mRunning: New Ways of Running in Kenya

By Per-Olof Hansson.

Published by Journal of Sports Pedagogy and Physical Education

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper argues for new ways for Kenyan elite runners to use smartphones. The study focused on everyday use in social and professional practices to understand the interaction between smartphones, learning, and running. Thus, it was a specific example of how mobile technology can become integrated in existing practices, develop them, and become absorbed in daily routines. Thirty elite runners between the ages of 19 and 34 were provided with a simple smartphone in an intervention study that used a participatory action research approach (PAR) for a period of one and half years. The analysis was based on multiple sources of data and the Silverstone et al. (1992) Domestication of Technology Framework. The Kenyan runners in this study had limited educational background and low incomes, but smartphones with internet connectivity became a powerful catalyst for change. This project showed a distinct example of mRunning; considering the runners’ intensive use of the smartphones and their applications for running. The smartphones had an impact on their professions as runners and acted in a practice-building capacity. The runners were armed with better information about their own training, training programs, rehab information, health, race calendars, race venues, courses profiles, etc. Therefore, most of the runners in the study performed better in competitions. Smartphones were a substantial resource that made a significant impact on the Kenyan runners’ daily practice and became an important and supportive tool for the runner to get out of poverty.

Keywords: ICT4D/M4D, Smartphones, mRunning, Kenya

Journal of Sports Pedagogy and Physical Education, Volume 6, Issue 1, March 2015, pp.1-11. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 350.322KB).

Per-Olof Hansson

PhD-candidate, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Department of Management and Engineering., Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden