With the spring racing season nearing a close, my thoughts are turning to powering through some summer training and coming out strong for fall races. Most of the registration and selection for the “big” fall races have come and gone. Still, there is a way for you to cross one of these races off your bucket list in 2014.
No matter your skill level, running requires will power, determination, and even courage. Many of those who benefit from charity and those who do charity work are called to display those same qualities. It is no surprise that running has become a platform to raise awareness for causes and fundraise for charities. Many races have “charity partners” who are given a certain number of entries. These charities give runners the opportunity to obtain a bib and run the race when they meet a fundraising requirement.
Why run for a charity?
-Gain entry into sold out races or guarantee a spot in races that sell out quickly. For example, The Marine Corps Marathon sold out in about 2.5 hours in 2013 and moved to a lottery system for the 2014 race. This means that you are relying on luck for entry. What happens if you don’t get picked? You can try another year or you can run for a charity team.
-Use running for something more than personal fitness and faster paces. If you enjoy running why not use it as a way to give to a cause you care about? Bring awareness to a cause you care about. Run in support or in the memory of a loved one.
- “Perks” to being a part of a charity team. This will vary from charity to charity but may include: running gear, pre-race dinners, transportation to and from the race, pre and post-race amenities like food and massages. You will also have the benefit of a support network offering fundraising and running tip. On race day you will have teammates right there on the course with you.
How do you run for a charity?
-Do a little research. If you have a particular race in mind, start there. Here is more info on charity partners for the Marine Corps Marathon, the New York Marathon, and the Chicago Marathon. If you have a cause or charity in mind, visit their website or contact them to find out if they have a racing team. Here is some more info from Hope For The Warriors, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, andThe Michael J. Fox Foundation. Make sure the charity you are considering is one that you can stand behind. You’ll be more likely to meet your fundraising goals!
-Know your obligations. Initial sign up fees will vary from organization to organization. Usually it won’t cost you more than registering for a race the traditional way. In return for your bib, you will have a fundraising minimum. This can be anywhere from a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars depending on the charity and race. Be clear on what the minimum is, what your deadline is and what happens if you don’t make that dollar amount. Be realistic but don’t be intimidated! Now a days charities make raising money easy by giving you access to online tools that are huge time savers and make it easy to find and keep track of donations.
-Sign up and set goals! You’re a runner so you know what comes next: Set some goals and make a plan of action! I ran the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon for a charity team was an awesome experience. If you are considering running a race as a part of a charity team, my advice would be to go for it!A version of this post originally appeared on my personal blog, Big Shoe Running.
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