To read this content please select one of the options below:

The relationship between runner environmental paradigm and their motives to participate in an urban or rural marathon

Melissa Davies (University of the Pacific, Stockton, California, USA)
Eric Hungenberg (University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA)
Thomas Aicher (College of Business, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA)

International Journal of Event and Festival Management

ISSN: 1758-2954

Article publication date: 17 October 2018

Issue publication date: 17 April 2019




The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of runner’s concern for the environment plays as a source of differentiation in the type of race they choose to participate. The study also seeks to explore how the environmental consciousness relates with participation motives in an urban and rural race setting.


Participants from urban and rural races were surveyed to explore the relationships between their environmental consciousness, their race selection type and the sport tourism motivational profile for the runners in each of these race locations.


A logistic regression was statistically significant in predicting urban vs rural race choice, correctly classifying 84 percent of cases. Increases in motivational responses relating to self-enrichment, social needs, catharsis and aggression were all associated with an increased likelihood in choosing an urban race. Conversely, motivational constructs related to tourism (e.g. destination attributes) were particularly effective in classifying rural race participants. Subsequent tests revealed significant differences in five of the nine race motives between runners based on their low, medium and high levels of environmental consciousness.

Research limitations/implications

Implications from this study serve to extend the literature on sport and tourism sustainability by understanding the environmental paradigm and sport tourism motives of distance runners in urban and rural race destinations.

Practical implications

This study also serves event organizers from a practical standpoint by offering suggestions to market and execute events in line with participants’ underlying motives which were found to be different in an urban vs rural setting.


In a highly competitive event space like road races, effective differentiation and marketing are paramount to attracting participants. This study advances the research in this area by exploring the role that runners’ concern for the environment plays in their destination and event choice, as well as the differences that may exist in the sport tourism motivational profile for runners at an urban vs rural race destination.



Davies, M., Hungenberg, E. and Aicher, T. (2019), "The relationship between runner environmental paradigm and their motives to participate in an urban or rural marathon", International Journal of Event and Festival Management, Vol. 10 No. 1, pp. 48-66.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles