The Story of Withdrawals During an Ultra-Trail Running Race: A Qualitative Investigation of Runners’ Courses of Experience

in The Sport Psychologist

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Roberta Antonini PhilippeUniversite de Lausanne

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Nadège RochatUniversite de Lausanne

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Michaël VauthierE.S.P.E.

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Denis HauwUniversite de Lausanne

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We analyzed the courses of experience of 10 runners who volunteered to describe their experiences of withdrawal during an ultra-trail race. Data collected contained traces of past activities elicited in self-confrontation interviews. Data were coded and compared with identify structures in common sequences. Seven representative sequences were identified: feeling pain; putting meaning to those feelings; adjusting one’s running style; attempting to overcome the problem; other runners’ influences; assessing the situation; and deciding to withdraw. Results showed that disruptive events could cause progressive, cumulative, and varied transformations in runners’ courses of experience that led inevitably to withdrawal. Practical implications for mental preparation and race management are proposed.

Antonini Philippe, Rochat, and Hauw are with the Dept. of ISSUL, Universite de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland. Vauthier is with E.S.P.E., Réunion, France.

Address author correspondence to Roberta Antonini Philippe at roberta.antoniniphilippe@unil.ch.
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