Run-commuting in the UK: the emergence, production and potential of a mobile practice

Simon Cook

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This thesis explores the recent rise of run-commuting within the UK. Run-commuting is the practice of running to and/or from work and has grown in prominence within the UK (and beyond) in the last few years. This thesis offers the first study into run-commuting and aims to understand how it has emerged, how it is produced as a practice and the potential it has in the UK to sustain itself and grow.

In order to approach run-commuting with the breadth and depth necessary to understand it in this way, this thesis has drawn influence from the intellectual resources for understanding movement offered by transport geography and mobility studies, and frameworks of mobility in particular. Reflecting the changing nature of run-commuting, this study adopts a bricolage methodology that foregrounds an emergent research design alongside multiple perspectives and methodological eclecticism in understanding phenomena. Combined with five years of ethnographic engagement, this thesis explores findings generated by survey, interview and go-along methods in order to understand the rise of run-commuting in the UK.

The empirical chapters analyse the emergence of run-commuting by providing a profile of the practice, exploring the thingness, motivations, catalysts and brute facts of run-commuting. They analyse its production by exploring important spaces of run-commuting, specifically home, work, waypoints and running spaces, considering their role in enabling or constraining run-commuting practices and experiences. These reveal a practice caught between running and transport, exhibiting elements related to both. More importantly however, run-commuting is a time-management solution, harmonising the rhythms of everyday life. As such, its significance extends beyond running or commuting, playing a crucial role in the management, accomplishment and spatio-temporal structuring of everyday life for practitioners. However, this issue-driven nature of run-commuting may limit its potential and questions the sustainability of the practice, which are matters considered in the conclusion.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Adey, Peter, Supervisor
  • Crang, Philip, Advisor
Thesis sponsors
Award date1 Oct 2020
Publication statusUnpublished - 2020


  • running
  • run-commuting
  • mobility
  • transport
  • sport
  • exercise
  • everyday life
  • mobilities
  • commuting

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