What can gender tell us about the pre-retirement experiences of elite distance runners in Finland?: A thematic narrative analysis
Ronkainen, N. J., Watkins, I., & Ryba, T. V. (2016). What can gender tell us about the pre-retirement experiences of elite distance runners in Finland?: A thematic narrative analysis. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 22 (1), 37-45. doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2015.06.003
Published inPsychology of Sport and Exercise
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. This is a final draft version of an article whose final and definitive form has been published by Elsevier. Published in this repository with the kind permission of the publisher.
Objectives This study explores gendered experiences of the mastery stage in endurance runners' athletic careers in terms of (a) key themes in this period of life, (b) retirement decision-making and (c) changes in athletic and runner identities. Design and method Ten male and nine female athletes aged between 25 and 62 participated in individual interviews. The data were analyzed via thematic narrative analysis. Results and conclusion Gendered meanings permeate career decision-making and retirement patterns of Finnish runners. Female athletes reported many difficulties, including health problems, loneliness, societal pressure and lack of social support during the final years of their careers. These aspects were important reasons for them to start considering retirement from sport. Male athletes reported less social pressure and suggested that friendship in sport was a major reason for postponing retirement. Male athletes expressed more interest for coaching others, wherein women perceived themselves as incompetent and/or lacked time and interest for it. Running remained important for the majority of athletes after retirement and they anticipated or had continued regular running post-retirement. ...