Graduate Program

Clinical Psychology

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Russell E. Gruber


This study examined the varying motivations of runners participating in marathon races. Several variables were explored including age, gender, marathons attempted, marathons completed, and best personal performance time. Five hypotheses were considered: 1) Younger runners will most likely be motivated by Achievement Motives (competition and personal goal achievement) than the older runners. 2) Females will be more motivated by Physical Health Motives (weight concern and general health) than males. 3) Males will participate in marathons more for Achievement Motives (competition and personal goal achievement) than females. 4) Females and males will be similar along Psychological Motives (self-esteem and psychological coping) for running. 5) Runners who reported being more motivated by Achievement Motives (competition and personal goal achievement) would have faster personal best marathon finish times. To test these hypotheses, 551 marathoners completed a demographic questionnaire and the Motivation of Marathoners Scale (MOMS). Participants were recruited during the La Salle Bank Chicago Marathon pre-race exposition. Significant findings supported the third and fifth hypotheses. Male marathoners were higher on achievement motives, and males and females with higher achievement motives had faster personal best finish times. Non-significant findings provided support for the fourth hypothesis that there would be no difference for males and females along psychological motives for running. Implications of these findings and suggestions for further research are addressed.

Included in

Psychology Commons