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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!