Where do people run?

Where do people run?

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Running has become a real trend these past years. The number of marathon finishers does not cease to increase. We wanted to discover which are the cities where this trend is stronger. Where do people run? Answers below.

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With the Paris marathon coming closer, we decided to write an article on running habits and practices throughout major cities in the world. For this article, thanks to data collected from Withings activity trackers, we have studied the average duration of intense physical activity during the week. An intense physical activity is an activity for which the energy expenditure levels are those of a jogging session.

We start by analyzing the percentage of runners among Withings users in a number of international cities. We considered a runner a user that practices on average at least 20 minutes a week of jogging or other activity with similar energy consumption.

The cities with the highest concentration of runners

# City % of runners among Withings activity tracker users
1 Tokyo 27.2%
2 Zurich 27.0%
3 Paris 22.0%
4 Sydney 21.9%
5 São Paulo 21.7%
6 Madrid 21.6%
7 London 21.2%
8 Singapore 20.5%
9 Seoul 19.8%
10 Montreal 19.2%

Tokyo, Zurich and Paris are among the cities with the highest concentration of runners, with 27%, 27% and 22% respectively of runners. European and Asian metropolitan areas are globally well ranked, with Madrid, London, Singapore and Seoul also present in the top 10. Among the 6 North American cities analyzed in the study (New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Montreal, and Toronto), Montreal is the only one to figure in the top 10. The global percentage of joggers within the Withings community is 17%.

Regular or occasional runner?

Among the runners population, how many are regular or frequent runners, and how many are occasional or beginner runners?

We used the following classification:

  • Frequent runner: at least 2 hours of intense activity per week
  • Regular runner: 1 to 2 hours of intense activity per week
  • Occasional runner: 40 minutes to 1 hour of intense activity per week
  • Beginner runner: 20 to 40 minutes of intense activity per week

Globally, 5% of runners are frequent runners, 18% are regular runners, 21% are occasional runners, and 56% are beginner runners.

If we take into account the percentage of regular or frequent runners only, the cities ranking changes significantly, as the following table shows.

The cities with the highest concentration of regular or frequent runners

# City % of frequent or regular runners among all runners
1 Beijing 35.7%
2 Madrid 27.9%
3 Milan 27.7%
4 Los Angeles 27.5%
5 Singapore 25.0%
6 Berlin 23.9%
7 Zurich 23.7%
8 São Paulo 23.4%
9 London 23.4%
10 Tokyo 23.0%

Six of the cities of the previous ranking are here again ranked top 10: Madrid, Singapore, Zurich, São Paulo, London, and Tokyo. It is a newcomer, Beijing, that appears as the city with the highest concentration of frequent or regular runners: more than one Beijing runner out of three practices at least 2 hours of running a week. A bunch of other cities have also surfaced in this ranking: Milan, Los Angeles, and Berlin.

About the data

This study was conducted with a panel of users of Withings activity trackers. The intensity of a physical activity was derived from the computation of the metabolic equivalent of tasks (MET).

Withings guarantees the confidentiality of personal data and protects the privacy of all its users. Therefore, all data used for this study was rigorously anonymized and aggregated.

Susie Felber

Susie is a writer, comedian, and producer who has worked in TV, film, theater, radio, video games, and online. As the daughter of a hard-working M.D., she's had a lifelong interest in health and is currently on a personal mission to "walk the walk" and get her writer's body in better shape.
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