I’ve done a lot of reflecting on my event with Team in Training. This was my fourth event with Team, but it had been almost 2 years since my last event. To be completely honest, I had forgotten how much fun it was to work with Team and actually regret not finding more time to make it to the training runs (note to self: Winter team means training through the holidays so pick an event that won’t be during travel home!)
I 100% believe that every endurance athlete should participate in a charity event at least once in their life, no matter how experienced you are in your sport. I will admit, a charity group is a GREAT place for beginners, but there is a place for the seasoned athlete. They teach you the basics of your event-running, swimming, biking, etc. (or at the TNT GA Chapter does). Experienced or beginner it doesn’t matter; running for a cause and fundraising allows you to put your talents to good use.
I will use Team in Training as my example since it it what I know, but there are lots of options out there. From Team Challenge (Crohn’s and Colitis) to Determination (American Cancer Society) to Every Mother Counts to Grassroot Soccer..these are just a few of the bigger ones I have heard about but there are plenty to choose from local or national.
here are my top 5 reasons to run a charity event.
1. TO DO SOMETHING GOOD
So often, as athletes, we run for ourselves. It’s all about our race, our goals, etc. etc. I am one of those people….but I love being able to dedicate my race to those who have battled a blood cancer. They are the true fighters and often don’t get recognized for their strength in the fight. Team in Training has an inspiration dinner the night before the event, and hearing how TNT and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society have changed someones life is powerful.
2. BECAUSE THE MONEY REALLY DOES HELP
I’ve seen plenty of posts on Facebook about charities that scam people, so do your research. The good ones that do endurance events keep the costs to 25% or less. Team in Training is at 22.4% with 77.6% going back to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The video below was played at our inspiration dinner in New Orleans. I urge you to take the 3 minutes and watch it. It is FASCINATING what how powerful science is and what research can do these days. Hint: using the HIV strain to kill off cancer cells. For reals.
Oh, and about that money part? The fundraising isn’t that hard (year after year, maybe). The staff support helps you with ideas, your team usually has a group fundraiser, and there is always the beauty of social media….quick way to ask for donations. It really is believing in your cause and explaining why you are doing what you are doing and where the funds go (tax deductible donations).
3. TO MEET RUNNERS/FRIENDS FOR LIFE
I originally joined Team in Training in 2010 to find runner friends. None of my friends were running, they were having babies. One of my best friends now is from that original Seattle team. He’s joined me on several racecations and already have plans for several things this year. I always know I can count on my TNT family and we all seem to pick up where we left off.
Each season, I’ve been lucky enough to meet new people to add to my “family.” I can always find someone to train with (even when not fundraising/training with Team) and usually someone that wants to travel to a race. At least 7 or 8 of my races have been with my Team family (again, some fundraising and some not).
4. TO TAKE A RACECATION
Yes, as mentioned above. I’ve been to Seattle, Big Sur, Disney and most recently New Orleans. There are hiking, biking, running events and triathlons with Team in Training both abroad and in the US. Each local chapter gets to choose the race they want to do, or you can fundraise on your own with the FLEX team (virtual). There are usually four seasons and different events each year so you can change up where you go. With Team in Training, you have the option to fundraise to pay for your travel costs. You don’t have to do it that way, but it is an option to help get you to your event.
5. TO HAVE THE BIGGEST SUPPORT SYSTEM YOU WILL EVER HAVE AT A RACE
From the beginning of your season (with TNT), you will have a coach and mentor to guide you along the way. They are there to help you with whatever you need. It doesn’t stop there. There are group events outside of the actually training runs each weekend, fundraisers, race weekend events, etc.
Have you ever run a race and seen all the crazy people in purple on the sidelines or out running on the course? They are a loud bunch of TNT staff, coaches, and teammates for the season. Once you get to a race, the coaches from all over the country are assigned a spot on the course- you are guaranteed to have a running buddy somewhere along the course and tons and tons of cheerleaders. Having Lisa (my first coach) on the course at Seattle was the only way I could’ve finished the RNR Seattle marathon.
Not only are the coaches great during the race, but so are the hundreds of runners on the course in purple. You can always get a “Go Team!” out on the course from your teammates.
Want to run your first half marathon or marathon and have no idea where to start or what to do? This group of people will help you every step of the way.
I cannot say enough about how life changing the experience with a charity group can be. I would love to answer any questions you have about fundraising, Team in Training, etc.
Have you fundraised and run with a charity group? Why or Why not? Are you more familiar with other fundraising groups other than TNT? Do they run the same way? Did I miss a reason that you run for a charity? Any questions for me?