Why people run : an exploration of the motivations of non-elite runners
A number of questionnaires formed the core of the research reported here. Thirteen studies were carried out in order to find out why people run. The main samples used consisted of marathon and half marathon runners. The main reasons found for starting to run were to improve physical fitness, to improve health or feel better and in order to run in a marathon/half marathon. The perceived benefits reported by runners were examined. These were found to be, in descending order of the benefits derived: improved physical health; increased well being; increased self insight; increased self discipline and improved self confidence. The runners' stated reasons for their involvement in running were also assessed. Factor analysis revealed that running shares many of the motives which underlie other leisure activities. The motivational categories identified were, in order of importance: Challenge; Health/Fitness; Well Being; Addiction; Status and Social. These categories are very similar to those proposed by Maslow (1970). The results reported here show that it necessary for running research, and exercise research in general, to be placed within a much wider context than it is at present. Two main costs were noted by runners. Firstly, a small but significant number of runners reported that running had a detrimental effect on their family and social lives. A comparison of the perceptions of runners with those of their non-running partners showed that runners may underestimate these negative effects. Secondly, a large number of runners reported injuries as a result of their running. Class and gender differences were examined. Blue collar workers were more influenced by the extrinsic satisfiers provided by running than were white collar runners but they were not any less motivated by the intrinsic satisfiers. Running appeared to be more important to the female runners sampled and it brought them greater improvements in well being.