Fitness Articles

Charity Races Mix Fitness and Fundraising

A Win-Win Scenario: Get Fit and Help Others!

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1. Be part of something bigger than yourself. By participating, you are joining hundreds and thousands of others who have the same goal of helping people—and that just feels good! Many participants would probably tell you that they wouldn’t have just signed up for a race on their own, but knowing they would be helping others motivated them to do so. In running the Marine Corp Marathon last year, I was proud to wear the singlet with the Injured Marine Semper Fi logo. Many people would shout “Semper Fi!” as I ran by and that felt amazing!

2. Be part of a team. Anyone who played sports in high school or college will tell you that when their “career” ended, one of the biggest things they missed was being a part of a team. Participating in an event with a charity group puts you on a team of other runners, walkers, and cyclists who have a united goal and purpose. You even get to wear the same shirts or jerseys in most cases. For those who have always longed to be on a team, whether for the first time of the fiftieth, this is a great opportunity.

3. Build some very special relationships. When I was training with the runners from Team ASK with Special Kids, we met up every Saturday in the winter to train together. On those extra cold mornings, running become bearable an even fun knowing I would be seeing my friends. Also, sharing in the training experience and encouraging one another builds great bonds and friendships that last long after the event is over.

4. Get the tools you need to accomplish your goal. You may have had a lifelong dream of completing a marathon, or even a triathlon, but there was one problem: You didn’t know how to train to get there. Groups like the Leukemia Society’s Team In Training provide coaches who will give you weekly schedules so you know exactly what to do and when to do it. They also provide other tips for training and fundraising. Their goal is for you to succeed in your event and fundraising and to have a great overall experience. Sometimes there are even local groups with these teams that meet for weekly runs or walks.   
 
As I said earlier, a charity race really is a win-win scenario. But more accurately, it's a “win-win-win” scenario! You win by completing a dream or fitness feat. The charity wins by receiving the funding they need to fulfill their mission. And the people helped by the charity win by benefiting from the research, services, education and support that the charity provides. How much better can it get?
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About The Author

Jason Anderson Jason Anderson
Jason loves to see people realize the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle. He is a certified personal trainer and enjoys running races--from 5Ks to 50K ultramarathons. See all of Jason's articles.

Member Comments

  • I do Breast Cancer walks with groups of friends. - 4/23/2014 6:53:26 AM
  • I do a few of these walks a year.
    And would you believe my town's high school still has DONKEY Basketball?! Not a thing of the past here! - 1/30/2014 2:36:13 PM
  • I just walk to exercise. I don't go for anything else. Just stay health. - 9/16/2013 8:31:56 PM
  • On New Year’s Eve 2011/2012, I got engaged to my boyfriend of seven years. Soon after we began planning for an October wedding. While I should have been excited, I was sort of withdrawn and sad about my wedding. You see, I had lost my father to a very rare form of Lymphoma in 2003. The thought of him not being at my wedding was depressing.

    I thought long and hard about a way to honor him during this special time in my life. My future sister in law had completed an event with Team in Training in the fall of 2011. I went to an informational meeting and immediately signed up for an event. Me, a lazy couch potato decided it was a great idea to run/walk a half marathon. On April 29, 2012 I completed my first half marathon. It was an amazing and rewarding feeling!

    This year I am signed up for two more events with TNT. I will participate in a 10K on April 14th followed by another half marathon on April 28. TNT has become near and dear to me. Go Team!
    - 3/5/2013 9:34:10 AM
  • Last year, my son, my mom, and I did the 5k for Autism. We didn't train. We all finished the race (we walked the entire way) next to last.My son wanted to give up twice, but I kept reminding him of his friends with autism. He was running for them and I was running for him. It was really tough to walk past Krispy Kreme - TWICE. We all got a free doughnut after the race. My son wanted to run across the finish line, and even though I had no energy left, I was there because of my son and he and I ran across the finish line with big old grins!
    This year, we're Team Casper. We're training. And we will run across the finish line again. - 7/5/2012 9:27:42 AM
  • I remember once when I was little, watching my dad play donkey basketball! The donkey my dad was put on wouldn't move!!! Guess it didn't want to play! Lol!! I think the next one he was put on kept trying to buck him off!! :) - 1/31/2012 3:39:50 PM
  • I started running just because I got bored with walking. I did my first charity 5K for the local humane society. I enjoyed it, but what keeps me coming back to these events is helping others. My daughter just raised over $500 for her charity with her last half-marathon.

    There's so much exercise you can do for yourself, and that's great, but running allows you to do good for yourself and others at the same time, and I plan to keep on running for a long time because of that. - 11/6/2011 3:15:20 PM
  • MAGGIE101857
    First, let me say that I laughed so hard when I read the first sentence -- donkey basketball. This - was an annual event in my hometown with the police department vs.the teachers! It was so much fun to watch!!!

    I have run two 5K's this year, both for charity. I'm a fairly new runner, and these were both a challenge and they left me with feeling that not only did I accomplish my own goals, but I helped others in the process. Kudos to everyone who has taken part or plans to in the coming year!!! - 11/6/2011 1:51:27 PM
  • I'm running my first Race for the Cure in many a year. Thanks to Spark People. The race is this Sat, and I know I will be part of something that is larger than my self. That feeling alone is worth more than money can buy. - 10/11/2011 9:59:36 AM
  • I have my first 5k race ever on Thursday- & it's described as one of the most challenging trail races in New England- oh god! I just had to sign up for it though cause the proceeds go to a mental health facility in my community! - 6/21/2010 3:48:06 PM
  • Go Team in Training! I did my first half marathon with them, and as soon as I crossed the finish line I declared myself 'addicted' to races. But I would never do another one without TNT. Words cannot even describe how inspiring it is, I ran the whole 13.1 miles beaming with a smile because of TNT! - 11/17/2009 7:09:04 PM
  • I did a 5k walk for breast cancer yesterday with friends for work. Woohoo! - 10/25/2009 10:35:25 AM
  • In 2007 I participated in the Breast Cancer 3Day 60 mile walk. It was the hardest thing I have ever done physically and emotionally but the wins were great. I walked with a team of ladies I work with and to this day we are all very very close. We trained together, fundraised together, laughed together, cried together and camped next to each other the whole weekend together.

    When it comes down to it..it's the training, the equipment and committment to do any one of these Fundraiser. My defining moment was in mile 55 and I almost threw in the towel until I saw someone walking who should have not been, I managed to push through my "self-pity" and complete the walk.

    So to anyone who is training for an event, you have my support, anyone thinking of doing it..my advise is go for it...and to all who have supported anyone participating..th
    ank you!!! - 3/31/2009 2:49:10 PM
  • I did Relay for Life just helping a friend out and walked 20 miles which is exactly what motivated me to start training for 5ks and start doing charity walks/runs. It feels so good to help out other people and know that I'm doing something good for myself at the same time yet it's not all about me. - 3/31/2009 10:37:00 AM
  • Yup, as others have said, just last year I saw a donkey basketball fundraising event. I was aghast, having never heard of it before, but it was amazing!!!
    It was teachers versus students. You haven't lived until you see 50 year old, 6'1" men ride around on donkeys doing their hardest to buck them off, wearing little booties to protect the gym floor. A GREAT charity event, albeit one not as likely to get the participants in shape. - 1/25/2009 8:27:28 PM
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