Marathon Survey – Lacing up in lockdown

On March 23rd when the UK went into lockdown we all found ourselves facing a totally foreign reality – one confined to the four walls of our homes, aside from the occasional trip to the supermarket or around the block for a bit of exercise each day. As we watched gym doors close and park gates shut, we had to dream up new ways to keep in shape. Whether that’s to combat the lure of the pantry and fresh banana bread you’ve all been baking, the inactivity that comes with working from home, or simply to maintain your sanity – exercise has been a focal point of our days.

Now 10 weeks in and counting, we’ve reached out to you, the Human Race running community, to understand how your routine has changed during lockdown. We also wanted to hear how we can make our events better once restrictions are lifted and we re-adjust back into normal life. More than 2,500 of you responded, helping to paint a picture of the “new normal” and what you want to see from our future events.

Hit the ground running

An impressive number of you are still maintaining a regular exercise routine despite the restrictions, with an overwhelming 91% spending 3+ hours a week on sport or fitness and 39% spending between 6-12 hours a week exercising.  Many of you are still pounding the pavements, with 63% saying you are running the same amount or more than you usually would.

The burpee renaissance

Not surprisingly, over 80% of you told us you had explored new ways of exercising, with the most popular new activity being bodyweight exercises, followed by yoga and stretching and live video workouts.

The gift of time

While it’s not news to us that you’re a generous bunch, it makes us so proud to see that 67% of you have participated in challenges related to sport or charitable causes during lockdown, including our very own 2.6 Challenge in association with the London Marathon.

Fridge raiders

Resisting the urge to fill your trolley with treats during lockdown is no easy feat, after all it’s human nature to find comfort in food. Judging by your responses, we know you’ve battled with this too. Almost half of you told us you have resorted to poorer eating habits in lockdown, with 45% saying you were eating less healthily and just 17% of you bucking the trend and eating more healthily.

Space to stretch your legs

Most of you are lucky enough to have an outdoor area either at home or nearby to exercise. However a considerable 7% said they had no access to a space suitable for exercise and a further 11% said they had nowhere at home meaning they had to travel in order to get their fix.

What you want to see at future events

Once restrictions are lifted, 35% of you said you’d feel comfortable taking part in a mass participation event just one month later, while 26% of you said you’d wait until next year before lacing up for an event.

With the ever popular Manchester Marathon usually attracting thousands of supporters now postponed until October, we wanted to know how many supporters you plan on bringing. Almost half (44%) said you wouldn’t bring any supporters and 23% said you would bring just one.

We also asked you about introducing a range of measures to make you feel safer at our events. Almost a quarter of you agreed runners should collect their own medals upon finishing and that they should pick up their own water at hydration stations, rather than it being handed out. Over half of you want to see hand sanitiser supplies located around the race venue for your use, 35% said you’d like to see race crew wearing gloves and 22% said you would like electronic temperature checks for all runners.

We want to say a great big thank you for sharing your responses for the purpose of this survey. It’s truly helped us to understand how you’re keeping your love of running alive during lockdown and how we can come back better than ever post-lockdown.