I'm coming to you from germ central, Ohio. Also known as my townhouse. I have a sick 3 and 1 year old under my roof and a saint of a wife, named Aimee. By the grace of God the two of us have stayed healthy through this storm, for now....
My name is Thomas. I'm a Christ follower, husband, father, cubicle survivalist, runner, and newbie triathlete. My family is from Cleveland, I may be the only Costello born outside of the area. While I may not be from the city by the lake I love it as if it were my own. From going to games at the old Browns stadium to eating dinner with my Grandpa and dad at Sokolowski's. In 2013 I'm back in the pack, and for the second time, I'll be running the Cleveland half marathon.
In today's post I'm going to share a little bit about running and charity. From 1985 to 2010 I was not a runner. I won't go too far into it, you can read about the transformation here, but running was a way for me to help when I couldn't financially. I started my distance running journey in Cleveland. The 2011 Cleveland half marathon was the first solo race I signed up for and finished.
Fund-raising seems like a lot to do when you're also balancing your life and training for a race, but it's not as challenging as you think. Training and running IS the fund-raising, minus an extra Facebook or Twitter post here and there. Odds are most of your friends, family, and co-workers aren't runners. They may even give you some weird responses or looks when you tell them you are voluntarily running thirteen to twenty-six miles.
Plus, running for something beyond yourself has its rewards. First, people are being helped. Second, you get to spread the word and raise awareness for a group or cause you feel passionate about. Third, it adds another dimension to your race training. Waking up early for a run won't be as difficult. The wall in front of you won't as high. Every donation will fuel you and keep your legs pumping. Finally, if those three don't work, maybe you'll get a shirt out of it. (I can guarantee the first three are true).
If you're still reading my post and are interested in adding another level to your running you may be thinking "where do I start?". Feel for that tug on your heart or that still small voice. Is there an area that you want to help? Once you know a group you want to help contact them. I can almost guarantee that they won't turn down your request to raise money for them. Cleveland Marathon's site has many charities they're affiliated with if you don't know where to look. I've also listed a couple groups below, including the non-profit I run for:
Cleveland Marathon Charities
Active:Water A great faith based non-profit with athletes running, swimming, biking, and hiking to raise money all over the country
Hope Remains Another awesome faith based non-profit. Hope Remains helps victims of natural disasters and catastrophes. Most recently they've helped people recovering from Hurricane Sandy
The Steps Foundation Charity started by professional runners Ryan Hall and his wife Sarah.
This is the tippy top of the iceberg for charities available. If you can think of a need there is a group wanting help.
I want to leave you with a paragraph from a friend who summed up donating more than I ever could (his blog RunDarenRun is listed on the right):
Since I am technically by profession a professional fundraiser, I know the reasons why people give. One of these reasons is because the person donating sees a basic, critical need and wants to help. But you and I both know that there is soo much need out there. Everywhere you look there is some sort of fundraiser or campaign going on for some great cause. (To be honest, there should be. We are the richest people in the world.) Another top reason someone gives is because of this word– TRUST. They not only trust the organization, but they also trust YOU, which in this case goes hand in hand.Thanks for reading and giving me some of your time.
If you haven't signed up for one of the Cleveland events and are on the fence: sign up! You CAN do it. Signing up and a slightly emptier wallet can do wonders for your training!
Are you running, or considering running, for a charity? If so, which one? If you've run for a group in the past share what group in the comments below.