June 2016 - Participation in Athletics Continues to Grow


There are now 2.49million people taking part in athletics in England each week, newly released official figures have shown.

The number of people aged 14+ who take part in athletics, including running, on a weekly basis has risen 5% in the year to April 2016 Sport England’s Active People Survey has found.

This means there are over 1million more people taking part in the sport each week compared to 10 years ago. The latest figure for those aged 16+ taking part on a weekly basis also rose to 2.35million.

With this summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games providing a great opportunity for more people to be inspired to take up athletics, as well as a wide range of ways to take part in the sport in communities across the country, England Athletics is confident the number of people involved will continue to rise.

England Athletics Chief Executive Chris Jones commented, “The latest figures from Active People are very positive and we have now seen 10 years of more and more people coming into the sport.
“This on-going long term trend is one that is a tribute to the work of many people, many of whom are volunteers working in clubs, in providing a very diverse range of ways people can enjoy athletics and be part of the sport.

“The past 10 years has seen more people from a wide cross section of the community becoming involved in athletics, for example we have seen a doubling of the number of women involved in the sport. We will continue to work hard, alongside people across athletics, to inspire and enable this widespread growth to continue, and to make athletics and running accessible to all members of the community.

"The Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games give another opportunity for people to be inspired to become involved in the sport where they are.”

England Athletics Head of Running Participation Matt Birkett said, “Running is physical activity at its simplest. It’s sport in its purest sense and a form of exercise in which anyone can be involved. It is this natural simplicity, as well as the obvious benefits to an individual’s health and wellbeing, that attracts such a wide variety of people to take up and continue running.

“A diverse network of voluntary, commercial, charitable, and public sector organisations, and a huge number of volunteers, play an essential role in driving this sustained growth in participation by providing a wide variety of opportunities to get involved and stay involved. We are incredibly grateful to everyone who helps make the sport so attractive and accessible.

“Although we are delighted to see more and more people experiencing the benefits that athletics and running offers, we remain committed to working in partnership with others to build opportunities that make the sport even more accessible and inclusive.”

The Sport England Active People Survey 10 (Quarter 2) figures cover the year to the end of April 2016 and are based on weekly participation of 30min or more.

  • The are now over 1 million more athletes taking part on a weekly basis compared to 10 years ago.
  • Over the same period the number of women participating has now more than doubled.
  • Notably, over the past 12 months, participation has increased by 15% amongst those aged 16-19, 17% amongst those aged 65 and over, 13% amongst disabled people and 7% amongst those from lower socio-economic groups.

More information on the Active People Survey can be found at www.sportengland.org.