Noora Ronkainen, Tatiana Ryba



JSS 2.1

Past News

JSS 2.1 ‘That is Why I Gave In to Age My Competitive Ability, but Not My Soul!’ A Spiritual Journey in Endurance Running

by Ms Noora Ronkainen & Ms Tatiana V. Ryba, Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, Denmark
Journal for the Study of Spirituality 2, no. 1, 2012, pp. 10-28

In this article, we explore the spiritual dimensions of endurance running. Utilizing existential psychology as our theoretical framework, we approach spirituality as a broad concept encompassing both religious and humanistic worldviews. Through the first author’s reflexive narrative and a discourse analysis of a Finnish runner’s magazine, Juoksija, this study aimed to gain a deeper understanding of how distance runners negotiate dominant discourses on sport and religion in the process of making running existentially meaningful to them. The research results suggest that spiritual aspects of running underlie, but are rarely given voice in, the performance discourse that is dominant in Finnish running culture. The spiritual and/ or existential dimensions become especially meaningful, however, when transitioning from elite-level sports. We suggest that discovering ‘spiritual running’ can be a protective element in athletic retirement, enabling runners to sustain running as a central part of their identity even after retirement from competitive sports. To highlight the fluidity of spirituality, this paper is written as a multi-voiced representation of the spiritual meaning of endurance running current in Finnish running culture(s).

To read the full article, click here.