Survey Reveals Trail Runner Preferences From The 2019 FOURmidable Races

Several times a year the American Trail Running Association (ATRA) conducts surveys to measure trends within our sport, collect demographic profiles of its participants and analyze their preferences.

A few days after the FOURmidable Trail Races were held in Auburn, CA, February 16-17, 2019, we conducted a survey of participants in the 50 km, 35 km, half marathon, and 13 km races. The following is a survey summary. Complete survey results are made available to corporate members at the Switchback, Steep & Rocky and All-terrain levels. For several of the questions, we compared responses from FOURmidable with those from the Moab Trail Marathon survey conducted in December 2018.

For questions about this or future ATRA trail running surveys contact Nancy Hobbs at NancyHobbs@trailrunner.com. Look for more surveys from us in 2019, as we work to provide information about participant demographics and trends in our sport.

311 race participants completed the FOURmidable survey.

Participant Gender:
54% women; 46% men

Age:
38% of survey respondents between 19-39 years of age; 62% 40 and over

Home State:
89% were residents of California

Top States Represented:

  1. California
  2. Oregon
  3. Nevada

Weekly Running mileage Of Survey Respondents: (compared results from the 2018 Moab Trail Marathon survey)

  • Less than 20 miles per week: FOURmidable = 23%; Moab = 56.7%
  • 21 to 40 miles per week: FOURmidable = 44%; Moab = 34.1%
  • 41 to 60 miles per week: FOURmidable = 23%; Moab = 7.4%
  • More than 60 miles per week: FOURmidable – 10%; Moab = 1.8%

Experience Level Of Competitors:
At FOURmidable, 66% of participants self-identify as mid-pack or back-of-the packer runners compared to 72% of Moab participants.

In Which Race Did The Respondents Participate:

  • Open 50K (NON USATF) – 22%
  • Half Marathon Trail Race – 22%
  • USATF 50 km Championships Division – 18%
  • 13K Trail Race – 17%
  • 35K Trail Race – 17 %
  • Registered, but did not participate in the event – 4%

FOURmidable 50K women’s winner Dani Moreno. Photo by Carlos Marin.

Trail Shoes versus Road Shoes:
At FOURmidable, 91% of survey respondents wore trail-specific shoes compared with 83% of survey respondents from Moab.

Top Shoe Brand:
Hoka One One was the top shoe brand worn by survey respondents at both FOURmidable and Moab.

Top 5 shoe brands – FOURmidable vs Moab:

  1. Hoka One One – 27% vs 16%
  2. Altra – 19% vs Salomon – 15%
  3. Saucony – 11% vs Brooks – 15%
  4. Brooks – 11% vs Altra – 14%
  5. Salomon – 8% vs Saucony – 9%

Hydration Solutions Used During The Race:

  • Wore a hydration pack – 64%
  • Carried a water bottle – 33%
  • Carried a reusable cup – 2%

Top 4 Hydration Brands Packs Worn:

  1. Nathan – 37%
  2. Ultimate Direction – 21%
  3. Salomon – 11%
  4. CamelBak – 8%

Most Important Factor In Choosing The Event:
Respondents from the Moab and FOURmidable said “a great course” was the single most important factor when choosing to participant in the race.

The 5 most important factors for FOURmidable survey respondents influencing their decision to run:

  • 86% chose “a great course”
  • 70% chose “the reputation of the event organizers”
  • 68% chose “a location that is easy to drive to”
  • 54% chose “challenging terrain”
  • 32% chose “time of year”

A “well marked course” was the most important attribute of the race according to survey participants.

You can find more runner survey summaries at the links below:

December 2018 – Moab Trail Marathon Survey Summary.
Spring 2018 – Trail Running Survey Summary.
Spring 2017 – Trail Running Survey Summary.
Spring 2016 – Trail Running Survey Summary.
December 2016 – Moab Trail Marathon Survey Summary.
November 2015 – Gender Equity in Mountain Running.