Here is the second in a series of four posts laying bare the results of a survey into just how sociable runners are by @SaulBee.

(Click Here to read Part 1)

 

When presented with the data gleaned from this survey I had no idea how I would go about analysing the results and even less of an idea as to how to present them. Having a natural tendency toward the path of least resistance I decided to start presenting my findings with the easiest responses. Those questions with only 2 answers came first, as in, if 65% of the people responding are female, 35% must be male.

 

Male or Female?   65% female.

 

Do you Parkrun?   73% Yes

 

Do you belong to social media groups focused on running?   80% yes

 

Do you belong to a running club?   42% yes.

 

Already there are some findings that I thought were quite interesting. I don’t know why so many more women responded to the survey, I can’t decide if there are just more female runners, or if women are more likely to use social media and share. The fact that 80% belong to social media running groups should be no surprise though, this was after all conducted on the internet and first publicised through a social media running group. The initial respondents almost by definition belonged to #ukrunchat. I am more impressed that 20% of respondents didn’t actually belong to any run based social media groups, and I have to express my gratitude to all the twero’s (twitter hero’s) who spread the word. The fact that nearly ¾ of those who replied considered themselves Parkrunners is no surprise as it seems that whenever 2 or more are gathered in running shoes the name of Parkrun shall be mentioned. It really must be the single most popular running event in the world, and for me certainly started the whole of my running social life. A friend of mine once likened Parkrun to church and I can see the similarities. What surprised me the most in this section was that only 42% belonged to a running club. Given the huge number of people who obviously seek out like minded types on line, and the almost as large population seeking out IRL running social events at Parkruns, why are there not as many who join running clubs? I can feel a blog in it’s own right on joining a run club coming on.

The next set of questions I thought easiest to present were those that gave a multiple choice answer. A little more complicated than the yes or no, but still manageable.

 

How long have you been running?

Less than a year             21%

2-3 years                         35%

4-6 years                         17%

6-10 years                        9%

Over 10 years                  18%

 

OK spot the erm… deliberate mistake. That’s right, and it was pointed out, where do people who have been running 1-2 years or 3-4 years fit in. I am grateful that runners are such lovely people with such high initiative that they cheated and managed to slot themselves into my badly constructed categories. Still it gives you an idea of the kind of spread in experience of the runners who responded. More than half had been running for less than 4 years (to be slightly arbitrary and elastic with the figures). There is a dip between 6 and 10, with those over 10 years probably remaining runners until their legs fall off. My two immediate thoughts on these results is that relatively new runners, those under 4 years are still full of enthusiasm and keen to share their training. I imagine that after 6 or so years gains get a little bit harder, and to keep going requires a great deal more effort without quite so much reward, making motivation that bit harder. Hopefully in another 3 years I will still be here and will let you know how it’s going. I guess after 10 years any attempt to fight the running addiction is futile, not just a way of life but a necessity.

 

What is your favourite distance to run?

 

Less than 5k                   2%

5k                                     21%

10k                                   36%

10 miles                          3%

Half Marathon              28%

20 miles                         0%

Marathon                       5%

Ultra                                2%

Other                                3%

 

10k is a good satisfying distance to run, and there are a lot of 10k club races about. If you are going to do a ‘big’ race a half marathon is the obvious choice, the bling and the atmosphere can easily turn a young runners head, and running 13 miles is a great achievement without quite having the investment in time and personal suffering that a marathon or ultra has. What did surprise me given the popularity of Parkrun is that more people preferred the Half or 10k to a 5k.

 

I must confess that the last section of replies to be presented were the ones that scared me the most and I found difficult to deal with. This is where I asked respondents to write in their own answers. I was presented with 2 jumbles of replies, one giving me a load of locations, and the other giving me a collection of online running communities. It was these replies that made me realise just how unprepared I was for analysing data. Still there are a few things that can be inferred simply by looking at what came back. The first of these questions asked people to identify where they came from, and a simple glance over told me that the majority of responses came from Merseyside. It could be that Merseysiders are particularly fond of running, above and beyond the rest of the population, or there were a couple of Tweroe’s in that area who were particularly good at spreading the survey around. The next most popular location by simple appearance was Nottingham. To be fair amongst the rest of the country there was a pretty even spread, and I discovered some fantastic names of places. I am certainly going to visit Torfaen in Wales, the name alone makes that worth doing. The UK did not get it all it’s own way though, I also received responses from Australia, USA and even a couple of non English speaking countries Brazil and Germany. Now if I had been prepared I would have gathered some tools to cross correlate specific attitudes in areas, but I’m not a natural academic, just curious and rapidly getting out of my depth!

 

I was similarly scared by the responses which asked for the names of online communities people used based on running. For me it was an education, many of them I had not even heard of. The names that came up the most were topped by of course UKRunchat, but then we had a fair few ‘Run Mummy Runners’, some people participating in ‘The Running Bug’, the ‘Running Discussion Board’ and quite a few locally based running groups, some obviously part of a running club and some which could just be a loose collective of like minded people in the same area. I suspect that ‘Notts Women Runners’, may belong to this group. Incidentally and given the demographic of our respondents I think I have to say a big thanks to NWR. The two groups that stood out for me, simply because of their names were Nutters on the Run, and MonkeyTag Running. Both of these I feel the need to check out.

 

So there we have it, now we all know a little more about the kind people who responded to my survey. They represent people from all over the world, from a variety of different online communities and they are smart enough to make allowances for my general academic ineptitude. Beyond that we can also say that our average respondent is a female parkrunner who has been running for under four years and likes a nice half marathon. Well we all love a bit of bling. Of course other respondents also apply you never know if you are going to get a ‘Nutter on the run’.

 

Tune in next week for another exciting instalment. Just how sociable are these people; will I manage to wrangle with even more data sets; should you high 5 or not high 5? All these questions will possibly be answered, if I can just retain enough sanity to get the next blog written in time.