It’s not hard to see why people are drawn in droves to charity runs; the leg-pumping, heart-thumping rush of endorphins, coupled with knowing your sweat and short breath aren’t in vain, but for a great cause — It’s enough to entice any exercise enthusiast.
And for those who aren’t as inclined toward physical activity, there’s the martyrdom effect: a tested and proven mental phenomenon, in which our desire to help a good cause (and our sense of fulfillment from doing so) actually increases if we happen to engage in a healthy bit of suffering beforehand.
No matter what drives you to participate, if you run for charity, you can be certain two things will occur. One: you’ll be (temporarily) uncomfortable. And two: you’ll interact with awesome people, better yourself, raise money for a worthy cause, and have an all-around fantastic time.
Another great perk is that running for charity is simple; so simple, in fact, that in just a few short points I’ve laid out everything you need to know about how to get involved, and how to make the most of your run!
How to find a charity run/walk
Your local paper and its website are an excellent resource for locating charity events taking place in your area. If you live in a highly populated place, it’s likely there are numerous events held within driving distance on any given weekend, and many of them will be listed through a local news organization. If you’re going local, you can also search google using “charity run” and your town’s name as keywords, or check an online directory.
For those for whom travel is an option, there are some fantastic national charity events that you won’t want to miss, including:
- St. Jude’s Heroes
- Walk to End Alzheimers
- The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life
- Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure
- American Heart Association’s Heart Walk
- The Color Run
- Muckfest for MS Society
How to prepare
First, you’ll need to decide on a meaningful cause (if nothing immediately comes to mind, try choosing something a friend, or a loved one has a personal stake in), and search for an event (see above).
Next, do a little research to familiarize yourself with the event’s requirements and expectations, such as whether or not you’ll have to fundraise, or pay a fee. Use available resources to raise money; share your passion with friends and family, or show enthusiasm over social media. Set reasonable goals for how much you hope to raise, and how far you’ll be able to walk/run. Leave no stone unturned for a cause you truly believe in — some employers may even be willing to match donations, or support your cause in other ways.
Once you’ve learned the rules and squared any donations away, all that’s left is to show up, get moving, and feel great!