Personality Traits of Ultrarunners | Traits Ultrarunners Have in Common
Runners who take on ultramarathons may share some physical traits in common, but one area where endurance athletes tend to overlap the most is in the psychological realm, according to a new study in scientific journal PLOS ONE.
Researchers looked at 38 men and 18 women who competed in the 2019 Hawaiian Ultra Running Team’s Trail 100-mile endurance run—nicknamed, appropriately enough, the HURT100—and used online surveys to determine athletes’ qualitative experiences. Specifically, they asked about degrees of confidence, control, and perception of motivation and overall grit.
They found high levels of mental toughness and self-efficacy—which is the belief we have in our own abilities to succeed—and when they compared these qualities to athletes in other sports, they found ultrarunners to have significantly more of these two attributes, even compared to grit-heavy sports like rugby and mixed martial arts.
Previous research on endurance runners is limited, and has mainly focused on physiological demands of the sport, like muscle cramping, gastrointestinal issues, and lower limb injuries, according to the study’s lead author, Geoff Lovell, Ph.D., the lead for Hartpury University’s Sport and Exercise Research Center in the U.K.