Ian MacNairn

Killam Doctoral Scholarship Recipient

University of Calgary

Ian is an ultrarunner.  Ultrarunning is a relatively new sport devoted to long distance running events – anything over the standard marathon distance of 42km (26.2 miles) is considered an ultra marathon.  Since this is such a new sport, Ian is going to be able to develop a novel understanding of the development of social structure, organization, and sport community, which can be diffused to other settings of community-building.  Anthropology is well situated to explore sport as it investigates the interaction of social, biological, and environmental factors that influence individual and collective development and identity.  Contributions from Ian’s research will be shared with relevant organizations focused on sport participation such as Right to Play, Kids Run Canada, KidSport Canada, WinSport Canada, 5 Peaks Adventures, Association of Canadian Ultrarunners and the International Skyrunning Federation.

The University of Calgary is a perfect fit for Ian.  A participant in the Leaders in Medicine (LiM) program, Ian is the first and only LiM student to also be completing a graduate degree in Anthropology.  Working with Dr. Charles Mather on the anthropology of sport allows Ian access to Dr. Mather’s anthropological knowledge and expertise in sport research.  Finally, Calgary is home to a large number of ultrarunners giving Ian a good research base, not to mention being home to his young children and extended family.

When not studying Ian can be found practicing his sport, exploring the mountains or spending time with his family.  Work is never far from mind as Ian’s outdoor adventures provide a great sense of perspective for his studies, while family time offers a welcome and comforting balance to the intense intellectual and physical nature of work and study

Being named a Killam Laureate allows Ian to remain focused on his studies.

“The generous support of the Killam award provides the opportunity to bolster my experience, skills, and knowledge in anthropological research and produce work that will contribute back to the academic community, my study community, and, more broadly, to sport organizations and agencies locally, provincially, and nationally. Being a Killam Laureate means I am able to more fully realize my aspirations of research and community engagement. It means the ability to fully pursue my study and my passion.”

You can learn more about ultrarunning and Ian’s project as well as contact him about participating at www.theultraculture.com.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Images by Bookstrucker Photography


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