Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Gabriela Morale

Reader 2

Claudia Strauss

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© 2024 Scarlette Anne McCullough


The final question I asked while interviewing the master athletes was always something to the effect of “If a friend came up to you and was interested in getting involved in master track what would you tell them about it?” Participants' answers tended to touch on a few common themes developed above, like the community aspect, getting to push yourself physically, and compete. Participants responded by talking about things like comradery, the ability to compete and friendship. But also about half of the time, those conversations evolved into my interviewee asking about me and trying to get me involved (once I am of age). Follow a description of the welcoming community in master track Dianne asked me,

How old are you now? I think submasters start at 25, but I don't know. I'll have to read the rules. You're welcome to come back. How old are–are you? What are you thinking in terms of going to track and field incorporating that back into your life? I encourage you to have that as a goal to get back into track and field. It's as much fun as it ever was before and less pressure than it ever was before. It's just you doing the best for you.

Wanting to include me in their community highlighted my overall experience speaking with all of the wonderful women I had the chance to interview. One of the most important points the women wanted to get across is that anyone can do it, and they encourage everyone to try. Many said that, if asked, they’d help coach new comers, or share training resources. Most womens’ agreed to take part in the study of one of two reasons: firstly, for the love of master track but also to get more information out there about the masters track community given how impactful it has been for these women as they age.

Masters track and field provides a space for aging women to engage in physical activity where they can find identity, community, value and ‘age positively.’ The participation in sport centers on bodily autonomy, maintaining/striving for the achievement of the fit body, and fighting against social narratives about aging and decline. Being master athletes allowed women to be in a space where they could actively counter stereotypes of aging, highlighting their independence and bodily competency in performance. The competition aspect of participation allowed women to establish social value among peers and in turn their athlete identity. Opportunities to do so are increasingly limited as one ages out of the work force and children grow up. Though there is much focus on the individual, not only in the experience of aging, but also in the sport of track, the community played an essential in shaping identity for the women and creating a space of sharing and relationships.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.