Why do they race? – Athlete Motivation & Race Promotions

Using Race Promotions to Motivate Athletes

The other day I was reading a research paper that is a study of athlete motivation for racing events. It examined what prevents and motivates racers how to use this information for race promotion and marketing.

race promotion, race marketing, athlete motivation, racing motivation, racer motivation

Happy Marathoner

The authors sampled over 2,215 runners who participated in a marathon in Northern Greece. Their responders were almost 63% male and the average was 38 years old. This is close to the experience in my hometown. The Bluenose Marathon is 56% male and the average age is between 35 and 40 years old. Overall, women race more often than men. The Bluenose race weekend has 65% women racing in all of their races, but the marathoners tend to be more evenly split.

I am interested in the article because almost every race organizer needs to know what factors influence athlete motivation and the primary motivators.

Race knowledge is the primary athlete motivation factor

I think we can learn from the Greek study. They found that the key factor in athlete motivation to train for and to participate in a marathon is knowledge about the race. There are many other factors that influence behaviour, however, the most statistically significant factor is knowledge.

Demotivating factors for athlete motivation

Two other factors that unmotivated potential participants: are the feeling of tiredsomness and lack of confidence in their ability.

Lessons for race promotion and race marketing

From the information provided by the study we can take away:

  • event marketing and promotion are important
  • provide potential participants all they information they need about the race
  • remind potential athletes that the more fit you are, the more energy you have and
  • create access training information to enable participants to prepare for the race

This gives the athletes, the ability to prepare, the information to register and the confidence in their own abilities.

Other factors the researchers examined:

  • A host of intrinsic and extrinsic motivational factors that influence athletes
  • Lack of facilities and limited accessibility to facilities were not a demotivating factor. This could be because runners can train almost anywhere.
  • Lack of partners were also not a unmotivating factor. This was surprising to me, as I enjoy running in groups.
  • Time constraints did not show any effect on motivation. Again this may be because run training can be very flexible.

The researchers did not examine event cost which will be interesting information to obtain.

You can read the original study here:

Konstantinos Koronios, Marina Psiloutsikou, Athanasios Kriemadis, (2017) “Motives and constraints of participants in running events”, Education + Training

The featured photo was taken by Tim Chesnutt, Race Director of The EPIC Canadian Races.

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