More than half of the marathoners who have completed the race have run online, according to a new study by the University of Washington.
The study of nearly 1.2 million runners found that over half of marathoners are participating in a marathon online.
The online trend is not unique to the U.S., with more than half a million people completing a marathon in Europe and Asia, said Dr. Andrew G. Pugh, the study’s lead author and a professor of pediatrics at UW.
Pugh has previously found that marathon runners are increasingly running through their training.
The new study is one of the first to assess how many people are participating and how well they’re doing, Pugh said.
It found that the proportion of marathon runners participating in online training is similar to the proportion who run through training at home.
About 10% of participants are running through training on a daily basis, while another 30% are training on more than one occasion, he said.
The remaining 50% are participating online on a regular basis, he added.
Proud of the resultsBut the new study also found that a substantial number of marathon participants are not actually running through the marathon.
About half of participants said they were running through regular training, but only about 20% were running in a race, the report found.
That is a stark contrast to previous research that found that about 60% of runners were running a marathon at home during training, the researchers found.
“I’m very proud of the research, because it suggests that there’s still a significant portion of the population that doesn’t have a running background,” said study co-author Dr. Michael P. Pang, a UW assistant professor of medicine.
“They’re just doing something else.”
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.
It was conducted by Pugh and Pang and included data from more than 500,000 participants, including those who completed the marathon, as well as a broader set of participants who completed online.
Piles of data was analyzed from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, which has been tracking runners’ health since 1982.
Paunas University researchers used data from a national sample of 7,500 people who completed an online questionnaire, along with data from the UW study.
“This is a very promising study, because we’re finding the numbers are quite similar,” Paunass University researcher Dr. Jonathan Crouch said.
“The most interesting thing to me is that, if you’re just a casual participant, you’re not actually training in a real marathon.
So, it shows that there are still many people who are missing out.”
The UW study found that women who are running the marathon are more likely to be participating online than men, Paunals University researcher Rebecca Hwang said.
About one-third of women in the study said they ran the marathon online, while almost half of men said the same.
“There are certainly women who will run a marathon but may not have the training that they need to do it,” Pugh explained.
“It’s not just about running a few miles,” Pung said.
“We know that women and men tend to be very similar in their running styles, so it’s not that men are more physically fit than women, but the physical training they do is similar.”
Hwang said she thinks the online training trend may be linked to a change in the marathon’s structure.
While most marathoners complete the race in a single day, in the past a number of events have changed the course of the race.
A new course or route was added to the course during a marathon, for example, or race directors changed the rules of the event to suit a different race.
Paunas and UW researchers analyzed race data for the past three years, from 2010 to 2014.
In that time, the marathon has changed its course, with shorter distances, faster starting times, and other changes.
“The longer course has certainly impacted the running economy,” Puts said.
Puts and Hwang have been monitoring participants’ training through the Health Professional Follow-Up Study, and their findings are helping to define the marathon as a unique and fast-paced training event.
“Running has always been a very physical sport, and we think that running in the right way is going to have an impact on people’s health and well-being,” Hwang explained.
Hwang and Pauns study is still in its early stages, but they expect to publish more research in the coming years.
They hope to follow up with additional data and gather more information from participants.