From social interactions to interpersonal relationships: Influences on ultra-runners’ race experience

Harman, B., Kosirnik, C. and Philippe, R.A., 2019. From social interactions to interpersonal relationships: Influences on ultra-runners’ race experience. PLOS ONE, 14 (12): e0225195. ISSN 1932-6203

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Objectives: Ultra-running’s psychological and physiological dimensions have been widely studied. However, the social dimensions of ultra-racing have been largely overlooked. This study aims to identify the different types of social interactions that occur during a multi-day, ultra-race and to understand how these interactions influence ultra-runners’ race experience.

Methods: Athletes competing in Britain’s “Spine Race” were recruited for the current study. Twelve male runners aged between 32 and 66 years (M = 50; SD = 10.01) followed the qualitative protocol designed for the study. Specifically, each participant completed a modified version of the Day Reconstruction Method (DRM) instrument and underwent a post-race, self-confrontation interview. Participants were asked to recall and reconstruct their memories about their (a) actions (e.g., What did you do when you encountered other people?); (b) thoughts (e.g., What were your thoughts when you encountered other people?) and (c) feelings (e.g., What were your feelings when you encountered other people?).

Results: The results show that social interactions and interpersonal relationships are common in ultra-races. Different groups of people play an important role in racers’ motivation and goal achievement: fellow racers, volunteers, medics, friends and family, and even the general public. The resulting social interactions and relationships can occur before, during and after the race in both online and offline environments. These social influences have a powerful influence on the athlete’s race experience.

Conclusion: The vast majority of social interactions reported by runners had a positive effect on their race experience and often led to interpersonal relationships. Ultra-runners should be mindful of the impact that social interactions and relationships can have in shaping their race experience.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: PLOS ONE
Creators: Harman, B., Kosirnik, C. and Philippe, R.A.
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Date: 2 December 2019
Volume: 14
Number: 12
ISSN: 1932-6203
Rights: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 06 Nov 2023 14:55
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2023 14:55

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