I’m a Running Researcher: Ciara Everard

This post is part of the I’m a Running Researcher series. See all profiles in this series here.

Who are you?

My name is Ciara Everard, I am a part-time PhD student at St. Mary’s University. I also work as a physiotherapist in a private practice. 

What is your background?

I completed my BSc in Physiotherapy in University College Dublin; I then did an MSc in Sports Medicine at the same university. Throughout my undergraduate and Masters, I had a keen interest in the psychological aspects of injuries and qualitative research although most of my undergraduate and Masters education was quantitative in nature. I spent several years trying to find a PhD that worked for me, and finally found that with my supervisory team of Ross Wadey and Karen Howells at St. Mary’s University. My research currently explores the psychological impact of injury on athletes’ well-being and sporting careers and more specifically how athletes derive meaning from their injury experiences through the stories they tell about them.

How long have you been researching running?

The participants for my dissertation for both my undergraduate and Masters thesis were runners, so 8 years in that case.

How did you get into researching running?

I competed in athletics internationally for several years and have run for as long as I can remember, so it was always something that I had a natural disposition to explore more about.

What running research have you done?

My PhD thesis is concerned with exploring injury within elite track athletes. I am fascinated by how athletes make sense of their injury experiences through the stories they tell about them and how athletes injury experiences can be influenced by their social and cultural environments. I recently published a paper from my PhD concerning the stories athletes tell in relation to their injuries, the narrative typologies that underpin these stories and the impact of these narratives on their management and response to injuries over time. My current research is looking at using these narratives as educational tools for other athletes and service providers and disseminating my research findings in more usable, non-academic formats.

How do you research running?

I am a qualitative researcher and I’m particularly interested in narrative theory. I am predominately interested in people’s lived experiences and how we can best understand and create a space for those experiences by exploring them in an in-depth manner and presenting them in a format that is accessible to both academic and non-academic audiences.   

What is the most significant, important, surprising, interesting, unusual, or favourite finding emerging from your research?

That’s a really hard question to answer. I constantly find myself reflecting and ruminating on my data and most of my interpretations or analysis of my findings come when I am running myself. I found all the interviews I’ve conducted to be fascinating, each in their way. I guess, generally I am interested in the various ways that people experience injury and why certain experiences are made narratable while others are not, and what that does for people whose stories are silenced. I am also interested in what messages are promoted and valued within certain cultures and why that might be the case.

Do you run?

Yes, although not as frequently or as fast as I used to, but I still run as often as I can! The reasons why I run have shifted significantly over the year as I no longer compete, and so I feel as though I’m rediscovering running again and running for well-being and enjoyment rather than specific goals.

Where can I find out more?

Twitter @EverardCiara and I have a profile on Research Gate Ciara Everard (researchgate.net). Although, I must admit, I’m not the most active social media user. Alternatively, you can contact me via email on 186102@live.stmarys.ac.uk


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