While every race is different, a lot of the times a portion of proceeds go towards a particular charity as fundraising efforts. Even when races have a particular beneficiary for the race, did you know you can sometimes raise funds for a different charity? One highlight of the Pittsburgh Marathon weekend is their Run For A Reason program.
Runners taking part in the Run For A Reason program select one of close to 40 different charities to fundraise for over their training months in order to earn their race bib and other perks all while helping a wonderful charity. Since 2009, runners in the Pittsburgh Marathon weekend raised over $12 Million for more than 100 local and national charities (source: P3R) and 2019 is bound to the best year yet.
I ran as a charity runner in during the 2016 Pittsburgh Marathon weekend and absolutely enjoyed every moment of the experience and raised funds for various Pittsburgh area charities in the meantime. This year I am joining forces with Alzheimer's Association to raise funds to help end Alzheimer's for good!
Now is the time that a lot of runners start looking at their registration options and if they want to take part in the Run For A Reason program or not for Pittsburgh Marathon weekend. Running for charity is a commitment and requires additional work on your part, but don't let that scare you off because the rewards are amazing and you get to put your passion for running to work to help others.
If you are thinking about participating in the Run for A Reason program as part of your Pittsburgh Marathon experience, I have a few tips to help you get started and what to expect.
Each official Pittsburgh Marathon charity sets their own fundraising requirements for each event. In order to help not only cover the costs of registrations, charity perks, and other costs as well as make a profound impact to the charity, there are minimums in order to earn a race entry for any of the DICK'S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon race weekend of events. On average, charity runners can expect to raise the following amounts (amounts may vary by charity):
$50 - Toyota Pittsburgh Kids Marathon
$50 - Rachel Ray Nutrish Pittsburgh Pet Walk
$500 - DICK'S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon
$350 - UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half Marathon
$1,000 - FedEx Ground Pittsburgh Marathon Relay (per team)
(Source: Pittsburgh Marathon)
When choosing a charity to be a charity runner for, it is important to find the right charity for you. A personal connection to the charity will help you leaps and bounds to be successful with your fundraising. First, your passion for the cause will be a motivator for you to keep pushing and get those donations. Most importantly, having that passion and connection will shine through as you reach out to friends, family, and your community for donations. When you tell people about what you are fundraising for and why you running for a cause, people that feel your energy for the cause are more likely to donate and in turn you raise more for the charity.
For myself, I have strong connections with the Alzheimer's Association as I lost my grandmother to this horrible disease in 2017. After watching what happened not only to her, but also to myself and my family, I hope that one day Alzheimer's will be a thing of the past and no one will ever have battle such a terrible disease ever again. The funds that I raise will go towards programs for those currently with Alzheimer's (and their families) along with finding a cure to end Alzheimer's once and for all.
Maybe you have a connection with childhood cancer, Autism, literacy programs, animal rescue, or perhaps you just want to help the Pittsburgh community as a whole. With 30+ charities to choose from, there is likely a cause that you are passionate about to run for a reason for this May.
People aren't going to just throw cash your way, you need to come up with a strategy. I suggest first coming up with a plan of those close family and friends that you can reach out to about your fundraising efforts. Start by reaching out to those individuals and stress that even $10 can go a long way. Even ten $10 donations gets your charity $100 towards your goal. Meet up for lunch, text, call, use social media - the more people you can reach the better.
I always like to come up with fun ways to help raise funds. Check out your local restaurants to see about hosting a charity night that a portion of sales go towards your fundraising. Perhaps a friend of yours that is a consultant for products might let you host a party and proceeds from your party goes to your fundraiser. If you are crafty, fun little DIY projects like knit beanies or other projects can help you get to your goal. Another personal favorite of mine is the "adopt a mile" or "pick a playlist" fundraisers where for a certain donation amount, individuals can sponsor a mile of your race or pick a song to put on your race day playlist.
Fundraising options are endless. You just have to put the time and work into them to make them successful.
Training for race day is an obvious 'must do' but trust me, knowing that you are running for a great cause really helps boost your drive to be successful on race day. You have the support of your charity and donors with every single training run/workout you do and it is more motivation that you know. When you don't quite feel like lacing up your shoes, remember those that you are running for. You won't want to let them down. Another fundraising tip: share your training progress on social media along with a link to your fundraising page - you won't believe the number of encouraging donations you will get when people see your training progress.
Now, who is joining me and becoming a Runner of Steel? GAME ON!