Personality of marathon runners

a narrative review of recent findings




marathon, ultra-marathon, psychology, personality, motivation, mental health


Participation in marathons has dramatically increased over the last few years. Marathon running has many proven beneficial effects, especially on cardiovascular health and fitness. Most research has focused on physiologic and pathophysiologic adaptations in connection with endurance exercise. Nevertheless, marathon running also has a major impact on psychological aspects and positively influences mental health, which has only recently attracted research interest. The present narrative review aimed to review the personality traits of marathon runners with an emphasis on recent literature. Marathon runners show a distinct personality and highly characteristic personality traits needed to successfully finish such a demanding race, i.e., a strong sense of vigor, self-sufficiency, and intelligence as well as low scores in anger, fatigue, tension, and depression. Furthermore, personality differences are detectable between runners of different sexes, ages, and performance level groups. This has significant clinical implications for athletes, coaches and competition organizers, as these groups show different patterns of personality traits. Future studies should focus on changes in cognition and mood states pre-, during, and post-endurance events, as well as during training periods. Large-scale studies comparing personality differences by sex, age, and performance are also important for better clinical guidance.



How to Cite

Braschler, L., Thuany, M., de Lira, C. A. B., Scheer, V., Nikolaidis, P. T., Weiss, K., & Knechtle, B. (2024). Personality of marathon runners : a narrative review of recent findings . EXCLI Journal, 23, 441–474.



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