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Why Thousands Of Runners Choose To Give Back

Photo: Paul Nestor
Photo: Paul Nestor

Every year, tens of thousands of runners race with charity organizations to support worthy causes while doing what they love to do. Huge events, such as the Boston Marathon, New York City Marathon and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series host these charities who raise millions every year for their favorite causes. Here’s a few reasons to join the movement the next time you tackle a half marathon:

1. You’re doing a good thing!

There will never be a time during your training that you won’t feel overly grateful for having chosen to race with a team of people championing something so meaningful. You’re giving back to society by doing something you love to do and making a difference. Before, during, and at the end of each session, and especially at the end of your race, you will feel beyond blessed to have made this decision and through your love of running, affected the lives of hundreds of people along the way.

Related: Charity Half Marathon Training Plan

2. You meet runners from all walks of life. 

I rarely meet and talk to other runners when I’m doing my daily runs. When running for a cause, the individuals you meet might work in fashion or finance or health care, and you may have never crossed paths at any other point in your life. You do now, because you have all come together to raise money for something you collectively feel is highly worthy.

3. You’re even more motivated!

When it’s Tuesday night at 7 p.m. and you know there’s a group of 25-plus people waiting for you to pulverize a hill workout, you’re less likely to skip out. The last thing you want to do is let your teammates down. And you definitely don’t want to look like the wimp next workout when they’re all chatting about dominating those hills before crying in a puddle of sweat. And where were you? Oh right, grabbing Chipotle and going home to binge watch Scandal. #lame

4. Your running creates a ripple effect of love.

When your part of a charity organization, you’re more than likely going to meet some of the people you are helping. At my first “Mission Give Back” with the American Cancer Society, we cooked food for the cancer patients staying in Manhattan. The experience was amazing and unbelievably fulfilling, plus it reinforced what a fantastic decision I made joining such an incredible group of runners willing to give whatever it took to help these patients.

Related: 92-Year-Old Harriette Thompson Completes RNR San Diego

5. You have a new built-in training plan and coaches!

Not only are you doing what you love to do, but you’re also getting to mix up your standard training program with a whole new structure and coaches to help you along the way. My half-marathon PR was set during my marathon-training season and I learned new tactics, stretches and injury prevention tips each and every week. These coaches will cheer you on and push you to give everything you’ve got. There’s no slacking off here!

Cancer has taken away many amazing people in my life, but their strength guides me while I run, especially when I want to give up. And if one more run will help someone else from losing a loved one, every next step is worth it. The list of reasons to run for a charity are endless, so what are you waiting for?