MEDIA FACTORS INFLUENCING PEOPLE TO PARTICIPATE IN A RUNNING EVENT
Nowadays, many Thai people are interested in a running event. The popularity of running events has increased significantly over the last five years. The number of running events in Thailand has arisen from 492 events in 2015 to 1608 events in 2019. Therefore this pilot study aimed (1) to examine which media factors increase the popularity of running, (2) to give an overview of media related to running, concepts and theories of media, and new media influence. This pilot study is based on a qualitative research method. Running participants (n = 12) who run at least two times per week were interviewed. Results showed that many media factors influence the participants to be a runner. For example, inspiration from pictures and caption of friends or relatives through social media, as a result, their health improves, and they seem to be happier. Then the participants decided to join a first running event and became a runner.
Moreover, participants are interested in health and have ever done other kinds of exercise. New media also has a central role in supporting a running activity. An internet search engine is used to gain information about improving running efficiency, running training plans, and running accessories and equipment. Social media is another media channel that creates a network for runners. Some participants were invited into a runner group from high school friends, colleagues or a group of runners who they never know. This networking could provide some benefits such as finding the information and announcing running event news.