Marathons are going the distance.
In 2014, the number of marathon finishers rose to 550,637 - up from 541,000 in 2013, according to the annual marathon report from Running USA, which was issued last week. The number of marathons hit another record, too: In 2014, the United States had more than 1,200 26.2-mile races.
"It's encouraging that marathon participation continues to grow and more races than ever are being organized," said Scott Bush, Running USA's director of communications. "Race directors are improving their own races, offering more value to runners, which is the biggest reason the marathon continues to grow."
It's been a steep, 15-year climb. In 2000, U.S. marathons had 353,000 finishers. By 2010, that number had leapt to 507,000, and is now at that 550,637 mark. (The only significant drop in finishers since 2000 was in 2012 because of the cancellation of the New York City Marathon - the largest marathon in the world - after superstorm Sandy). The number of marathons is a jump from 2000, too - there were only about 300 marathons in the States then.
The gender split remained the same in 2014 as in 2013: 57 percent of marathon finishers were male and 43 perecent were female. That's not a complete picture about women in running, though. In 2013, women made up 61 percent of finishers in half-marathons - a race distance that was more than three times as popular as the marathon last year. Also in 2013, women made up 57 percent of finishers in all U.S. road races. (Running USA's 2014 report for the half-marathon will be published next week.)
Another 2014 marathon trend: slower finishing times, the slowest on average since 2005. Men finished with an average time of 4 hours, 19 minutes, 27 seconds. Women finished in an average of 4 hours, 44 minutes, 19 seconds.
"The marathon population is slowing aging, which is part of the reason times are slowing down," Bush said. "The marathon is also becoming less intimidating to the general public."
That means more people are giving the marathon a go, which "generally leads to slower overall averages," he said.
The three largest U.S. marathons for 2014 were the usual suspects: New York City Marathon (50,386 finishers), Chicago Marathon (40,595 finishers), and Boston Marathon (31,932 finishers). The Philadelphia Marathon ranked eighth (10,358 finishers).
The New York City and Chicago marathons are also the two largest in the world, followed by those in Paris (38,757 finishers), London (35,878), and Tokyo (34,087).
Locally, Allentown's Via Marathon ranked third in terms of fastest median finishing times of U.S. marathons (3 hours, 54 minutes, 24 seconds). That put it behind Boston (3 hours, 52 minutes, 9 seconds) and Baystate (3 hours, 53 minutes, 5 seconds).
James Lynam Memorial 5K Run & 1-Mile Walk, 9 a.m. Washington Lake Park 626 Hurffville-Crosskeys Road, Sewell. Fee: $25.
Roots Rock Run 5K/walk/run, 9 a.m., Anna Lingelbach Elementary School, Wayne and Johnson Sts., Germantown, $30. runsignup.com
Peticote 5K, 8 a.m., $30. T-shirts for first 150, 221 Newbolds Corner Rd.
Elizabeth Haddon Paint Race, 8 a.m., Haddonfield. $30. 501 Redman Ave.
Farm to Feet Trail Run 5k, Wyebrook Farm, Honey Brook, Pa. Part of the Farm to Feet Trail Series, a behind-the-scenes tour of local farms. Fee: $30 adults, $20 children under 18, under 8 free. T-shirts. farmtofeettrails.com.
Marlton Lakes Summer 5K, Marlton. 9 a.m. Fee: $25, 18-under $15. Tech shirt for first 100 entries. 120 Spring Ave., Beach #1. sjtiming.com
UMAEF Viking 5K Run/Walk to benefit the Upper Merion Area School District, 9 a.m., Caley Elementary School, 725 Caley Rd., King of Prussia. Registration online at brynmawrracing.com.
Ella's Retreat 5K, 9:15 a.m. Fort Washington State Park Complex, Militia Hill Section; 420 Militia Hill Rd. Fort Washington. 19034. Packet pickup at 8. ellasretreat.org. Fee: Limited to first 250 registrants: $30.
Chalfont Challenge, seventh and final race in Bucks 5K Series, plus series awards ceremony. 8:30 a.m. $25. Chalfont. bucks5kseries.com
4th Annual Women in Motion 5K, 9:30 a.m., Sicklerville. $20 pre, $25 post. Gloucester County Community Park, 380 Hickstown Rd.
SuperHeroes 5K/1K run/walk, 8 a.m., Pre: $35, Day of $40. Navy Yard: 4747 S. Broad St.. Packet pick-up June 6, Road Runner Sports, 921 Haddonfield Rd., Cherry Hill.
Scott Coffee Moorestown Rotary 8K, 8:30 a.m. Fee: $30 plus sign-up. $35 after 6/5. Community House on Main Street. Also, relay race, wheelchair race and mile fun run. runsignup.com
Penn Alexander School Run for Art & Science 5K & 1-Mile Run/Walk, 8:30 a.m., University of Penn campus starting and finishing at the Penn Alexander School at 4209 Spruce St. Fee: $27 plus $2.50 sign-up.
Kennedy Hope&Healing 5K, Cancer Survivors Day, 9:30 a.m., Washington Lake Park, 626 Hurffville Crosskeys Rd., Sewell. Fee: $30 plus $2.50 sign-up. Packet pick-up at all 4 locations of Running Co. of Haddonfield: runningco.com. There is also same-day race registration for an extra $5.
10th Annual Peruzzi Nissan Run the Gates Five Miler and One Mile Run/Walk, 9 a.m., Bucks County Roadrunners Club Event, Forsythia Crossing Park, Levittown. Tech shirts for five, cotton for one, live music, refreshments. Fee: $35 and $40. runthegates.org. raceit.com
5th Annual Haddon Glen 5K, 8 a.m., $23 pre, $30 post, At swim club, 1701 Walnut Ave. kennedycancersurvivors.org
Down By the River 5K run & 1-mile fun walk. 9 a.m., Cooper River Park, North Park Drive Stadium/Track, Check in : 7:30. 5K fee: $25 by 6/8, then $30. Fun walk $20/ $25. Advance registrants get T-shirt. signup.com
Ambler Area YMCA Spring iIto Summer 5K and Family Festival, 8:30 a.m. 1325 McKean Rd Ambler. philaymca.org runtheday.com
ODDyssey Half Marathon, oddysseyhalfmarathon.com
10th Annual Oy Vey 5K, 10K and 1-Mile Walk. 8:30 a.m. at Congregation Beth Or, 239 E. Welsh Rd., Maple Glen. runtheday.com. $28 ($35 race day).
Help Henry See and Hear 5K, 8 a.m., $30. Cooper River Park Stadium, 5300 N. Park Dr.
21st Annual Dr. Howard Mazer Strides for Stroke Memorial 5K Run/Walk, 8:30 a.m. 26th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway. phillystroke.org or call (215) 772-9040.
Thursday June 18
Trail Blazer Run, 5 Mile Trail Run/1.5 Mile Family Fun Hike. 6:30 p.m. Paradise Farm Camps, 1300 Valley Creek Rd., Downingtown. Fee: $25 until 6/17, $30 race day. runtheday.com/race/trailblazerrun.
Peggys Talk While You Run/Walk 5K,
9 a.m. Pennsauken. $25 pre, $30 post, Cooper River Park Stadium, 5300 N. Park Dr.
Run4U 5K, 9 a.m., Pennsauken. $30 pre, $35 post. Cooper River Park Stadium, 5300 N. Park Dr.
Pineland Striders Independence 5K/10K, 8:30 a.m. Medford. $25 pre, $30 post. Shawnee High School, 600 Tabernacle Rd.
Pineland Striders 38th Annual Independence Races
Pottstown Half Marathon, 7 a.m. Starts at Montgomery County Community College. Fee: $70 prior to 7/1. SlyFoxTrackClub.com
AARC Phils Tavern Quarter Marathon (10.54 K), 7:30 a.m. Temple Ambler Campus, $15. aarclub.com/phils/home.html