The purpose of this study was to examine how to best promote, execute, and manage traditional foot racing and obstacle racing in the 21st century. Accurately measured traditional foot racing has been in existence since the 1600s (“Running History Story”). Much more recently, in 1990, obstacle racing originated and brought change to the racing industry (“The History of Obstacle Races”). As a result, this study investigated the two different cultures of traditional foot racing and obstacle racing, and what the introduction of obstacle racing means for racing coordinators of both types of events.
A mixed methods study was conducted to examine this situation. 100 traditional foot race participants and 100 obstacle race participants were surveyed at races and through relevant social media regarding: demographic background of both traditional foot racers and obstacle racers, feelings toward traditional foot racing and obstacle racing, drivers of behavior to race traditional foot races and obstacle races, the frequency of engagement in both traditional foot races and obstacle races, and with whom traditional foot race competitors and obstacle race competitors decide to race. Expert interviews were also conducted to supplement survey findings and to gather expert opinions on both traditional foot racing and obstacle racing.
The findings from this study are important because they provide race directors of both traditional foot racing and obstacle racing with a foundation upon which to plan future races. Obstacle racing has impacted the industry, but not to the determent of traditional foot racing. Instead, a new demographic of young, single early professionals have emerged to run obstacle races; compared to the older, established business professional traditional foot racing demographic. Each of these demographics brings their own varied set of wants and needs to traditional foot racing and obstacle racing. These findings are translated into product, place, price, and promotion suggestions that race directors of both events can receive guidance from when planning races.
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Sands, Kathleen, "Traditional Foot Racing v. Obstacle Racing" (2014). Honors Theses - Providence Campus. 17.