Serious running: factors that lead to awareness, attraction, attachment and loyalty to long distance running
Commitment to an activity is widely studied in leisure research. Serious Leisure Perspective (SLP) describes characteristics a committed activity participant possesses. The Psychological Continuum Model (PCM) describes the psychological process a person goes through to become committed to a leisure activity. Awareness, attraction, attachment and loyalty make of the four stages of PCM. Both perspectives have been used to describe committed leisure activity participants and commitment to organized recreational events. Research on leisure activity has yet to determine how the individual becomes loyal. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to determine the process in which recreation activity participates becomes loyal and to identify who can be labels as serious within the PCM Framework. Data was obtained from an online electronic survey distributed to participants of four U.S. marathon and half marathon events. A total of 579 responses were used in the final analysis. Path analysis determined the process in which a runner becomes committed. MANOVA is used to determine difference between leisure groups in the four stages of PCM. Results indicate that activity participants need to go through all four stages of PCM before becoming loyal. As knowledge increases, individuals are more motivated to participate. When the activity satisfies motives and becomes a reflection of their identity, feelings become stronger which results in loyalty. Socialization is instrumental to the progression through the PCM Framework. Additionally, attachment is the "bottleneck" in which all loyal activity participants my pass through. Differences exist between serious leisure groups in the attachment and loyalty stages. Those that are `less serious' are not as committed to the activity as their counterparts.