Kings and Queens of the Mountains – Utahns Love to Run and Bike

Pete CodellaAccolades

Utah isn’t a run of the mill state when it comes running, biking and enjoying outdoor recreation. According to new data from Strava, a popular app for tracking fitness, Utahns are 10th in the nation for running and eighth for biking activity.

The data also revealed Utahns climb elevation – a lot. Utah placed fourth hilliest for running and seventh hilliest for cycling. It’s easy to see why all the recent accolades about Utah’s world-class outdoor recreation opportunities are being noticed – Utahns are trail running, mountain biking, running marathons and riding centuries, and sharing those feats with the world.

“I run year-round and bike during the summer,” said Tara McKee, program specialist for the Office of Outdoor Recreation. “Most people in the state seem to be pretty committed. Everything is close to home and for the majority of the year, the weather is perfect. It’s pretty hard not to get outside and enjoy the mountains or the open space of the desert and many professional athletes train here for bigger events.”

Well-being is important to Utahns. According to the United Health Foundation, Utah is the seventh healthiest state, and the League of American Bicyclists ranks Utah fifth for “bicycle friendliness”.

In addition to having registered dark sky areas and being only one of a handful of states to have a community bike-share program, Utah enjoys 125 clear days of sunshine, ranking fifth in the nation. No wonder Utahns are active!

The Strava stats for Utah runners and cyclists are exciting. The stats are as follows:


Average elevation gain feet: 341
Hilliest rank among states: 4th
Activities: 400,259
Active rank: 10th
Average moving time: 55:39
Most time rank: 11th
Average distance: 5.28 mi
Longest distance rank: 5th


Average elevation gain feet: 1254.3
Hilliest rank: 7th
Activities: 796,326
Active rank: 8th
Average moving time: 2:24:57
Most time rank: 11th
Average distance: 18.8

“It’s pretty impressive to see how many people run and bike in our state,” said Val Hale, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. “I personally run regularly and enjoy training with my wife on our tandem bike for long distance races such as the Salt Lake Century, the ULCER, the Saint George Century and the Seattle-to-Portland ride, and 9 days out of 10 the scenery and outdoor training environments are ideal.”