.”

Glabets says that the company looked at users runnings statistics in the month before last year’s Boston Marathon (March 2013), and the month after, (May 2013) and for a few years prior. “We saw a much bigger increase after the Marathon than in the previous years,” she says. “The trips per user percentage difference before and after the marathon was 16.66 percent in Boston and 13.20 in all of Massachusetts. In 2012, those numbers were 1.22 percent and .39, respectively. As a note, we used trips per user as a metric to account for the fact that running trips overall didn’t increase just because our user base did, but that each user on average was running more than the year prior.”

And it’s not just Boston and Massachusetts that had significant changes. New York City also had a 10 percent increase in runners using the app to track their data. Although this data specifically measures people using the Runkeeper app, it is still a good measure of how the running community decided to lace up after the bombings.

“It’s hard to zero on the Marathon as the main contributing factor behind [the increased numbers] because factors such as weather and the changing nature of our user base always play an part in number changes, but we do think these metrics really show that people were not scared away from running or held down after what happened at the 2013 Boston Marathon,” Glabets says. “The increase in running in Boston and Massachusetts is especially meaningful when you consider the lockdown that happened the Friday after the marathon, and that many people likely left town in that period. Those that stuck around really played their part and got out and ran.”

There’s still a few days left to download the free app and log your miles to contribute to the campaign. At press time, 118 For Boston is just shy of 90,000,000 miles. So download, log in, and hit the pavement.