Your running can save a charity money
Charities with guaranteed places in races generally have to purchase their places from the race event that you are entering. But if you are lucky enough to have secured your own place through the race’s ballot or other entry system, opting to use your entry to run for a charity means that the charity will not incur any costs of that place. What you raise will be largely profit, with only a certain number of things, for example the general admin costs, having to be covered by the charity.
Charity running provides you with a purpose
Running just for running’s sake may not be enough reason for some people to take on a race event such as a marathon. You may look at the challenge and think: 'What’s the purpose of actually doing it other than just getting to the finish line?'. But raising valuable funds can be your very reason for running, although you’ll definitely derive some self-satisfaction from completing the race itself, too, especially if it's a challenging race distance.
Motivation for running
When the dark nights have set in and the prospect of training in the cold and wet doesn’t quite seem appealing, you might be tempted to give training a miss or even consider pulling out of your race. However, if a charity is relying on you, you won't want to let them down, so there will be an element of compulsion to make you continue with your training, and which may even give you that extra motivation to complete the distance on the big day.
Personal charity running goal
There may be a personal reason for you wanting to run for a charity, for example if you, a family member, or friend has been affected by a particular disease or illness. Running for a charity may help you feel like you’re doing your bit for the cause that is closest to your heart. It’s often the case that people are motivated by the memory of a loved one, and you might even be able to encourage one of your friends to run for the same charity.
Support network during your training
Charities offer tremendous support and back-up to ensure that you get to the start line in the first place. They provide great support pre-race, often offering training plans, so that you are well prepared for the big day. And it’s likely that they’ll help you with your other arrangements as well, such as getting to the race and finding accommodation if you decide to stay a night or two pre- or post-race.
Be with fellow charity runners
If you run for a charity then there’ll be plenty of you in the same boat, so you’ll never be without someone to turn to on race day should you be nervous, unsure or start to flag. Most charity runners will be distinctive because of their clearly marked running tops, so you’ll certainly be in no doubt who they are backing with their run. There is always a real sense of camaraderie amongst charity runners on race day – and there will certainly be some people from the charity on the sidelines willing you on.
Good running support on race day
You’ll have one less worry on your race day, as charities usually take much of the hassle out of your race event by ensuring you know everything you need to ensure your race day runs smoothly. And when you start to struggle, you can guarantee there’ll be gangs of cheerleaders from your charity lining the route to ensure that you get to the finish line.
Gift aid benefits
If you make the decision to help out a charity by raising funds, taxpayers in certain countries can also benefit the charities even further by adding their full details to your sponsor form or online page. If this information is given then the charity may in some cases receive an extra set percentage in the form of tax relief (in the UK this is known as Gift Aid), which can make a real difference to their work.
Helps raise awareness of the charity through running
High profile race events such as marathons are great opportunities for a charity to raise awareness of their cause. Scores of runners decked out in their running vests on race day can help bring the charity to public consciousness, and you as an individual will be just one of those runners. During the course of your own fundraising you‘ll also be highlighting the charity and its efforts to all of your friends, family and those kind individuals that back you.
Running inevitably gets you fit
If you are just starting out in running, training for a race can be a huge challenge, particularly if it’s a longer race such as a marathon, but, provided you do it properly, you will be fitter than you’ve probably been in some time, if not in the whole of your life. So in some respects, by running for a charity, you get something back in return, in the form of a fitter, healthier and more active you. It’s a good reason as any to get off the couch once and for all...
Picture Credit: Mr Pics / Shutterstock.com