Competitors running during the Sundown Marathon. Photo: Sport Singapore
From the Standard Chartered Marathon to the Color Run, running events catering to all ages and interest groups have flourished in the sports scene here leaving runners spoilt for choice.
While the popularity of the sport does not seem to be waning any time soon, participation rates for running events have either dropped or stagnated.
The most recent one, the OSIM Sundown marathon, which ended at 8:30 on Sunday morning, only managed to draw 26 thousand participants compared to the high of 30 thousand runners last year.
Other major runs such as the Standard Chartered Marathon were no exception. It experienced a drop of participants from 65 thousand in 2011 to less than 55 thousand last year.
Smaller runs such as the Men’s Health Urbanathlon and Great Eastern Women’s Run have also been stagnating at about four thousand and 17 thousand runners respectively.
“They pretty much stagnate at that number. If there is an increase, it’s a slight increase; it’s not a significant increase,” said Adrian Mok whose company, Hivelocity Events, organises both of those runs.
Competitors at start of the Sundown Marathon. One of the reasons behind stagnation of numbers is an excess of running events. Photo: Sport Singapore
Mok, who was also the organiser of the Sundown Marathon, said there were a few reasons behind this period of stagnation but one of them could be the excess of running events available now.
“There is really a glut of events. Runners have their options and choices and that’s quite a natural trend that will kind of pucker off and will even out a little.”
In this month alone, there are 11 such events on the sporting calendar.
JustRunLah.com which maintains a race database dating back to 2006, only recorded 69 runs in 2012, compared with the 121 runs this year.
All signs are pointing to a further increase in the popularity of running – which is already Singapore’s most popular sport according to a Sport Singapore survey.
And according to Sport Singapore’s Sports Index 2014, significantly more Singaporeans have an active lifestyle compared to 14 years ago. In fact, regular and frequent participation in sport has increased by more than 50 per cent since 2001.
Sports retailer World of Sports has experienced a 25 per cent increase in the sales of running apparel such as hydration packs and compression wear over the last few years.
And if Singapore follows the worldwide trend of participation running, sports retailers will no doubt be kept happy by the ringing of their cash registers in the years to come.