Date of Award

Winter 2-22-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Marilou Ryder

Second Advisor

Julie Hadden

Third Advisor

Sumer Avila


Purpose: The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore and discover the perceptions of elite female long-distance runners on the benefits and challenges of using social media to build their personal brand throughout their athletic careers.

Methodology: This study was a phenomenological study that identified and described the lived experiences of 10 elite female long-distance runners and the benefits and challenges of using social media to build a personal brand. The sample of elite female long-distance runners were athletes that had qualified for the 2020 USA Olympic Trails in the marathon.

Findings: The study concluded that female athletes identify that in order to receive sponsorships, financial gain, attention, fame or acceptance that they have to often compromise their self, values or belief system, in order to build a larger following or fan base.

Conclusions: There were six conclusions drawn from this study based on the data. The conclusions focused on the data that yielded building a personal brand using social media has significant barriers for elite women athletes to properly build a name around their sport in which they can be properly recognized for their athleticism.

Recommendations: Explore and identify elite female long-distance runners that do not participate in social media and capture their experiences being an elite athlete without using social media.

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