The Importance of Running (and Playing)


Running has always been an important part of my life, but it’s something that’s easy for me to put on the backburner.

I always find something more important to do that go for a run—catch up on work, spend time with my son, housework.

But what I always realize when I do go for a run is that exercise makes me more efficient, creative, and energetic.

I was fortunate to attend the USA Running conference in Houston last week.

One of the highlights of the trip was the conference keynote speaker Kevin Carroll. Carroll is an advocate for play. He believes that playing is as important as sleeping and eating.

An elated runner crosses the finish line of the Missoula Marathon.

His defining moment happened when he was six years old—after moving in with his grandparents when his mom abandoned him and his two brothers—and he found a red rubber ball at a playground.

The other kids on the playground immediately wanted to play with him. The playground is where he found his community and his passion. Carroll attributes his involvement in sports to his success in life.

Carroll went on to work several interesting jobs, including as a creative change agent—or as he named it, a “Katalyst”—for Nike.

He has also consulted with The National Hockey League, ESPN, Nike, Starbucks, The National Basketball Association, The Walt Disney Company, Mattel, Hasbro, Procter & Gamble, The Discovery Channel, and Capital One by helping turn creative ideas into reality.

Running looks fun, doesn't it?

Carroll’s message is simple: Playing—whether it’s running, kickball or table tennis—makes you smarter. It makes you happier and more innovative.

The studies concur, especially when the choice of play or sport is running. Research has shown that kids who participate in cross-country and track get higher grades.

An article in the June 2011 issue of Mens’ Health attributes running to the success of many productive CEOs. The article went as far as to say that running can help you make more successful and make you more money.

We all know the health benefits of running, but now here’s another reason to put on your running shoes and get out the door. I find it easy to tell myself that I have more important things to do than go running, but when I do run, I reap the benefits.

Now, how are you going to make running part of your life, and how is it going to improve your life?


Stay in the loop with Missoula’s running community! Check out the Run/Walk It archives for more posts from Eva and other Missoula runners and walkers.


Eva Dunn-Froebig is the executive director of Run Wild Missoula and has been running since the seventh grade. She moved to Missoula 12 years ago from upstate New York to attend the University of Montana’s Journalism School graduate program. Eva never dreamed that she would have a running-related job and feels lucky to be a participant in Missoula’s vibrant running community.