The Effect of Covid-19 on Rural Sport: A Case Study of Endurance GB

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The Covid-19 pandemic affected virtually every country in the world and many people’s lives. This research investigates the effect of Covid-19 on rural sports in the UK, specifically on the equestrian sport of endurance. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is used to determine levels of emotional investment pre, during, and post Covid. Contrary to the upward trend of consumer spending on recreation over the past five years (Statista, 2022), Endurance GB paid membership has declined year on year with a large drop in 2020 as lockdowns hit the UK according to Endurance GB membership data. This was combined with questionnaires sent out to all current Endurance GB members in September 2021. Respondents were asked about how Covid-19 had affected the continuance of their sport. The results showed that 81% planned to join as normal next year but 18% were keeping an open mind and would re-join when things were back to normal. Secondary ride and membership data for 2022 showed that membership was tracking in line with 2019 and early season rides were full, indicating as much enthusiasm for the sport as there was pre-Covid. However, by mid-season memberships had dropped slightly and ride entries were lower than expected. Some membership patterns changed, with a large increase in registered supporters and riders doing pleasure rather than competitive rides. During Covid focus dropped from “belonging” to “safety and security” (Maslow’s hierarchy of needs), with the higher needs becoming redundant.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAgricultural & Rural Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2024


  • endurance GB
  • covid-19
  • rural sport
  • equestrian sport

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