Have you ever thought about running a half or a full marathon? What’s stopping you?
Does it seem impossible?
Do you hate running?
Do you need guidance and people to help hold you accountable?
Perhaps you don’t know where to start?
Do you need a plan?
Do you want to help others?
If you thought, "YES" to any of those questions then you should run with a charity. Why? Because training for and running an endurance race will change your life. It doesn’t matter if you can’t run around your block or if you can barely run a mile, training with a charity makes endurance running not only doable but fun. (No I’m serious. Running actually can be fun.)
Not convinced? Here are 5 reasons to consider running with a charity:
1. You want to be able to say you ran a half or a full marathon EVEN if you hate running.
I will be honest; you may cross the finish line and still not love running. I know a handful of people, I call them the one and done crowd, who trained for and ran an endurance race and then never ran again. Once you cross that finish life, you will be a different person. The tools, skills, point of view, and confidence you take from running an endurance race is invaluable.
2. You will make friends you never thought you needed.
You will meet such a diverse range of people who will become a part of your family. They will help get you through your hardest training runs and you will help them through theirs. Together you will experience doubt, pain, excitement, and progress. Then when it’s all said and done you will have a group of people to reminisce and go forward with because you all experienced the same magic together. (I know it sounds cheesy but it’s true.)
3. You will make a difference.
You aren’t just doing something for yourself anymore; you’re raising money for amazing causes. There are THOUSANDS of different charities to choose from. I chose to run the NYC Marathon with Team for Kids for two reasons, I felt close to their cause and they had heated tents at the start and finish lines. (That heated tent at the finish line filled with chairs, snacks and hot chocolate was the best thing that ever happened to me.) Your charity will give you countless ideas and resources to raise the money. Is it easy? No. But neither is running an endurance race. It’s 100% doable and shockingly, it’s not as hard as you think.
4. They make it (dare I say it) easy…ish.
Running with coaches who give you a clear training plan is the way to go. I loved having people to hold me accountable and helped me push myself. Every week there would be an email that broke down every training run for the upcoming week. There were beginner, intermediate, and advanced training plans and they explained every tempo, interval, hill, and long run thoroughly in our weekly emails. It helped me run the most comfortable marathon of my life. (And they helped me take my marathon time from 4 hours 40 minutes to 4 hours 11 minutes.)
5. You are a part of a team.
One of my favorite parts of the Team for Kids experience was the online Facebook Group they create for the current members. We could connect with Team for Kids runners all over the world and discuss our training. Every week they would talk about the upcoming long run and how far it seemed. Then the day after the long run how they couldn’t believe they did it. I would read the threads with the biggest smile on my face. Not having to go through it alone and having people to share the experience, both first and experienced NYC Marathon runners, makes the ordeal less intimidating and lonely.
So get started! Find out what charities are in your backyard! Check out Team for Kids, Team in Training, Fred’s Team and The Michael J. Fox Foundation, to name a few. (This isn't even the tip of the iceberg.)
Have you run with a charity? Add which charity you ran with to the comment section below!
AND FINALLY, MEET OUR RunKeeper Elite Contest Winners! I have to say a huge thank you everyone who submitted their photos. It's amazing to read the many different reasons why you all run. I’m beside myself and inspired by your honesty, courage, and drive. Thank you. Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.