Men are more likely to run a marathon for personal goal achievement and competition reasons than women. These are the findings of a study into people’s motivations to run a marathon, presented on 16th April 2010, at the British Psychological Society’s Annual Conference.
The most frequently cited reasons for running a marathon were achievement of personal goals, such as ‘to finish the race in a certain time’, self esteem, such as ‘to feel proud of myself’ and health orientations, such as ‘to improve my health.’ Men were more likely to give personal goal achievement and competition, such as ‘to see how high I can place’ as reasons for running a marathon than women. Women were more likely to run for reasons around psychological coping – ‘to improve my mood’, or life meaning – ‘to feel at peace with the world’ – or weight concern.
Elizabeth Loughren commented: “We also asked the participants whether they planned on doing another marathon; approximately 70 per cent of women and 79 per cent of men told us they intended to run another marathon within the next six months or year. The most popular reasons why were: ‘to lower my finish time’ (83 per cent), to include the race as part of a vacation weekend (74 per cent), and to improve upon my training (63 per cent). Over 85 per cent of males overwhelmingly cited to lower their finish time, whereas 79 percent of females did so.”