“It’s Not About Taking the Easy Road”: The Experiences of Ultramarathon Runners

in The Sport Psychologist
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  • 1 Barry University
  • | 2 New Mexico State University
  • | 3 Liverpool John Moores University
  • | 4 United States Military Academy
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Ultramarathon (UM) running is a rapidly growing sport throughout the world, yet to date it has received little attention in sport psychology literature. To obtain further insight into this sport, the current study examined the training and competition experiences of UM runners. Phenomenological interviews were conducted with 26 participants ranging in age from 32 to 67 years (M = 44.1 yrs, SD = 8.1). Qualitative analysis of the interview data identified meaning units, which were grouped into major themes. A final thematic structure revealed five major themes that characterized the participant’s experience of UM running: preparation and strategy, management, discovery, personal achievement, and community. Taken together, the present results extend previous research on UM running and provide a number of suggestions for sport psychology consultants working with UM runners.

Simpson is with the Dept. of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Barry University, Miami, FL. Post is with the Dept. of Human Performance, Dance & Recreation, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM. Young is with the Dept. of Physical Education, Sport Development, and Coaching, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK. Jensen is with the Center for Enhanced Performance, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY.

Address author correspondence to Duncan Simpson at Dsimpson@mail.barry.edu.
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