Resilience and Growth in Marathon Runners in the Aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings

in The Sport Psychologist

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Kelsey TimmMinnesota State University

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Cindra KamphoffMinnesota State University

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Nick GalliUniversity of Utah

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Stephen P. GonzalezState University of New York

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The historic Boston Marathon was struck by tragedy in 2013 when two bombs exploded near the finish line during the race. This tragedy provided the opportunity to study resilience in marathon runners, whose experience overcoming minor adversities may help them respond resiliently to trauma (Dyer & Crouch, 1988). The purpose of this study was to employ qualitative methods to examine the role of resilience in helping runners overcome their experience at the 2013 Boston Marathon. The researchers used Galli and Vealey’s (2008) Conceptual Model of Sport Resilience as a guide. Sixteen 2013 Boston Marathon runners were interviewed. Participants reported experiencing a confusing, unpleasant race day, followed by months of mixed emotions and coping strategies, which were mediated by personal resources and ultimately led to positive outcomes including increased motivation, strength, new perspectives, and a greater sense of closeness in the running community.

Timm and Kamphoff are with the Dept. of Human Performance, Minnesota State University, Mankato, Oconomowoc, WI. Galli is with the Dept. of Health Promotion and Education, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT. Gonzalez is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, Sport Studies, & Physical Education, The College at Brockport, SUNY, Brockport, NY.

Address author correspondence to Cindra Kamphoff at cindra.kamphoff@mnsu.edu.
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