When the U.S. won their first-ever gold medal in the 1972 Olympic marathon, it started a trend for running that shows no sign of slowing down. With more competitors taking part in races and fun runs every year, our infographic traces the growth and popularity of different events.

In the U.S. the basic road race has seen a 170% increase in the number of participants, with 13.9 million runners crossing the finish line in 2011. Although half-marathons are now the fastest growing event, the number of full marathons has more than tripled since 1985, with more than 1/2 million people taking part in 2011. The number of entrants in the ultra-long marathons is also growing, with a dramatic increase in the number of women now taking part in these long-distance runs.

Whilst a lot of runners take their sport very seriously another side to this sport is gaining popularity every year. These are the so-called fun runs, where people take part to raise funds for local charities and have a fun day out at the same time. A very popular race in Green Bay, Wisconsin, is the Beer Belly Two, where competitors run or walk for two miles with mandatory stops along the route.

If something sweet is more your thing, why not try a cupcake run? Billed as a classic battle between those who eat and those who compete, the run pits speedy eaters against speedy runners. By munching mini or standard cupcakes participants can deduct up to 25 minutes off their finishing time. Or for something a little different, why not try a zombie run? This is a 5k obstacle course, but you won’t just be running against the clock, you will be running for your life from flesh-eating, virus-spreading zombies!

We hope our infographic has encouraged to put on your running shoes and take part in something fun.


Read more: Reasons Why Long Distance Running is A Lot Like Sales