Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

William R. Donner, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

D. Alex Heckert, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

David B. Yerger, Ph.D.


The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of the motivations of 5K race participants. The Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA; Fishbein & Ajzen, 2010) was used as the theoretical framework of this study. TRA held that "human social behavior follows reasonably and often spontaneously from the information or beliefs people possess about the behavior under consideration" (Fishbein & Ajzen, 2010, p. 20). TRA was tested using a mixed methods research design beginning with collecting data through a survey and secondary data and then conducting qualitative interviews to triangulate and expand upon the quantitative assertions. The research examined the attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioral controls, past participation, and intentions to participate in a 5K race of known and potential 5K race participants through a questionnaire. After these data were collected, I acquired the 5K race results after they took place to determine whether the person actually participated in their intended 5K race. The sample was comprised of 2011 5K race finishers in the Harrisburg and York area (known runners), members of Harrisburg and York area running clubs (known runners), and Harrisburg and York area general population (unknown runners). The research also included qualitative semi-structured interviews with willing survey participants. The qualitative interviews supplemented the quantitative component by providing detailed information on the runners and their identities. The findings from this study will be provided to Central Pennsylvania nonprofit organizations as a guide to plan a successful 5K race fundraiser or to increase the participation in their current 5K race.