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Ultrarunners participate in running events that exceed the 26.2 mile marathon distance (e.g., 50 K, 50-100 miles). Very little research exists on ultrarunners, especially women. The present study is a descriptive study detailing the motivation, goal orientation, demographic characteristics (e.g., age, job demands, family structure), training habits (e.g., hours per week of training), and coach utilization of women ultrarunners. Participants (N = 344) were recruited via the Ultra Listserve and four popular ultrarunning websites, and they completed a questionnaire on motivation, goal orientation, training, and coaching using Survey Monkey. General health orientation (mean + SD) (4.71 ± 1.06) and psychological coping (4.71 ± 1.03) were the two strongest motivational factors. Participants were higher in task-orientation (1.38 ± .68) (e.g., finishing the race or accomplishing various goals) than ego- orientation (3.38 ± 1.01) (e.g., placing in the top 3 overall or beating an opponent). Women trained an average of 12.49 hours a week and spent 64% of their time training alone. Training information came from their own experience, blogs, websites, and the Ultra List Serve. Over three-fourths of the participants (80%) did not use a coach because of cost and a perceived lack of necessity. Women ultrarunners in this study were task-oriented, internally motivated, health and financially conscious individuals. With additional information about women ultrarunners, coaches will be better prepared to work with this population and ultrarunners can improve their performance by learning about current participants' practices.

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This is a non-final version of an article published in final form in Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 25(10): 2835-2842. DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318204caa0