Strava, the social network for athletes, has today published its annual Year in Sport report for the UK and global participation. The company adds that tens of millions of athletes across 195 countries call Strava the home of their active life – ‘providing an unparalleled insight into the behaviours and trends of active people in the UK and around the world’.
In 2017, 16 activities were uploaded to Strava every second. Strava’s global community of athletes generated hundreds of billions of data points, covering a staggering 8.4 billion km of cumulative distance – the equivalent of 10,908 round trips to the moon. A measure of Strava’s social community is the kudos, where members give praise to another’s activity. Strava saw 2.3 billion kudos given worldwide, with 344 million kudos within the UK. An impressive 482 million photos were shared worldwide, with 76 million images shared in the UK alone.
Strava added that all those activities create a uniquely positive community for sport, and they also create better communities in the 125 cities that use anonymised data to build more effective transportation infrastructure via Strava Metro.
Across Strava’s global platform, cyclists shared a total of 203 million rides in 2017, they clocked up a total of 7.3 billion km – almost enough for a one-way trip to Pluto. Strava cyclists together accumulated 69 billion metres in elevation gain, which equates to over 10,000 trips up from the earth’s core to its surface. Sunday 21 May was the most popular day for cycling.
Cycling activity on Strava continues to grow and grow as Britain’s riders logged 31 million rides throughout the year, totting up 904 million km along the way. Despite the nation’s modest hills compared with the mountain ranges of continental Europe, UK Strava riders still managed to climb an impressive 8.1 billion metres of cumulative elevation gain.
For ride distance, men in the UK recorded an average 32 km per ride, while women averaged 28 km. The average ride time for men and women showed only a marginal difference – with women averaging 1hr 26 min compared to men’s 1hr 30 min. Women recorded an average speed for the year of 20 km/h, with men registering 24 km/h.
Ceredigion in Wales emerged as the fastest region with an average speed of 33.6 km/h for men and women combined. Northern Ireland took the title of longest average ride with Ballymena cyclists clocking up an average of 51.2 km. Merthyr Tydfil once again proved the hilliest – demanding its riders to average 685m of climbing per ride through the Welsh Valleys. Stirling riders put in the most hours on the road on average, with a ride duration of 1hr 38 mins.
Strava also revealed that London was the most active location in the UK with 4,987,963 rides, followed by West Yorkshire (1,017,913) and Manchester (967,283).
London dominates the leaderboard for the top cycling segments in the UK, with Strava pointing to clear evidence that grassroots cycling is alive and well, as Regents Park came in top with 2,039,575 attempts. The next two segments were from Herne Hill Velodrome (1,728,636) and Richmond Park (1,573,055) respectively.
For many Strava members, cycle commuting is a way of life, with an average of 253,429 rides recorded as commutes to and from work every week in the UK. A pacey average of 22.1 km/h ensured riders made it in on time, tackling an average 13.1 km door-to-door.
UK cycle commuters covered 173 million km – offsetting a potential 11.5 billion litres (and the equivalent of keeping 13,600 cars off the road).
Runners around the world uploaded 136 million runs to Strava, logged 627,239 completed marathons and clocked up an impressive total distance of 1.1 billion km, equivalent to just over 1,400 return trips to the moon. Runners looked to the tail end of the season in order to stretch their legs and marked Sunday 17th September as the most active day for running.
Running has seen a boost in popularity in the past year, illustrated by the fact that for the first time in Strava’s history there are now more runners than cyclists.
The UK contributed 24.7 million runs and 192 million km to the global figures. 83,248 completed marathons were logged in the UK in 2017. Men recorded an average pace of 5:09/km (up from 5:14/km in 2017) for their average run distance of 8.2 km, while women recorded an average pace of 5:57 (up from 6:07 in 2016) over their 7 km average run distance.
Elevation gain for UK Strava runners reached the dizzying heights of 10.5 billion metres in total (equivalent to over a million times up Mount Everest).
During the year, men and women spent a similar amount of time pounding the roads, parks and countryside of Britain; men totalled 19hrs 10min and women totalled 17hrs 51 min over the course of the year. London (with 2,889,403 runs) and West Yorkshire (909,101) once again took the top two spots for most active location, with Manchester (849,048) rounding off the podium places.
Wales proved a similarly lumpy affair for runners, charting 164m of elevation on average in Powys. The longest average run came from runners in Scotland – with Stirling runners averaging over 10km. Omagh came out on top as having the fastest runners on average, with a pace of 5:03 min/km. County Down in Northern Ireland was top of the pile for the longest moving time per run of 1hr 17 mins .
The top running segments in the UK were all found to be at local athletics tracks. A home Athletics World Championships in 2017, combined with grassroots events such as the Strava supported Night of the 10,000m PBs clearly had an impact on the reinvigoration of track and field in the UK. Top of the pile was Mile End Stadium with 155,715 attempts, followed by Parliament Hill track (142,834) and Southampton Sports Centre athletics track (98,665).
Run commuting – UK leads the way
The overall number of run commutes in 2017 grew by 51%, and London topped the world’s list of cities with the most active run commuters. Amsterdam came in second, with Paris, New York, Sydney and San Francisco making up the top six.
There were a total of 2,356,432 commutes, with UK run commuters covering a total distance of 16.7 million km – offsetting a potential 1.1 billion litres of CO2, and the equivalent of keeping more than 1300 cars off the road.
Gareth Mills, UK Country Manager for Strava, said “The Year in Sport report for 2017 highlights some fascinating global and local trends. The 24.7 million runs shared in the UK includes 1.5 million parkruns and 83,248 marathons, showing the diversity of our running community. The 51% growth in run commutes left London as the global capital of run commuting and demonstrates a willingness to move to a healthier, greener way of getting to work. Each of the 31 million rides recorded this year tells a story, from Mark Beaumont’s epic ride around the globe, to the fact that finally have statistical evidence that UK cyclists are obsessed with coffee and cake!”
Getting motivated to ride and run
Strava adds that its data has shown that finding a friend or like-minded group to train with boosts motivation and activity levels, with those who exercise with others 22% more active overall. Likewise, members of Strava Clubs complete 46% more activities on average.
‘Setting yourself a target can also have a big effect, with more than 9 out of 10 people who set a goal in January still active 10 months later. Similarly, if you can manage to exercise at least once a week, the data shows you are 30% more likely to keep exercising all year round.’
UK cyclists and runners powered by coffee and cake
An analysis of Strava activities shows that there’s definitely a focus on just reward for all the hard work everyone has been putting in over the last twelve months. The following breakdown shows exactly what the UK are talking about when they mention food and drink:
Coffee 40,724 (mentions)