15th European Congress of Sports and Exercise Psychology, July 2019, Münster, Germany
The longer you run, the crazier you are? A study on the personality of extreme long-distance runners
Dr. Michele Ufer
Key words: big five, endurance, ultra marathon, trailrunning, extreme sports
Long distance races are becoming more and more popular, in particular, extreme variants over several hundred kilometers in exotic areas far from civilization, e.g. in the desert, rainforest or Arctic (Ufer, 2017). Frequently, the participants of such competitions are called "crazy" by outsiders and media representatives, although, some studies have shown that there are no differences in the personality of (ultra) long distance runners and the normal population (Janouch, 2016, Stoll & Rolle, 1997). But is that also true for extreme forms of running, covering distances of more than 160 km in hostile environments? Do the participants of extreme ultra-endurance competitions differ in their personality traits from the normal population and less extreme runners? In total, N = 437 runners participated in an online survey. In addition to sociodemographic data, athletes' Big Five personality traits were recorded using the BFI-10 (Rammstedt, Kempe, Klein, Beierlein, & Kovaleva, 2013). The sample was divided into five sub-groups depending on the longest distance they have ever run: 22/45/100/160/>160 km. Surprisingly the extreme runners (>160 km) was the only group that did not differ significantly in any of the of the Big Five personality traits from the norm sample. However, (half) marathon runners differed significantly in four dimensions from the extreme runners: extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness and conscientiousness. Detailed results and implication for future research are discussed.
Janouch, C. (2015). Trailrunning: Motivationale Zugänge und Persönlichkeitsstrukturen von Trailläufern. Masterthesis, Universität Halle-Wittenberg
Rammstedt, B., Kemper, C., Klein, M. C., Beierlein, C., & Kovaleva, A. (2013). Eine kurze Skala zur Messung der fünf Dimensionen der Persönlichkeit: Big-Five-Inventory-10 (BFI-10). Methoden, Daten, Analysen (mda), 7(2), 233-249.
Stoll, O., & Rolle, J. (1997). Persönlichkeitsprofile und habituelle Streßbewältigung bei Ultralangstrecken-Läufern. Sportwissenschaft, 27, 161-172.
Ufer, M. (2017). Flow-Erleben, Anforderungsfähigkeitspassung und Leistung in extremen Ultramarathon-Wettkämpfen. Hamburg: Verlag Dr. Kovač
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