Fitness Articles

Charity Races Mix Fitness and Fundraising

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

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To close, let me share a real life example. A couple of years ago at the Country Music Marathon, one Team ASK runner was having a tough time during the race. She had reached the 20-mile mark of the 26.2-mile marathon and just gave up and quit. She sat down on a bench and basically said “stick a fork in me because I am done!” Our training coach (who had never had a person not complete an event) sat down beside her. He patiently listened as she explained why she was frustrated and “done” with the race. She was tired and hot and bored and all the fun was just gone! At that moment, Rick told her that she couldn’t quit and he pointed to the band on her wrist which bore the name of the Special Kids child she was running in honor of. Tears welled up in her eyes. She knew she couldn’t quit because this race wasn’t for her—it was for the child she represented. So she got up and finished the race! Today, she still says that was a defining point in her life and that she is so proud for her accomplishment and for not giving up.

The thought of walking a half marathon, running a marathon, or completing a triathlon may seem unreachable to you right now, but it really is possible. These organizations can give you the tools, coaching, and motivation you need to make it happen, no matter what your fitness level. (And trust me, there are people of all shapes, sizes, ages and fitness levels training and completing these events.) Why not go for it and do something you never thought possible? Choose a charity that is close to your heart, something you really believe in, and make your dream—and the dreams of others—come true!
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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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