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Strava, the social network for athletes, has today published its annual Year in Sport report for the UK.

Tens of millions of athletes across 195 countries call Strava the home of their active life – providing an unparalleled insight into the behaviours and trends of active people in the UK and around the world.

In 2017, 16 activities were uploaded to Strava every second. Strava’s global community of athletes generated hundreds of billions of data points, covering a staggering 8.4 billion km of cumulative distance – the equivalent of almost 11,000 round trips to the moon. A measure of Strava’s social community is the kudos, where members give praise to another’s activity. Strava saw 2.3 billion kudos given worldwide, with 344 million kudos within the UK. An impressive 482 million photos were shared worldwide, with 76 million images shared in the UK alone.

All those activities create a uniquely positive community for sport, and they also create better communities in the 125 cities that use anonymised data to build more effective transportation infrastructure via Strava Metro.

Global Running

Runners around the world uploaded 136 million runs to Strava, logged 627,239 completed marathons and clocked up an impressive total distance of 1.1 billion km, equivalent to just over 1,400 return trips to the moon. Runners looked to the tail end of the season in order to stretch their legs and marked Sunday 17th September as the most active day for running.

UK Running

Running has seen a boost in popularity in the past year, illustrated by the fact that for the first time in Strava’s history there are now more runners than cyclists.

The UK contributed 24.7 million runs and 192 million km to the global figures.  83,248 completed marathons were logged in the UK in 2017.  Men recorded an average pace of 5:09/km (up from 5:14/km in 2017) for their average run distance of 8.2 km, while women

recorded an average pace of 5:57 (up from 6:07 in 2016) over their 7 km average run distance. Elevation gain for UK Strava runners reached the dizzying heights of 10.5 billion metres in total (equivalent to over a million times up Mount Everest).

During the year, men and women spent a similar amount of time pounding the roads, parks and countryside of Britain; men totalled 19hrs 10min and women totalled 17hr 51min over the course of the year. London (with 2,889,403 runs) and West Yorkshire (909,101) once again took the top two spots for most active location, with Manchester (849,048) rounding off the podium places.

Wales proved a similarly lumpy affair for runners, charting 164m of elevation on average in Powys. The longest average run came from runners in Scotland – with Stirling runners averaging over 10km. Omagh came out on top as having the fastest runners on average, with a pace of 5:03 min/km. County Down in Northern Ireland was top of the pile for the longest moving time per run of 1hr17 .

The top running segments in the UK were all found to be at local athletics tracks. A home Athletics World Championships in 2017, combined with grassroots events such as the Strava supported Night of the 10,000m PBs clearly had an impact on the reinvigoration of track and field in the UK. Top of the pile was Mile End Stadium with 155,715 attempts, followed by Parliament Hill track (142,834) and Southampton Sports Centre athletics track (98,665). Heatmaps of each of the top 3 are available here.

Run Commuting – UK Leads the Way

The overall number of run commutes in 2017 grew by 51%, and London topped the world’s list of cities with the most active run commuters. Amsterdam came in second, with Paris, New York, Sydney and San Francisco making up the top 6.

There were a total of 2,356,432 commutes, with UK run commuters covering a total distance of 16.7 million km – offsetting a potential 1.1 billion litres of CO2, and the equivalent of keeping more than 1300 cars off the road.

London Running Heatmap

Gareth Mills, UK Country Manager for Strava, said:

“The Year in Sport report for 2017 highlights some fascinating global and local trends.  The 24.7 million runs shared in the UK includes 1.5 million parkruns and 83,248 marathons, showing the diversity of our running community.  The 51% growth in run commutes left London as the global capital of run commuting and demonstrates a willingness to move to a healthier, greener way of getting to work.”

UK Runners Powered By Coffee and Cake

An analysis of Strava activities shows that there’s definitely a focus on just reward for all the hard work everyone has been putting in over the last twelve months. The following breakdown shows exactly what the UK are talking about when they mention food and drink:

Coffee 40,724 (mentions)

Cake 37,882

Beer 33,581

Wine 10,870

Pizza 5,684

Chocolate 5,338

Eggs 5,065

Bacon 4,842

Sandwich 4,159

Burgers 3,254

Getting Motivated To Get Out Running

Strava data has shown that finding a friend or like-minded group to train with boosts motivation and activity levels, with those who exercise with others 22% more active overall. Likewise members of Strava Clubs complete 46% more activities.

Setting yourself a target can also have a big effect, with more than 9 out of 10 people who set a goal in January still active 10 months later. Similarly, if you can manage to exercise at least once a week, the data shows you are 30% more likely to keep exercising all year round.

Most active areas for running

1

LONDON

2

WEST YORKSHIRE

3

MANCHESTER

4

HAMPSHIRE

5

SURREY

6

SOUTH YORKSHIRE

7

WEST MIDLANDS

8

KENT

9

LANCASHIRE

10

DEVON

Fastest areas for running

1

MONMOUTHSHIRE

2

WESTMINSTER

3

MERTHYR TYDFIL

4

OMAGH

5

HAMMERSMITH AND FULHAM

6

CROYDON

7

RICHMOND UPON THAMES

8

CHESHIRE

9

GWYNEDD

10

CAMBRIDGESHIRE