For most people running is about gaining something. For some runners it may be self confidence, sense of achievement, control of a lifestyle, or a gaining an escape from the stresses of day to day life if only for a couple of miles. Whether training for a 5k or a marathon it is important to focus on the journey from mile 1 to 26 and find why you as an individual have the desire to finish the race. Some athletes find themselves running not running for themselves. These runners lace up every day and log miles for other people, people that can’t do it for themselves, people that are battling diseases and lifestyles, people being affected by trouble in the world, people being treated for illness or injury. You see these athletes in every race, they are the runners who make up the hundreds of charity teams across the country and the globe working to help a number of causes one mile at a time.
This is the first of 3 posts regarding charity athletes. The next 2 will focus on choosing a team & fundraising tips/ideas.
Successful charity teams create win-win situations for all involved. Worthy causes are benefitted financially and athletes have the opportunity to give back to communities. Various charities have teams benefiting multiple foundations, hospitals, and research centers. Usually each team member has a fundraising minimum that they commit to raising and in the return the charity organization provides a few perks or incentives. Usually starting with a guaranteed race entry. This is especially beneficial to runners seeking entry to major races such as the New York, Chicago, Boston, or Marine Corps Marathons. These races (as well as many others) sell out quickly, have lottery entries, or time qualifications. Charity runners find there place in all of these races committing to raising thousands of dollars. In 2012 I ran 2 marathons as a charity athlete. I was on Team Heart & Soul for the Marine Corps Marathon benefitting the National Marfan Foundation & as a St. Jude Hero for the St. Jude Memphis Marathon benefitting the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. My fundraising efforts for the year totaled at $3,300 for the two charities.
The experience is extremely rewarding not just in completing the race, but also in knowing that you were a part of something more. You can read all about Jonnie’s GoodGuys in my posts and understand the importance of the National Marfan Foundation to our group. While I was raising money as a St. Jude Hero I was introduced to incredible children fighting off sickness & cancers.
One truly great story in particular belongs to Brayden Shields. His mother ran the St. Jude marathon last year as a hero & is doing it again in 2013. You can read about Brayden here, and donate to Misty Shields campaign here.
Whether you can contribute or not, continue to pray for Brayden.