Since there’s no wrong way to run, that means there are only right ways. For proof, check out the following handful of athletes from a larger showcase of unique runners, who came to the sport from unconventional places. Their stories prove that running can be transformative in diverse ways—sparking creativity, balancing day-job demands, and uplifting others—but always pointing the same direction forward. For this trio of women in particular, running helps them fuel key performance and job-site production.
MEET: Dani Goodson
The elite hotshot squad leader who runs to stay ready for wildfires.
Dani Goodson started running when she got her first wildland firefighting job. “I still remember the first time I ran down the canyon road by my house,” she says. “I had no idea what I was doing. It felt weird, and I remember thinking, ‘Man, am I doing this right?’”
Fast-forward 16 years, and Goodson spends hours running in the mountains of Montana, ticking off as much vertical gain as possible. She describes her challenging training runs as “so satisfying to complete.” Though she occasionally enters ultramarathons with her fire crewmates to maintain camaraderie in the firefighting off-season, the main purpose of Goodson’s running is to be ready for the frontlines—where the fire burns the hottest. She’s a Forest Service Hotshot squad leader.
“Physical fitness is such a huge part of any job in wildland firefighting,” says Goodson, “and in hotshotting, it’s especially critical to show up ready to perform at your highest level. The job is incredibly demanding, and for our safety and the safety of everyone around us, being able to move quickly up hills and not fatigue easily is very important.”
MEET: Storm Reid
The rising actress and student who runs to stay grounded.
After her leading role as Meg in Disney’s 2018 adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time and now starring in HBO’s current breakout hit Euphoria, it’s no wonder Storm Reid talks about how her life can feel like a “whirlwind.” Just this year, she starred in the Sony film Missing (which jumped to No. 1 on Netflix upon hitting the streamer in May 2023) and in a guest role in the record-breaking Max series The Last of Us. College coursework only adds to the directions pulling the 19-year-old actress, producer and student. With production travel compounded by impending exam study, Reid admits to having trouble being in the moment. “I’m always thinking about what I have to do next,” she says.
Fortunately, Reid recently discovered how lacing up her shoes for a run outside can be a true “cultivator of joy.” The three-part Beyond the Run series documents her experience integrating running into her stacked schedule. On the journey to regular time spent in motion, the episodes detail how solitude provides a welcome break in her busy life, as well as the larger psychological benefits of a running routine.
“I know that what helps my mental health is moving,” Reid says, ever grateful for running’s ability to calm her nerves and “not feel so overwhelmed.” And considering the “out-of-body experience” that is her acting work—stepping into the shoes of a character—the trail time spent back in her own shoes matters that much more: “Being present and in my own body is a really beautiful thing.”
MEET: Al Greenwood
The rock star who finds a flow state both drumming and running.
Like many, Al Greenwood found running during the pandemic. As the drummer for alt-rock band Sports Team, shutting down tours with the six-piece outfit meant the loss of her key outlet. But discovering running led Greenwood to recognize the power of movement.
“Running transformed my sense of self and gave me purpose and structure during lockdown,” she explains. “But beyond that, running has become a tool through which I reconnected with my body and came to reconceptualize it.”
The routine helped Greenwood gradually regain the same sense of power and flow that drumming provides. And since becoming “totally hooked,” she’s spent serious time trying to facilitate women’s access to “the joy of movement that I found in running.” Between gigs, this rock star set up a creative collective in the UK called INMOTION to further her mission.
“I believe that running and movement can expand perceptions of ourselves and what people believe they’re capable of, which can translate to all areas of life,” says Greenwood during a spring North American tour (including performances at SXSW) with the London-based band, fresh off its sophomore album debut. Amid the tour stops, Greenwood only keeps moving. “[Running] remains a touchstone of self-care, a sense of routine, and an amazing way to explore new cities.”
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