Run Leeds research and the impact of Covid-19

Rachel Atherton

You may remember that a few months back we launched our second Run Leeds survey. The aim of the survey was to learn more about individuals running habits in Leeds, and to look further into the impact that various life changes (e.g injury, pregnancy etc) can have on running participation.

With the presence of Covid-19 this year in particular has been a strange one for a lot of us. Many of us have experienced a huge life change to our ‘normal’ day-day lives, and here at Run Leeds we felt that the second survey was perfectly placed to capture some of the impact that Covid-19 has had upon running habits and participation.

COVID-19 has presented and continues to present, a unique external pressure and it was certainly an interesting opportunity to explore how recreational runners adapted and maintained their running during pandemics, such as that which occurred during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

We have seen many clubs, groups and individuals within the running community adapting to the socially distanced new normal, and we wanted to use this opportunity to share some of the specific Covid-19 key findings with you.

The infographic below helps to give a nice overview of some of the results.


– A large number of participants were able to sustain their running participation during the Covid-19 lockdowns, and without the restrictions of specific equipment, centre memberships etc many participants turned to running as their daily exercise activity.

– Technology was reported as a key tool in order to maintain running participation and participants stated that virtual methods were an important aspect to main social connections throughout the pandemic.

– The cancellation of races and events has affected a large number of people.

– Running clubs / groups have played a key role in keeping participants motivated, and the introduction of virtual challenges has helped to fill some of the void from many cancelled races and events.

– Participants levels of resilience has shown to decrease slightly throughout the pandemic, but on the whole have remained resilient throughout.


What’s next?

We have some finding from our research that we will be sharing with you early next year, and from this we will be rolling out our Run Leeds support and training offer to all clubs and groups across the city.

In the meantime if you have any questions, or would like to share any further comments of your running experiences throughout this Covid year then please get in touch.


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