Road Trip: Understanding the Social World of the Distance Runner as Sport Tourist

This source preferred by Richard Shipway

Authors: Shipway, R.

Start date: 11 February 2008

Existing sport tourism studies are largely rooted in the positivist tradition. This study explores the culture of one particular sport tourism ‘social world’, that of distance running, and in doing so begins to develop an understanding of the motivations, behaviour patterns and experiences of the distance runner as sport tourist. Research was undertaken at four major international distance running events over a ten month period, using a variety of flexible qualitative methods of enquiry, most notably observation, participant observation, examination of running-related documentary sources, vignettes, internet chat forums, and life history interviews.

A diverse range of key emerging themes were explored within the cultural context of running-related travel, most notably an exploration of the unique identity and subculture involved with membership of the distance running social world, and the development of a deeper understanding of the unique 'Serious Leisure' qualities that potentially distinguish the activity of distance running from that of a casual leisure activity. The paper concludes by identifying a selection of areas for future research, and argues that in order to really understand sport tourism and sporting events markets; future research needs to be qualitative in its nature.

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