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The Toll Families of Endurance Runners Pay for Their Loved One’s Passion

by | Feb 17, 2023

This article was read 3373 times. Enjoy!

The Toll Families of Endurance Runners Pay for Their Loved One’s Passion


Endurance running is a challenging sport that requires significant commitment and dedication from the athlete. However, it’s not just the athlete who is affected by this lifestyle. The families of endurance runners also pay a significant toll in various ways. From financial costs to emotional and physical burdens, families of endurance runners often face challenges that require immense support and understanding.

Time and Commitment

Endurance runners need to dedicate a significant amount of time to training, which can impact family time. Training can involve long runs or races that take the runner away from home for extended periods. The athlete might need to leave for a long run on a weekend morning, leaving the family behind. While the athlete may be passionate about running, it can be challenging for the family to make plans and spend time together.

Studies have shown that the time demands of endurance running can cause tension between the athlete and their family members. In one study, researchers found that some spouses felt neglected due to their partner’s extensive training schedule. The athletes also reported feeling guilty about the time they spent away from their family.

Financial Costs

Endurance running can be an expensive sport, with costs for equipment, race entry fees, and travel expenses. These costs can add up quickly and impact the family’s finances. The cost of running shoes alone can be a significant expense, especially if the athlete needs to replace them frequently.

Some studies have found that endurance athletes spend up to $15,000 per year on running-related expenses. This amount can be a considerable financial burden on families, especially if they have other financial obligations. While some families may support their loved one’s passion, they may struggle to afford the necessary expenses.


Endurance running can be a stressful sport for both the athlete and their family. The athlete may experience stress related to performance, injury, or balancing training with other responsibilities. The family may experience stress related to supporting the athlete’s goals, managing household responsibilities, and dealing with the athlete’s physical and emotional needs.

A study conducted in 2019 found that family members of endurance athletes experienced high levels of stress due to the demands of the sport. The study found that spouses of athletes reported feeling overwhelmed by the athlete’s training schedule and worried about their well-being. Parents of athletes reported feeling anxious about their child’s performance and safety during races.

The Impact on Children

The demands of endurance running can also impact children in the family. For example, the child might feel like they are not getting enough attention from the athlete parent or may not be able to participate in certain activities because the athlete is busy training. Children may also worry about their parent’s safety during races and be concerned about their well-being.

One study found that children of endurance athletes had mixed feelings about their parent’s sport. Some children reported feeling proud of their parent’s accomplishments, while others felt resentful of the time the athlete spent training.

Physical and Emotional Burden

Endurance runners often require significant support from their families, both physically and emotionally. Family members may need to help with the athlete’s training, such as providing water during long runs, or assisting with injury recovery. They may also need to provide emotional support, such as cheering the athlete on during races, or offering encouragement during periods of low motivation or injury.

However, this support can come at a cost. In some cases, family members may neglect their own needs to support the athlete, leading to emotional exhaustion and burnout. Studies have shown that caregivers of endurance athletes can experience high levels of stress and may be at risk for depression and other mental health issues.

The Risk of Injury

Endurance runners are at risk of injury, and family members may need to provide additional support during the recovery process. In some cases, injuries can be severe and require a significant amount of time and energy from family members to manage. In addition to the physical demands of injury recovery, family members may also need to provide emotional support to the athlete during this difficult time.

Studies have found that injuries in endurance runners can impact not only the athlete but also their family members. One study found that injuries in athletes can lead to feelings of frustration and helplessness in family members, who may struggle to support the athlete during this time.


Endurance running can be a rewarding and fulfilling sport for athletes, but it also comes with significant challenges for their families. The time and financial costs, stress, and physical and emotional burdens can impact family members in various ways. However, with support and understanding from their loved ones, endurance runners can continue to pursue their passion while maintaining healthy relationships with their families.

Patrick Michel

Endurance Runner – Marketing Strategist

Patrick Michel is a Montreal-based endurance runner specializing in long-distance multi-stage charity ultra runs. For almost two decades, he has inspired many to engage in running, get fit and grow stronger physically and mentally. He has also written many articles about running.