February 18, 2020

Strava’s Largest-Ever Study of Runner Motivation: “Why We Run”

Strava identifies five runner “types” based on motivations of 25,000 global survey respondents

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SAN FRANCISCO – February 18, 2020 – Strava, the world’s largest sports participation platform with over 50 million athletes and a million more joining every 30 days, today announced the release of its largest-ever study of runner motivation, Why We Run.


Staying motivated is the oldest challenge in health and fitness, and Strava launched a global survey to 25,000 runners to explore motivations to begin, and continue running. Respondents from 9 countries in North America, South America, Asia and Europe demonstrated that runners worldwide share many common traits, but runner motivations and rewards do differ across geographies. 


From Why We Run survey results, Strava identified five “types” of runners, and core motivations for each “type.” The most common runner type is Type 5, also called “Reluctant Runners,” but most runners who continue running longer than one year typically evolve into a different type (see chart below). 


Full Why We Run data insights can be explored via an interactive data visualization and are published in a whitepaper.


Key Insights Include:


  • Health is a primary concern and motivator for runners around the world. 
    • Over 80% cite at least one physical motivation when asked why they started, like being healthier, getting stronger or having more energy. 
    • For others, mental health was the biggest factor for getting out the door. 
      • Health Scare: 22% of Brazilians cited a health scare as the reason they started running (vs. 2% in the US)
      • Body Image: 30% of global respondents cited improving their body image as a reason they started running (Germans were highest at 47%)
      • Getting Stronger: Nearly half of US respondents (48%) said building strength was a core motivator to run. Even higher among US women (54%)
      • Combatting anxiety: 15% of Japanese runners say they run because it helps them feel less anxious and depressed. (Germany = 3%, Brazil = 5%)


  • Goals are better motivators than guilt.
    • Goals (41%) and workout plans (41%) motivate runners more than guilt (15%) or checking a responsibility off a list (12%) 


  • Runners Love and Hate Different Aspects of the Sport
    • Men love running uphill (19% love, 2% hate) more than women (10% love, 8% hate)
    • Nearly 3x more runners tolerate the first mile (34%) than love it (11%)
    • The finish line is the part of the run that is most loved (63%)


To dig deeper into the results of Why We Run, read the whitepaper and explore the interactive data visualization and filter survey results by gender, age and location.


Download Strava for iOS and Android now, and subscribe to Strava Summit to customize your experience and enjoy added features. For more information on Strava visit www.strava.com


About Strava

Strava is the social network for athletes. As the platform at the center of connected fitness, Strava’s mobile apps and website connect millions of active people every day. All athletes belong on Strava, no matter where they live, which sport they love or what device they use. Join the community at strava.com.


Our favorite stats:

  • 20 activities uploaded every second, 19 million every week
  • 300+ compatible mobile phones and GPS devices
  • More than 3 billion activity uploads
  • 180 employees, most in San Francisco with more in Denver, CO, Hanover, NH and Bristol, UK
  • 1,100+ professional athletes are on Strava
  • 1 million athletes join every 30 days
  • More than 50 million Strava athletes upload activities from 195 countries
  • 4.9 billion kudos given between athletes last year
  • Over 4 million photos shared per week on Strava
  • 85 million comments and Kudos given by Strava athletes per week
  • 130+ communities making commuting better with Strava Metro


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