Date of Award

May 2014

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Nutrition Science and Dietetics


Lynn Brann

Subject Categories

Medicine and Health Sciences


Participation in marathons has been on the increase. However, research on the dietary and hydration practices of marathon runners is scarce and little is known about their views on the credibility of various sources of nutrition information. The purpose of this study was to investigate marathon runners' sources of nutrition information, practices surrounding nutrition, and perceived credibility of various sources of nutrition information. This study used an online, self-administered survey. Participants were recruited using email and social media outlets through the electronic mailing lists from two running stores and using the contact information for participants of two large marathon races. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and chi-square tests. This study included 403 participants, 61% of which were female. The mean age was 38.2 ± 10.4. The main sources of nutrition information for marathon runners were friends (57.3%), magazines (44.7%), websites (32.0%) and coaches (25.8%). Registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) and dietetic technicians, registered (DTRs) were rated highest in the category of "very reliable" (39.1%). Most runners (72.7%) look for nutrition recommendations to increase energy. Some marathon runners use outdated practices, including 18.4% using a depletion phase before carbohydrate loading, which is a potential area for reaching and educating this population. Significantly more women look for information regarding weight loss than men (p<0.001). RDNs and DTRs wishing to provide nutrition education for marathon runners can focus on providing and recommending reliable sources of information based on clients' interests and needs.


Open Access