Top 10 reasons to run for a charity

The rewards of running a race for charity

Opting to run a race for a charity is a fantastically rewarding experience. Here are our top 10 reasons why you should run for charity whatever running event you participate in.

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 – 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, UK taxpayers can also benefit the charities even further by adding their address to your sponsor form or online page. If this information is given then the charity will receive an extra 28 per cent, 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 – a fitter, healthier and more active you. It’s a good reason as any to get off the couch once and for all...


If reading this has spurred you on to run for charity then why not have a look at our marathon run event listings, half marathon listings or running events 10 miles and under and find a race to suit you.

Comments (10)

  • adam_s 'Yes, I think running for a charity would definitely motivate you more than if you're just running a race for it's own sake.....'

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  • KIM 'Running for charity really helps with training - knowing people are relying on you is a great motivation to stick with it!'

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  • NicoleHeathfield2 'Why would anybody NOT want to run for charity? Your doing something you love and helping other people at the same time! '

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  • TonySmith2 ' I think sometimes, particularly if it's your first race, you might just want to concentrate on your training. Fundraising can be hard for some people and they don't want the added pressure of others relying on them. Ideally, yes run for charity, but I can understand it when some people just want to do it to prove something to themselves. It doesn't mean they're bad people or don't do other charity work!'

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  • amylizreed 'I think that your first race is the ideal time to run for a charity. It's easier to fundraise first time round as people are more impressed, and theres no pressure on you to get a good time. Plus it makes the whole process easier having some expertise there to get you through!'

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  • PaulRitchie2 'I'd do the charity bit but I'll be damned if I'm running as a giant rhino or something equally as daft. Those people must be really fit or really daft.'

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  • wilbur101 'What would be helpful is a downloadable (word/excel) list of charities. Having to click through 26 letters of the alphabet and printing/writing down details from each page is a bit rubbish really.'

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  • Firefly123 'I ran the VLM for my charity and wouldn't ask my friends for more money. But I shall be wearing my charity vest for the GNR to raise awareness for them.'

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  • TheDoNation 'Here's a new twist on it: run for a cause, but don't ask for money. Ask for sponsorship through action instead. That's what The DoNation is all about... All the same benefits of motivation etc, without the awkwardness of asking friends for money. And a direct, first hand benefit. Bam! Check it out: http://thedonation.org.uk/doers/sarah-b/running-my-first-half-marathon'

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  • pamelal 'I ran my first marathon (London) in 2011 for Scope. It was such a fantastic experience and I would recommend to anyone. The training is hard enough in itself and doing it for a great cause with sponsorship of friends and family behind you really helps. I too was a little daunted by the targets but was really touched and surprised by people's generosity and managed to raise beyond the target on donations alone. Go for it would be my advice. You won't regret it.'

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