Orientating to the urban environment to find a time and space to run in Sofia, Bulgaria

Andrew F R Barnfield*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


This paper qualitatively explores how runners orientate themselves to a time and a route to run in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. The experiences of urban running enable a better understanding of the embodiments and techniques involved in physical activity participation in an urban environment. The paper draws on data from a mixed methods research project of recreational running in Sofia, offering a discussion of everyday experience, running practices and urban space. The study combines participant observation, running diaries and in-depth qualitative interviews with runners to think through the many processes involved in learning and maintaining a physical practice in an urban environment. The paper concludes by identifying the key issues and experiences of the runners and how these can be utilised to improve our knowledge of running in cities. This study draws attention to the challenges in establishing landscapes of movement for European cities.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Review for the Sociology of Sport
Early online date3 Feb 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Feb 2019

Structured keywords

  • SPS Centre for Urban and Public Policy Research


  • Eastern Europe
  • physical activity
  • qualitative
  • running
  • Sofia

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