New Paper: Running with a bag

Another new paper to report and I am really excited about this one. It is one I have wanted to write ever since I started researching run-commuting and my bafflement that people to manage to run-commute with a bag, given how much I dislike it!

Running with a bag: encumbrance, materiality and rhythm – fresh off the press in Social & Cultural Geography. It is open access too, so is free to read for everyone!

It would be great to hear if this resonates with anyone who does run with a bag (or tried it and said no thank you!).

Here is the unroll of my Twitter explainer thread.

Very excited for this🚨new paper klaxon🚨

'Running with a bag: encumbrance, materiality and rhythm' fresh off the press & open access with @SocCultGeog

I've wanted to write this paper for YEARS, so it's great to see it materialise.



This is my attempt to start understanding the embodiment of run-commuting and exploring the lived experiences of people who #runcommute.

It also draws on & furthers works across geography, mobilities and sport studies related to materials, rhythm and their intersection.


The paper opens with the rising prominence of run-commuting as an active travel mode & pragmatic solution to finding time to run

In combining mobilities of commuting & running, run-commuting introduces new body-object configurations & experiences, such as running with a bag


To help interrogate these experiences, the paper draws on ideas of affective materiality and rhythm from across geography, mobilities, sport studies and physical cultural studies.

This is then applied through attention to the rhythmic, material experiences of run-commuters


Firstly, the paper explores the disruptive rhythms of bag wearing and the impact this object has on running experiences.

This focusses on a range of corporeal, sensory and kinaesthetic rhythms and rhythmic states that emerge from the meeting of bodies and bags on the move.


The process of becoming accustomed to running with a bag is explored next, considering how bodies and bags get used to each other – through adjustment and habit – so that the disruptions become tolerable for the facilitation they offer.


The final section of the paper considers tactics employed by run-commuters to better manage running with a bag.

This explores speed, design choice and packing skills as key factors in harmonising the competing rhythms of running with a bag.


The paper not only highlights the importance of paying attention to mundane objects in mobile and sport practices but demonstrates how better understanding the lived experiences of objects can help facilitate practices.


It ends with an invitation for further work to explore the intersections of rhythm and materials, and for increased dialogue between geography, mobilities and sport studies to further advance thinking in this field.


Huge thanks to all the run-commuters who shared their experience with me.

I am also very grateful to @EmmaCraddock89 @DrSamHayes1 @davidbissell & @TimSchwanen for helpful comments on draft versions, as well as @helen_fwilson & 3 reviewers for their support for the paper.


Originally tweeted by Simon Cook (@SimonIanCook) on March 15, 2022.


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