3 Reasons to Run for Charity

Running isn’t all about you, OK?

Well that’s kind of a lie. Running actually is about you - it’s a super individualized sport, requiring you to literally take time away from your work, family, and friends to travel and train. Some have called it a selfish endeavor, and if you strip away the negative connotations that come along with being “selfish,” that can be a fair and accurate description.

But! There’s a way to loop the greater good into your running/race training through raising money for charity, and here are five reasons why you should.

Motivation for Days Training and running requires an almost inexhaustible well of drive, determination, sacrifice, and pain tolerance. Only problem is - we aren’t inexhaustible wells of those things. Whether you’re elite, sub-elite, mid-pack, or running “anchor,” we all have to deal with fatigue, plateauing, chronic pain, and just plain old boredom. And there’s only so many times we can rely on our own toughness or sustained interest to keep going.

But that’s where running for charity can be hugely helpful - there’s nothing more motivating than knowing that your running is contributing to a larger cause. Especially when you look at it from the inverse - training and running without incorporating a charitable component - and it almost seems like a waste.

Take the Dash for Detection 5K for example, whose mission is to increase funding for early detection pancreatic cancer research, and to raise awareness for pancreatic cancer. This disease affects millions of people every year, and the Dash for Detection 5K raises money for The Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation and the Lustgarten Foundation - two incredible charities that have raised or directed more than $100 million toward their missions. When you are supporting a race like that - either through registering, raising money, or supporting a participant, and you remember the difficulties of so many who are affected by pancreatic cancer, it really puts your struggle to do a 5-mile training run in perspective. You will absolutely feel more motivated and inspired by the wonderful work you’re doing to help your outstanding charity partners and those they’re working to help.

Strength in Numbers “Shared joy is doubled joy, shared sorrow is halved sorrow,” said somebody smarter than us, and that definitely applies to running. Any time you can hitch yourself to a crew - whether that’s a running club, a group of friends or, you guessed it, a fundraising team - you benefit from the “entourage effect.” That’s a trendy, fancy way of saying that you’re stronger and cooler with your crew than you are when solo. If you have someone (or a group!) waiting for you at 6am, or trudging through the rain/wind/sleet/snow with you, or grinding it out next to you on those hot days, it makes getting out there and getting in your miles that much more meaningful.

And if your crew is cause-based as we mentioned before - and you’re running for a charity together - you enjoy the extra motivation of running for a cause AND the “entourage effect.” Double win!

You’re Lucky as Hell Anyone who can run for fun is automatically one of the luckiest people on Earth, in the grand scheme of things. If you have the time, money (for equipment and races), family support, and physical ability - and you live a place that’s not a war-torn country where it’s safe to run - you’ve won several lotteries. But the fact is, there are many people who CAN’T run and they need our help. People with disabilities or those suffering from chronic, degenerative, or terminal illnesses would probably give anything to be able to do what we do every day (OK, what we do almost everyday).

You shouldn’t feel bad about that good fortune, but it wouldn’t hurt to give a little back and maybe help those who can’t run. Races like Dash for Detection 5K, who help fund early detection and pancreatic cancer research, are contributing in real ways to improving the lives of those less fortunate that us.

If you’re looking to jump in and run for a charity this spring/summer, bring the whole family to the Dash for Detection 5K in Chicago at Montrose Harbor on Saturday June 2, 2018.