Charity running has made its mark on running and racing over the past 20 years. Some charities form their own “teams in training” for fundraising as they train and participate in a targeted race. Some non-profits organize races that are designed to fund raise for their cause.
Clearly, charity running has accomplished three major goals.
- It has become a boon to running by providing explosive growth to races and race sizes.
- It has been a mechanism to generate millions of dollars for charities that never would have been collected otherwise.
- It has been the catalyst for many former sedentary individuals to become avid walkers and runners with healthier lifestyle.
- It has given greater purpose to many runners.
The reasons individuals participate in a charity running organization are as many as there are people. Most often I would guess that it is because that “issue” directly impacted their life, a family member’s or friend’s life. Though I know of a few runners who do so because the cause pulled at there heart and soul to take some action.
A few recent examples: My cohort, Coach Joe English heads up the Flex Virtual training program for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. This organization may have the largest of all “Teams in Training” programs.
Michelle Hamilton runs for education of children. Different from other many charities this one has a specific child (Antony) who gets the direct benefit.
Jason Kramer has run for the Alzheimer’s Association.
(PS – I don’t mean to slight anyone. These are just a few examples. Please comment below on your running cause.)
There are many of the causes that have touched my life. It would be hard to prioritize which one carries more weight. My family and very close friends have been touched by cancer of various forms, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and more. And once upon a time I worked as a nurse in oncology. I love education and learning and have been an educator for more than 25 years.
I am approached by many runners and organizations to contribute to support both their causes as well as that runner in pursuit of their fundraising and physical goals. Aside from the practical aspect of limited finances (I’m not independently wealthy yet.) it is also a matter of fairness in how I personally view these worthy causes. If I support one, why not another… right?
But, social networking is alive and well and so, I do believe in spreading the word in hopes that individually we can do what we can and collectively we can make a difference – for someone somewhere less fortunate than ourselves. If you are looking for something different for your running; some new motivation; new experiences; some travel to a new race – then check out charity running!
And oh ya by the way – we stay get in shape, or stay in shape, meet great people and use our too often self-absorbed running for something greater than ourselves.
Upward and onward!