New Paper: Geographies of running cultures and practices

This is probably THE paper I’ve wanted to write ever since I started this blog in support of my research close to a decade ago. So I am thrilled I’ve finally got round to it!

Newly out (and open access) in Geography Compass is a review paper co-authored with the fantastic Jonas Larsen on the ‘Geographies of running cultures and practices‘. It synthesises the past 10 years or so of geographical work in running, highlighting the key themes, ideas and approaches geographers have brought to the study of running.

It was a real joy to write and shows just how far geography’s interest in running has come since I started working on it a decade ago. So if you’ve ever wondered why geographers research running, then this is for you. I would LOVE to know what you think.

The paper can be read freely here:

Here is the unroll of my Twitter explainer thread.

What do geographers talk about when they talk about running? 🏃‍♀️🏃‍♂️🏃

Find out in this🚨newly published🚨 review paper by me & Jonas Larsen.

#running has captured the geographical imagination (and mine) over the last decade, but why and how? 🧵⬇️

This paper provides a state-of-the-art synthesis of the geographies of running (with guest appearances from other fields too)

We highlight six key themes that characterise contemporary running geographies and demonstrate the value geography & running bring to each other 🌏🏃


There are many ways of running, each with related but distinct practices, cultures, places and spaces. Geographers have been interested in these, particularly running practices beyond sport and exercise.


Contemporary running geographies are marked by theoretical & methodological developments influenced by a range of lively theories, sometimes researched by being on the run, & occasionally expressed through animated & energetic writing.


A key theme in running geographies concerns experience & embodiment. This is seen in geographers’ interest in the sensory & emotional experiences of running, as well as the relational, embodied politics of running & running bodies.


Running, space & place is running geography’s raison d’être. We’re interested in the co-constitutive relationship between runners & places, how/why running takes place where it does & the politics that emerge from running bodies in different spaces


Geographers have also explored running events, contributing critical insights into how running events are spatially-organised and experienced. These events vary in scale and frequency, from weekly @parkrun around the world to landmark, big-city marathons.


Geographers are increasingly interested in the technologies & objects that mediate running – how embodied running experiences are mediated by GPS watches, clothing & shoes that allow bodies to breathe, be cushioned & tracked in time & space.

We conclude our review with an agenda of sorts, avenues down which future work could valuably progress in more critical & expansive ways

(1) further engagement with digital geographies
(2) the runnability of places
(3) diversifying who does running geography & who it studies

This was a huge joy to read, think and write about. Running geography has developed into a vibrant subfield in recent years, contributing meaningfully to geography and interdisciplinary work on running, sport, and physical culture.

May long that continue!

We’re indebted to all the fantastic geographers and other running researchers whose work we’ve drawn on in the paper (115 of you!). Hope it is of interest to you and others working on running, space, place, bodies & experiences. So a massive h/t to all of you …

@Citiesandstuff @RussHitchings @AndrewBarnfield @HARTResearch @evabrockschmidt @rosswadey @jlcidell @psimpy @mphcrawley @vybarr @inekedeelen @Slipshodspeller @livAfletcher @ItsCPhoenix @clareherrick1 @drdavehindley @pdhowe9 @DrLaytonJ @derekpmccormack @kaisyngtan

@debbielisle @JoLittle18 @unamcgahern @FlockeKerry @Smerchant84 @catherpalmer @NoelBSalazar @Dr_Robin_Smith @hollythorpe_nz @tipataptoptup @gregGwhelan

And all of those who aren’t on Twitter or I couldn’t find here (sorry).

Looking forward to seeing where we all run next!


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