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Inspiration & Motivation, Running & Fitness

Running for Charity

Matt Orlando
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In one of my earlier posts, Find the Reason, I talked about needing a reason to run. Many people run to lose weight and stay in shape. Others run to challenge themselves and push their bodies to the limit. Still others run just to socialize and relieve stress. While these are all great reasons, have you every considered running for charity?

“Running for charity? What do you mean?” Well, I’m glad you asked. Running is one of the few sports that make it easy for you to give back and raise money for a charitable cause. It is fun, easy, and mutually beneficial! Here are some of the benefits you’ll get:

  • You stay motivated to train. It is much easier to force yourself out the door each day if you have a cause for which you’re running. “If others can face chemo, I can face this run.”
  • You feel good about yourself. Let’s be honest, helping others, whether it be through donating money, mowing your neighbor’s lawn, or just lending a shoulder to cry on feels good. Double that with how you feel after a run and you’ve got yourself a recipe for success!
  • You build relationships that can be beneficial in the future. When you are fundraising, you have the opportunity to reach out to people you may not have been close to in the past or have ever met before. By reaching out to people in your networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, as well as meeting people in person, you can forge relationships that extend past fundraising into possible future business opportunities.
  • You may get free coaching, mentoring, and nutritional advice, as well as great discounts. This doesn’t apply to all programs, so be sure to ask in advance what the benefits are to joining a specific “team.” If they do offer these benefits, take full advantage…when else in life will you get to take advantage of a coach and mentor for free?
  • You meet great, like minded people who become friends for a lifetime. I have met some of my closest friends by running for charity, friends I otherwise would never had gotten to know. Best of all, running for charity is how I met my wife! (More on that in a future post.)
  • You’re helping to save lives. Whether you are running to help cure cancer, fund diabetes research, or raise money for a local food bank, each step you take and every dollar you raise is going to help save a life. You may not be a doctor, a nurse, or a person in uniform, but what you are is a runner, and thanks to charity running programs you too can make a difference while doing what you love.

“That all sounds great! And you’re right, I would like to give back! What organization should I team up with?” There are a ton of a great organizations out there that provide opportunities to run races for charity. Speaking from personal experience, Team in Training is a fantastic program put together by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) that provides training, coaching, group runs, event transportation and lodging and other great benefits in return for raising money for LLS. They also provide a fundraising mentor to help you reach your goal, which makes it easy and fun. However, it is important that you find a cause near and dear to your heart and reach out to find out how to get involved. Check with your local running club, running store, or do a quick Google search.

Below I’m including a few links to some programs I’m familiar with, but feel free to share more in the comments section below!

Rock 'N Roll Virginia Beach Team in Training
My wife and I after Rock ‘N Roll Virginia Beach with Team in Training

Let’s Hear It!

What charity have you run for? How did it change your life? Leave it in the comments below!

8 thoughts on “Running for Charity

  1. Great post! I definitely agree running for a charity gives you added motivation and inspiration. Another benefit to include here is that it can also help you get into races after they are sold out, or have a restrictive entry process (like the Boston Marathon). Right now, I am preparing for the Philadelphia Marathon and have joined the NF Endurance team, which helps raise money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation. It is an amazing organization with excellent support on both the fundraising and running aspects of things. The best part for me is that I was able to “adopt a hero,” and the organization put me in touch with the family of a child affected by the disease. So now I have someone specific to keep in my thoughts as I train. More info on the foundation at: and

  2. This year, after many years of being hounded by a great friend, my wife and I decided to run for St. Jude on Aug. 3rd. We live in Peoria, IL which is the destination for runs that start in Memphis, Chicago and St. Louis. There are now over 30 of these runs that start in various locations, all culminating in downtown Peoria on the same day. It’s an amazing site and overpowering experience to see all of these people come together for a great cause. You can run as much or as little as you’d like, so all runners at different levels are welcome to participate. It’s really all about raising money for St. Jude to keep its doors open for kids and families that need help in their fight against cancer.

    I can’t think of a better reason to run and I’ll definitely be recruiting more runners for next year!

  3. I have participated with Team in Training for many years. When I wanted to run a marathon, it was the program that helped me get there. Then I was hooked! I returned to serve as a mentor with the program for 4 sessions, I then became a coach where I trained many runners to their 1st full or half marathon completion for 5 more sessions. I have been inactive for the past several years as the market for our area was hit hard by the economic downturn. The program was dropped in my region on NC. Yet I continue to support others and charities through much of my racing. I ran my 1st 24 hour event in Hampton, Va for their cancer run where they raised over $10,000 of the American Cancer Society.

  4. I am a charity runner for sure! I ran The Boston Marathon in 2014 with The Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge group. I also have been part of Team Freedom for the last 5 years. We raise funds and bring awareness to human trafficking. Ugly topic but we are making serious progress and awareness! This Thursday, I am hosting a fundraiser for a friend of mine who is part of Team in Training, such a great group!!!

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