Running for charity

What is charity running all about?

Running for charity can be a hugely rewarding activity. There are many different types of charities and charity running events so check out our guide to charity running.

There has been a massive upturn in the number of people who are running in general, and this has been reflected in the increasing numbers opting to run for charity.

So, what is charity running all about? Is it just a case of raising an agreed amount of money and that’s it? Thankfully not. Runners choose to join a particular charity over another for a number of reasons and it is vital that charities maintain a competitive edge by providing more and more for their runners each year. This has now given those taking part a real choice as charities offer very contrasting packages.

Not only do runners have a choice of who they run for, they also have a wide choice of where they run and over what distance they eventually run. And it’s this choice that makes the whole charity running game quite a confusing thing for the charity running newcomer.

But don’t get overwhelmed by it all – running for charity is perhaps one of the most rewarding experiences you can have and passing that finishing line will be undoubtedly one of the highlights of your life. The feel-good factor of succeeding in a personal challenge while supporting a shared cause will be felt by all runners who opt to run for charity.

The charity running options

Whether you opt to start with a running event like a 3k fun run, a 5k, a 10k event, a half marathon or jump straight into a full marathon for your first charity running challenge, there’s no doubting that doing it for a charity will give you the extra motivation required to complete the challenge.

For many women, their first taste of charity running comes from a 5k women-only events whereby they can walk, jog or run the course. Events like this help harness enthusiasm and give runners a goal in terms of an event to train for and a tangible target.

For those for whom a longer distance is the goal, the option of an event such as a half marathon or even a full marathon event could be the way to go. And when the options also include running overseas it sometimes becomes an even more attractive proposition. The destinations that charities send runners these days is expanding all the time.

Why choose to run for charity?

If you have made the decision that you are going to run then why not go the metaphorical extra mile and raise some funds for charity as you go. While you may enjoy the running challenge itself, there is also a wonderful sense of achievement to be had for fundraising too.

The past few years have seen a huge increase in charity runners and some charities rely on this fundraising to produce a sizeable proportion of their income. Whether you opt to secure your running place directly through the charity or you secure your own place and then choose to use it to run on behalf of your chosen charity, it all adds up to much needed funds. 

Charity fundraising through running

Places in some of the biggest marathon events do cost the charity, and it is of course in their interests to maximise their revenue for each and every place they have secured. So it's unfair to commit to run for a charity if you have no real intention of raising the required fundraising target.

For some races, if the charity provides you with the entry, you may be expected to raise a significant amount. While that is a major undertaking, it is certainly not impossible. Lots of people have done it before you and had fun in the process. Many people are put off by the amount that has to be raised, but shouldn’t be. By starting early and getting family and friends on board can take the worry out of fundraising, allowing you to concentrate on your training.

If you have your own place in an event, then you can opt to run for a charity and the minimum amount to be raised doesn’t apply to you. Anything you raise will be an added bonus to the charity.

Motivation to run for charity

For many runners, running in memory of a family member, to support a friend, or because of their own personal experience can be the prime motivation for running. And what better reason is there to commit to get fit for your running challenge?

With a charity and their cause relying on you there’s less chance of you slacking off on the training and much more chance of you making it to the start and reaching the finish line.

Running and other support from the charities

Whether it’s a 3k fun run or a full marathon it is vital that charities provide as much practical advice and support as they possibly can and ensure that every runner genuinely feels part of their chosen charity’s team.

Training for an event, especially one such as a marathon, requires a huge amount of dedication and the charities will often be on hand to keep you on track with a range of support, from comprehensive training advice to fundraising and sponsorship packs to press targeting. At the actual event they may well provide a pre-race pasta party and post race massage, so that their runners get the most out of their marathon.

Runner will often receive exclusive team kit and be cheered at around the course by the charity’s supporters. You’ll be surprised how much of a difference it actually makes to get you moving when the mind is willing but the body is unable.

Charity running in conclusion

Committing to run for charity is a big undertaking and one that requires a huge amount of dedication, with often months of tough training required in the months leading up to the event as well as the fundraising to be done at the same time too. That is why many charities aim to give the same commitment to their runners as the runners give to the cause themselves.

If you're looking for a marathon challenge then take a look at our marathon charity run listings to find an event to make your running experience all the more worthwhile.

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