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How Much is Running Worth?

Posted by George Parker on

A friend told me this (most surely an apocryphal) story about a Stanford Business School professor who put her students into groups on the last day of classes and gave them $5. She instructed them to turn the $5 into as much money as possible in 2-hours and then give a 10-minute presentation to the class on what they did.

What would you do?

Some groups purchased cases of water and sold them individually for a retail markup. These groups did not make the most money. Others decided the $5 was a distraction, and the value was the 2 hours. These students worked their regular career jobs for 2 hours and brought those earnings back. They made more, but they still didn't win the competition. A final group of students realized that the real opportunity was not the $5 or the 2 hours but the 10-minute presentation to the class. They sold their 10-minute presentation slot for thousands of dollars to corporations that desperately wanted to recruit these graduates.

We often start running by signing up for a race. Maybe later, we begin chasing PRs or coveted marathon qualifications. These are all worthwhile aims. However, in my opinion, the real prize is how every aspect of our lives changes because we decide to start running: habits around eating, sleeping, mental resilience, and community. Very few starts running for these reasons, but that's OK. You still get the benefit.

Just think, how much would the future you pay for a 10-minute presentation to young you on why you should start running?

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