I see two problems for the running movement.
1. The couch to marathon in X-weeks fad is burning out and injuring lots of newbies. Studies show up to half of newbies training for a marathon from almost zero base get injured and drop out. For those that do finish, it's a miserable training experience and they're one and done.
2. The cost of local races is too high. This past weekend, for example, the local 5k cost $45 for week-of-race signup and would cost me $9 in gas to drive round trip. That's $54, plus several hours of my time just to do a race. Of course, out of town marathons cost far more: $150 registration, $200-$400 hotel, $400-$600 airfare, meals, and transfers. I spent roughly $4,000 in travel, hotel, car rentals, and registrations this year.
#1 by far is likely the biggest problem. #2 for sure plays a role, and is quite ridiculous when ya think about it. I said earlier, the couch to marathon concept is not only stupid, but you're setting yourself up for a potential serious injury and severe burnout. I have never run an ultra, but am a huge fan of the sport, and with some people running some pretty outrageous distance nowadays, the concept of running a local 5/10K has maybe lost it's allure, or importance to somebody relatively new to the sport of running. It all goes back to, what's your innate draw to the sport? If social media likes can only reinforce your value to running because that's what inspires you to sign up for something, chances are, it's not sustainable.
I support whatever gets new runners tapping into that crazy gene we all possess to a degree, I just hope whatever inspires you comes from a meaningful place.