Why you're particularly likely to run your first marathon when your age ends in a '9'

Posted on November 18, 2014

Photo: flickr

When we look at our lives, we tend to break them up into chapters, rather like the seasons of a TV box set. Potential dividers come in many forms, including the dawn of a new year, or the start of a new job. But if those events act as a marker between episodes, it is the decades of our lives that represent the more profound end of one series or season and the start of the next.

According to the psychologists Adam Alter and Hal Hershfield, when we're on the cusp of one of these boundaries - in other words, when our age ends in a "9", such as 29, 39, 49 or 59 - we are particularly prone to reflect on the meaning of our lives. If we don't like what we see, their new results suggest we take drastic action, either fleeing life's emptiness, or setting ourselves new goals.

The pair began by looking at data from the World Values Survey. Based on answers from 42,063 adults across 100 nations, they found that people with an age ending in 9 (the researchers call these people "9-enders") were more likely than people of other ages to say that they spent time thinking about the meaning and purpose of their lives.

It seems the "crisis of meaning" triggered by the prospect of a new decade can also lead people to set themselves new goals. When the researchers looked at data on the Athlinks website, they found that among 500 first-time marathon runners, 9-enders were over-represented by 48 per cent.

Click on the link below to read the full article

Source material from British Psychological Society

Mental Health News

  • 6 Signs of a Codependent Relationship

    newsthumbCodependency can be recognised when two people with dysfunctional traits become worse together. The biggest issue is the belief by one or both ...

  • ODD and the Rebellious Child

    newsthumbOppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), while exhibiting symptoms that sound very much like a typical rebellious child's behavior, is a disorder that ...

  • New insights into lifetime personality chages

    newsthumbPersonality changes have been a hot topic, not only among academics but also sparks the curiosity of the layman, evident by the myriad of personality ...