To understand the different types of runners in the US, to inform a consumer segmentation proposal that will be pitched to a major sports manufacturer.
Types of Runners
There are a number of different ways to characterize the different types of runners ranging from their attitudes and behaviors to the type of running and distances involved.
The casual runner is the person who runs purely for fun or exercise. A number of them will run in groups rather than individually as they use running as an opportunity to spend time with friends or family. They typically run for a couple of miles at a mild pace.
The sprinter covers short distances at a fast pace. They are usually competitive runners. All of their efforts go into speed and moving fast.
The cross-country runner is a distance runner, typically running between 5 miles and marathon-length distances. These runners usually run off-road or on trails.
Hurdlers or active runners require some athletic ability to combine running with jumping. Like the sprinter, they generally cover short distances at a fast pace.
The classic club runner is typically someone who came to running as an adult. Running was seen as a way to keep fit, but they caught the running bug. Club running is seen as a way to keep them motivated as well as an opportunity to socialize with other members.
Running is one of the best ways to burn calories. The weight-loss runner is the individual who has taken up running with this sole purpose in mind. They enjoy running with family and friends.
The ultra-runner is the person who enjoys running long (long) distances. Many started as marathoners and evolved into ultra-marathoners. They run large distances each week and get immense satisfaction from the events they compete in.
Running to improve mood, improve sleep patterns, and decrease stress is not uncommon. The mood-runner is the individual who runs to feel better within themselves.
The awareness-raising runner is the person who runs to highlight a specific cause or to raise money for a particular charity. Often they have personal experience with the charity or illness they are running for. Some are afflicted with the disease they are raising money for.
Zola Budd at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics is perhaps the ultimate example of the barefoot runner. The barefoot runner has a fixed belief that shoes are unnecessary, and the feet should do what they were designed to do.
The early morning runner, those that like to start the day off with a run, are likely to run 3-4 times a week. They will often compete in amateur events such as fun runs or marathons.
Retired professionals are a breed unto themselves. They have replaced the office with the running track (or street). Typically, they are looking to running as a way to remain fit and healthy.
Trail runners number 6 million in the US. They have forgone the road for the freedom of the trail. Often they run as part of a tight-knit group. They will run a range of different distances.
The lapsed runner is often someone who started running in response to a life event. They have channeled attention into running, enjoying it, but as their circumstances have changed as to has their enthusiasm for running.
The competitor has one goal to push themselves to their limits. Their whole mentality is about finishing first. Nothing else matters.
Elite runners are those naturally talented and athletic individuals that make running look easy. They have worked hard to achieve goals in the sport but have been graced with a natural ability, which, when combined with hard work, has seen them experience success as a runner.
Only the project owner can select the next research path.