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The information of story: the genre and information activities of ultrarunning race reports

Tim Gorichanaz (College of Computing and Informatics, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)

Aslib Journal of Information Management

ISSN: 2050-3806

Article publication date: 17 July 2017




The purpose of this paper is to explore the “race report” as a document genre in the serious-leisure pursuit of ultrarunning. Despite the sport’s largely non-documental nature, race reports stand as an anomaly in their importance. This exploration serves as a springboard to investigate the informativeness of story in human life generally.


A qualitative survey of the information behavior of ultrarunners was conducted. The 46 participants were runners in a 100-mile footrace in 2016. Responses were first analyzed through phenomenological theme analysis and then were subjected to a deductive audit using a framework of information activities validated for use in serious-leisure pursuits.


Race reports are bound up in information activities across the information-communication chain. Race reports help athletes choose races, prepare for races, pre-experience races, communicate their race experiences, gather new ideas, extend their training and, finally, find entertainment.

Research limitations/implications

This discussion of genre is synchronic, largely limited to one moment in time, and its findings were limited in depth by the survey method. Further research should investigate race reports historically (diachronically) and infrastructurally.


This work points to symbiosis between genre theory and information behavior theory. It also legitimizes narrative reasoning as a way of knowing, which has been largely unrecognized in information behavior. Some implications of this for information science and technology are discussed.



Gorichanaz, T. (2017), "The information of story: the genre and information activities of ultrarunning race reports", Aslib Journal of Information Management, Vol. 69 No. 4, pp. 460-474.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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