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The real reasons millennials run

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Photo: Martins Zemlickis/Unsplash

The oft-scrutinized millennial generation tends to get a bad rep as a work-kinda-hard, play-mostly-hard group of party people. Case in point? The Wall Street Journal’s 2013 piece claiming that millennial runners were “the slowest generation” because they’d rather participate in fun runs and Tough Mudder-style events than competitive races.

But according to the just-released Millennial Running Study, which surveyed more than 15,000 runners ages 18 to 34, millennials account for more than 40 percent of all runners, and are being credited with shaping the future of the sport, Outside magazine reports.

In 2015, more millennials finished marathons (30 percent), half marathons (65 percent), 10Ks (48 percent), and 5Ks (64 percent), than they did fun runs and other untimed events (23 percent). They also reported that they plan to increase their participation in both fun runs and traditional events in the future. (Case in point: The Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon, sponsored by the very-millennial company in the very millennial borough, boasts nearly 30,000 runners—and this year’s race sold out in just 52 minutes!)

As for self-analysis? More than 80 percent of those in the study reported running frequently to improve their health and fitness. That same number also consider themselves serious competitive runners. Only 16 percent reported participating in events “mostly to have fun.” (A mere 1 percent seek out events that “require them to get muddy.”)

The study’s researchers concluded that millennial runners “love to run and challenge themselves” and prefer “no-nonsense, no-frills events.”

So…see you at Mile High Run Club? Bring your fitness tracker—we can compare stats afterward.

For all you serious millennial runners out there, here are some tips on how to adjust your stride to avoid injury.