Finish Lines, Not Finish Times: Making Meaning of the “Marathon Maniacs”

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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  • 1 Central Connecticut State University
  • | 2 Seattle University
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This paper examines how marathoners develop multiple and diverse subjectivities within this distance running space. Specifically, we engage in a case study and critically explore the various ways that a small but growing running group called the “Marathon Maniacs” positions itself within the marathon community. Drawing on Bourdieu’s (1984, 1986, 1990) interdependent concepts of field, habitus, and capital, we uncover the multiple and complex ways that legitimate marathon bodies are constructed within this group. We untangle how the Maniacs negotiate beliefs prominently held in the larger marathon community, revealing how some beliefs are reappropriated in Maniac culture. Further, we critically analyze the forms of capital that are privileged within the Marathon Maniacs, identifying how these practices serve to distinguish and classify Maniacs as distance runners (Bourdieu, 1986, 1990; Krais, 2006).

Cohen is with the Department of Political Science, Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, CT. Hanold is with the Department of Sport Administration and Leadership, Seattle University, Seattle, WA.

Address author correspondence to Diana Cohen at
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