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Enablers and barriers in ultra-running: a comparison of male and female ultra-runners

Valentin, Stephanie; Pham, Lan; Macrae, Eilidh


Lan Pham

Eilidh Macrae


Female participation rates in ultra-running is considerably lower than that of males, but the reasons for this are not fully understood. In this study, online questionnaire responses were collected from ultra-runners taking part in the Scottish Jedburgh 3 Peaks ultra and Highland Fling race. One-to-one-semi-structured phone interviews were conducted with a subset of runners to further explore themes from questionnaire responses. Similar experiences among male and female ultra-runners were identified. Enablers were: wanting a challenge, nature/outdoors, and the friendliness of the ultra-community. The main barrier was training time. Qualitative responses suggested negotiation-efficacy was important for factoring in training around work and family commitments, and although a greater proportion of males had dependants compared to females, female participation was considerably lower than males. This may be due to the historical influences of traditional gender roles however this effect may be diminishing as female participation in Scottish ultra-races appears to be increasing.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Mar 19, 2021
Publication Date 2022-11
Deposit Date Feb 8, 2023
Publicly Available Date Feb 8, 2023
Journal Sport in Society
Print ISSN 1743-0437
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 25
Issue 11
Pages 2193-2212
Keywords gender, barriers, motivation, ultra-running, endurance, negotiation-efficacy, participation


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