By James Moreland
April 14, 2011
For the Washington Running Report
Photo below: runners kick off the spring racing season at the St. Patrick’s Day 8K.
Running is going just the reverse of the economy. Races for spring are already in full b(l)oom. People must have more time to race and more and more are aware that running is good for your health. It is so good sometimes that it might be feared addictive. We will have to wait for another study for the answer.
Since the beginning of the spring (and many races claim that distinction, though our claim is the St. Patrick’s Day 8K on the weekend of March 12-13), there have been 135 races with published results in the region. We have nearly 400 races in the calendar for the spring ranking period which ends Memorial Day.
Of course true spring did not start until the middle of March. And naturally one can never judge the season by the temperature in this region. One day it is sunny and 85 degrees. The next day the winds blow in the rain that is just warm enough to not be snow.
For sure, spring expects to be the busiest racing season. Only once was fall greater and that was all the back in 2005. As the chart below indicates, since 2005 participation is growing about 10% a year. This spring is already the fifth highest season since 2005. It will be the third highest by this weekend.
The races being run are getting larger as well. In the winter there were 49 major races (races with more than 500 finishers). That was higher than any season except for last spring (56). It is a safe bet that this spring will set the record as there are already 25 with at least seven more this weekend. We still have not reached the halfway point in the spring runner rankings period.
The chart below lists the past history from 2005 through 2011 in terms of races used for the runner rankings:
Major = 500 or more finishers
Total = Number of Races
Percent = % of ranked racers versus finishers
Ranked = numbers of ranked running times
Runners = Total runner participation.
Last year these two battled to for the first place at the runner’s Rite of Spring, the Credit Union Cherry Blossom.