Choosing a Race With Your Heart

Photo: Sha’Neal Jourdan for RUNGRL

Photo: Sha’Neal Jourdan for RUNGRL

By Na’Tasha Jones

There are so many physical benefits to running: improving your health, finding mental clarity, weight loss, stress relief, endurance and stamina building, etc. While these are all fantastic motivations to get moving, sometimes you need a little more inspiration to get out there and, more importantly, to stick with it.

One way to create personal accountability is to tie your running journey to a cause that is important to you. There are races for every type of charity and organization. Choose a worthy cause that will help you remember the importance of your commitment to running and you’ll find it won’t be as easy to give up during your training and on race day.

  • Health-related charities - Whether it’s breast cancer, diabetes, heart disease or Alzheimer’s disease, there are so many worthy health-related causes supported by organizations that hold races to benefit their work in these important areas. Choose a cause that’s close to your heart and find a race that will support it.

  • School or university-related race - Does your alma mater host an alumni race to raise funds for scholarships or other education programs? Perhaps your child’s school hosts races for a good cause as well. Interested in starting one yourself? Talk to your affiliated school or university to find out how you can volunteer to help get things started.

  • Company races - Does your job host an annual 5K race (or any other distance)? This can be a great way to network and get to know new coworkers or other executives who may not typically be in your circle. If not, try putting together a corporate team to enter a local race with a good cause. Your initiative will not go unnoticed.

  • Community, environmental and civil cause races - Community races are a great way to support your local neighborhood, meet new neighbors and show support for new initiatives in your area. (Those local school races apply here as well). Search for causes close to home for a race that can make a difference for you and your family. Mental health awareness, political action organizations and other civil causes can be even more great areas to literally “get active”. Get creative and find out if any organizations that support the causes you are passionate about can be supported through fundraising in this way.

    Read More: How Discipline Builds Confidence in Race Training

  • Bonus - With many competitive races, such as the Boston Marathon, Chicago Marathon and Cherry Blossom Ten Miler, if you don’t get into the race’s lottery, there is an option to run on behalf of a charity and raise money. This is usually an amount set by the race organizers and is in place of the typical entrance fee.  

RUNGRL co-founder Stephanie Franklin used this last option to gain entry to the 2018 BMW Berlin Marathon. “To gain entry to Berlin,” she said, “I joined Team for Kids, which provides guaranteed entry into premier running events and professional training support, through fundraising to help children in underserved schools across the country experience the joys of running and fitness.”

Stephanie found that fundraising was a way for her to support a great cause that seeks to build a happier and healthier future for youth nationwide, while also gaining entry to this highly-sought after race.

Still unsure about what kind of race will get you motivated? Active.com has a great listing of charitable races organized by location. Search by charity or scroll through upcoming races in your area.

What causes have you supported while racing? Be sure to share with us in the comments below.

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Na’Tasha Jones

Co-founder and Chief Content Officer