I’m a Running Researcher: Josep Capsí

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

Who are you?

Hello, I am Josep Capsí, lecturer in Physical Activity and Sport Science Faculty at the Catholic University of Valencia in Spain, and also director of the Masters in Municipal Sport Management.

What is your background?

I graduated in Physical Activity and Sport Sciences at the University of Valencia in 2006 and did postgraduate studies in Sport Management and Sport Law while working in public sport administration. 2010 was the year I began to teach some courses at higher education and in 2017 I finished my PhD.

How long have you been researching running?

Since 2014 when I started my thesis research.

How did you get into researching running?

I was interested in running as a growing social practice because in Valencia, where I lived at that time, running became an important phenomenon with thousands of new runners taking part in running races. So when I started my PhD I needed a research design and it was planned to find out more about why people were attracted to run and then I got into researching running.

What running research have you done?

My running research so far is a case study focused in the city of Valencia. Me and my colleague Ramon Llopis-Goig try to explain the growth of running in a given territorial context. Using a Practice Theory Perspective, we pay attention to the materials, meanings and competences in running, but also to other practices, organisations or the urban space, in order find a convincing explanation.

How do you research running?

I use qualitative research methods as focus groups and in-depth interviews with runners and other related people (coaches, journalists, mangers, volunteers…). In my opinion they are very good methods to capture how the running social world is and how it changes beyond what you can observe.

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

Maybe that if we want people physically active and practising activities as running we need to consider a lot of elements. Informing population about the benefits of running for health is good but is not enough to engage people. It is necessary to have public spaces that make running pleasant and visible, organisations for runners of different levels and experience, variety of events to facilitate access into the running social world, etcetera. The will is important but it needs the conditions to enjoy it.

Do you run?

Yes. Although I do not run regularly as serious runners do, to me running is basically a place I can always go when I need feel better. I like to combine running with cycling depending on what I feel like doing.

Where can I find out more?

You can follow me on Twitter and ORCID.


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