The online activity platform released its 2018 numbers and the UK and Ireland had some interesting stats.
With an average of 20 activities uploaded every second with distance, speed, heart rate and a whole host of other factors included, Strava is a huge database of the world’s physical activity. So what can you take away from the numbers that are collated annually?
Within the UK and Ireland we could just look at the league table of who was faster on average or ran the furthest, but do we really want to make it all about bragging rights….? Oh, we do.
Well on average the Irish ran further and faster than the rest of us, averaging 8.3km per run and 5:49/km, with Northern Ireland second in both tables too with 7.9km per run and 5:59/km. Next is Scotland (7.7km and 6:08/km), England (7.5km and 6:12/km) and Wales (7.5km and 6:28/km). Given how hilly most of Wales is this might be a little unfair.
Actually, the Orkney Islands of Scotland also average 8.3km per run as well, but that could be directly linked to long distance runner William Sichel, who, despite only logging 99 runs on Strava in 2018, clocked 1684 miles. A big part of this was the 3100m Self Transcendence race in New York, where athletes run around a one mile block in New York.
Given that Orkney only has a total population of 21,670 – at last count – and that one of them is an ultra distance athlete of the rarest type, it’s not surprising to see them near the top for an average distance run.
The second fastest place in England was Brighton and Hove (5:33/km), just behind London’s 5:31/km but that is surely linked to everyone in London always being in a bit of a hurry and half of the cyclists listing their bike rides as runs so that they can take all the Strava crowns too.
Brighton and Hove was also in the top three for the furthest average run in England with 7.8km and both factors could be down to groups like Bigg Performance and the AB Training Group. Just what impact does training in a group have?
Gareth Mills, UK Country Manager at Strava, said: “We’ve analysed billions of athletic data points from Strava’s 36 million members and put them to good use for Strava’s Year in Sport 2018 report. As we hit 2 billion activities uploaded from the community, one thing that stands out especially is the importance of social exercise.
“Our data shows that sociability dramatically improves motivation – joining a club, setting a goal and exercising in a group – all boost activity. Runners who set goals were 14.2% more active in 2018.”
Where do we like to run?
If you put your thinking cap on it’s not hard to imagine the most popular route in the UK and Ireland for running in 2018. First of all, you might get the London marathon or Great North Run route, but what happens every weekend throughout the year that we love?
The most popular running route in excess of five km was the home of parkrun – Bushy Park in Southwest London, which regularly sees around 1,000 people turning out at nine on a Saturday morning.
We have to remember though that fastest and further aren’t always the most important measures. It might be interesting to see where we saw the highest number of average PBs for the year and if this related to either of the other statistics. If everyone is running further and faster do we all get quicker on race day?