Recent figures released by Sport England have revealed a consistent upward trend in the number of people across the country involved in running. A total of 2.45million people aged over the age of 14 competing in athletics each week, yet the most substantial increase has been female participation, with more than 1 million women regularly taking part in the sport.
The survey was conducted from the end of September 2015 and is based on weekly participation of 30 minutes or more. Statistics show that involvement has risen from all backgrounds, while the number of disabled participants people aged 16 plus taking part has reached its highest ever level at 139,600.
Part of the rising female participation has been attributed to the This Girl Can campaign, which has influenced over 22,000 women to become more involved in the sport. Launched at the turn of the year, the campaign has encouraged runners to send in their very own tales of fitness feats through social media by tweeting pictures using the #ThisGirlCan hashtag.
England Athletics Chief Executive Chris Jones comments on the findings: “It is fantastic that so many people are now enjoying athletics in all its different forms. The sport provides a remarkably wide range of opportunities and enjoyment for many different people. Each person reflected in these figures is someone with their own unique motivations, aspirations and abilities, who has found that athletics and running have something to offer them.
“We are incredibly grateful to everyone who inspires and provides opportunities for all of these people to be involved. There are opportunities created by a range of voluntary, commercial, charitable, and public sector organisations and groups and a huge number volunteers play an essential role in providing events, group running, club sessions, support and encouragement.”