RUN AND BECOME: Motivation and Transformation in the Brighton Marathon
Run and Become is a Creative Campus Initiative project run from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Sussex. As well as a cultural project, it is also a research project, aiming to improve our understanding of the human factors involved in training for and completing a marathon run. The two key themes are motivation and transformation. What motivates people to carry on training and carry on running, through the dark days of winter, and when the pain of ‘the wall’ hits them? How are people transformed through the act of training and running a marathon – bodily, emotionally, personally?
The project involved two Sussex students, Helen Kearney and Adam Brickley, who themselves trained for the inaugural Brighton Marathon, which took place on April 18th 2010. During their training, they completed a weekly video diary in which they reflected on their training experiences, their motivation and self-transformation. Two more Sussex students, Sam Pepper and Jenni Rose Human from the Anthropology Department interviewed Helen and Adam, and 30 other participants who were running in the marathon. They used this material to write their dissertations for their final year Anthropology course, The Anthropology of the Body.
This film, and the book and exhibition it accompanies, draws on Helen and Adams' reflections, and the data gathered by Sam and Jenni, together with other popular and academic sources of writing on running. It was put together by the Brighton-based artist, Matt Pagett.
The film follows the route of the Brighton marathon. Stills taken exactly 1 week before the race are combined with film of the race itself. The voice-over focuses on people's experiences of training, and their expectations of the race.
For their help, guidance and advice, we would like to thank: Brighton Marathon, Esporta Brighton Health and Racquets Club, Saucony, Clif Bar, Jubilee Library, The Basement Brighton, School of Global Studies at the University of Sussex, School of Media and Film at the University of Sussex, Cara Courage, Dimitrios Dalakoglou and Hildi Mitchell.
The project has been an opportunity for us all – including the interviewees – to reflect on our running. We hope the insights will also inspire others to contemplate the ultimate running challenge: the marathon.
For more information, including pdf of the book, the student dissertations, and stills from the exhibition, please go to: