Runners’ tales: Autoethnography, injury and narrative
University of Exeter
This paper examines the importance of narrative activity in the construction of the injured and rehabilitated sporting body and the successful reconstruction of positive athletic identity. It is based on autoethnographic research undertaken by the authors, both of whom are middle/long-distance runners, during a two-year period of injury and gradual rehabilitation. The paper delineates certain narratives which were generated during the process of injury and recovery, commencing with narratives of suffering and sacrifice, through those of pilgrimage and blame to the more positive narratives of compensation and subsequent empowerment and progress. We examine the role played by these narratives in enabling us to make sense phenomenologically of our injuried bodies, to achieve momentum and to maintain positive running identities in the face of threat to the running selves. Via narrative exchanges, as ‘co-tellers’ we achieved a high degree of intersubjectivity which was crucial to our eventual return to full running fitness and athletic identity.
This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in Auto/Biography.
Auto/Biography, 2001, Vol. IX (1&2): 95-106