Does GPS Data Prove That Paris Has The Most Dedicated And Fastest Runners In The World? In The US, New York Beats Out LA And San Francisco

October 16, 2015

Strava, the San Francisco-based company that allows athletes from all over the world to track and compare athletic activity recorded via GPS devices and/or phone, has launched a new interactive platform called Strava Insights – “an interactive tool for exploring endurance sports data from around the world.” At the Insights website, you can see how athletes in the 12 most popular Strava cities compare in both cycling and running. There are three US cities on the list – Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco – with the others being Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, London, Melbourne, Milan, Paris, Sao Paulo and Sydney.

We played around with the tool and have come up with the following insights on the runners using Strava.

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In terms of average pace, New York comes out the fastest in America with an average run recorded at 9:15 per mile, compared to San Francisco’s 9:47 and Los Angeles’s 10:26.

In terms of all 12 cities, New York is just average as it’s 6th of 12 with Paris (8:56 per mile) and London (9:00 per mile) leading the way.

via Creative Commons

via Creative Commons

Average pace per mile by runners on Strava 

Avg. Pace City
8:56 Paris
9:00 London
9:11 Berlin
9:11 Melbourne
9:13 Milan
9:15 New York
9:19 Amsterdam
9:33 Sydney
9:41 Barcelona
9:47 San Fran.
10:26 Los Angeles
10:45 Sao Paulo

Now you aren’t necessarily comparing apples to apples as Strava has way more athletes using its app in some cities than in others. In New York for example, there are an average of 1,293 runs uploaded a day compared to 2,623 in LA and 3,542 in San Fran. (London is its most popular city with an average of 8,225 runs recorded per day). So New York may be benefitting from having a higher percentage of die-hard runners among early adopters. Also we wonder if New York’s bad weather (compared to LA or SF) actually might help increase the average pace in New York. It’s doesn’t take a lot of motivation to go for a slow jog on a beautiful sunny day in February in LA but it does on a snowy February day in New York. So maybe the only people who go for a run in February in New York are the super dedicated, who are faster.

London - the 2nd fastest city in the world?

London – the 2nd fastest city in the world?

New Yorkers don’t just run faster than those in LA, they also run farther – with an average run of 5 miles versus 4.7 in LA.

Avg Distance City
4.6 Sydney
4.7 Melbourne
4.7 Los Angeles
4.8 London
4.8 Sao Paulo
5 New York
5 San Fran.
5.2 Amsterdam
5.8 Berlin
5.9 Milan
5.9 Barcelona
6.2 Paris

But looking at both tables together, it’s clear there is a winner. Parisians run both the farthest (6.2 miles) and fastest each day (8:56 mile pace). As was the case with New York, Paris may be benefitting from the fact they are averaging just 1,335 runs uploaded per day.

The data on the Strava Insights page also confirms something we believed going in – Strava is much more popular in the cycling world than it is in the running world. coaching/stat guru John Kellogg can’t run any more now that he’s in his 50s but he’s a big cyclist and he uses Strava to compare his times on certain routes to others in upstate New York.

  New York London LA SF
Avg # runs uploaded per day 1293 8225 2623 3542
Avg # rides uploaded per day 1995 19224 5880 6471