Here is the first in a series of four posts laying bare the results of my survey into just how sociable runners are by @SaulBee.


Why I conducted this survey in the first place?

I’m just a curious guy I guess. I did a small 5 question survey that got a bit of a response and showed, unsurprisingly, that most runners felt some kind of connection with others who shared their hobby. Almost as soon as I started looking at the answers I could see that there was a paucity of information. I wanted to know more. The original 5 questions had the intention of trying to find out if morning runners were more friendly than evening runners. Having done both I always felt that those I saw in the morning were more sociable; I wanted to be proved right. As far as I could tell there was no difference when it came to the responses though. Still my curiosity had been piqued and I wanted to know more about just how sociable running people are.

This led to a second survey to find out more. The first section I thought would tell me a bit more about those who responded than my original survey. In classic style I started by finding out what gender my respondents were, and where they lived. Being a UK resident I asked for the county or the country and left a text box for people to fill in. I certainly had people answer from right across the globe, which was interesting in its own right. From there I started asking questions about general running habits, some of which gave me a clue about the sociability of my sample base before I started properly. I asked how long people had been running, what their favourite distance was and whether or not they were Parkrunners. Part of the issue I had with the first survey was that all the people who answered came from #ukrunchat, and while they are a fantastic and supportive group, the responses were going to be by definition self selected. With this survey I made a real effort to ask people to post it away from the twitterverse so I could get responses from non tweeple. To help weed this out a bit further I asked a couple of questions about peoples social media habits. Of course if I was a good and rigorous academic I would probably have printed up a load of paper copies and sent them to running clubs all over the country. I am however a bit slack so a survey designed built and spread by t’internet seemed like a good idea.

The next section started to pick apart the social attitudes and relations between runners. I included questions about running clubs and tried to find out if there was a perceived common bond between all runners. In this section I also tried to figure out how runners considered non runners, and whether they might actually be a bit evangelical about their hobby. At this point I was sitting skiving at work, devising a list of questions between jobs. I came up with what I thought of as the most controversial question of the lot. I had the cheek and temerity to ask if the people who answered my survey considered themselves to be running bores. I really thought a few people might get upset by this but I wanted it there for a reason. Most runners I know can be a bit obsessive about their interest and I wondered if people could recognise that in themselves. Beyond that this question also implies that other people may on occasion become a little exasperated by their interest, and being told about it over and over again. It would be nice to know that my running compatriots were aware of this frailty in themselves, but most of all I phrased it in this way because it appealed to my own bizarre sense of humour, and I figured that the responses might tell me if at least some people shared it.

Finally I came to the last few important questions, the questions that in the last survey seemed to drive so much interest and have been the subject of a couple of tweets. To high 5 or not to high5: the running dilemma of the age. Personally I am a fan, and when it happens the buzz for both parties is fantastic. The question of high 5’s may be worth a blog of it’s own when this results series is done. The very last question I left as open ended. I just wanted to capture some stories and opinions that the people who were kind enough to respond had about the sociability of their running. I am glad I did this as there were a few revealing comments, but I can say no more. You will just have to stick with it and read this series through to the end!

Check back next week for part 2 of the series!


Twitter: @SaulBee

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