Today's Run: 14.5 miles at 8:27 pace. Longest run in months and feeling good.

When people ask why I run, I usually tell them that I run for health, I run for personal achievement or I just run for me. I have never run for charity.

That's not to say I don't find charity runners inspiring. Friends and acquaintances who once ran no more than a few miles in their lives pushed themselves to finish 10ks, half marathons and marathons in the name of charity, typically causes with deep meaning to them. They didn't enjoy running, and still don't, but they did it. That takes tremendous dedication and spirit. These caring folks deserve no less praise than the everyday runner who trained just as hard if not harder.

I tell people I'm preparing for my third marathon with the goal of finishing with a Boston Marathon qualifying time. The runner's response to this: "Good for you! That's awesome! How many miles are you running a week? How fast is your pace?" The nonrunner's response: "You know you can just get in the Boston Marathon by running for charity?"

Yes, I know, but then it wouldn't be my run. Right?

I've always shied away from charity running for that reason. As if running for charity negates my own personal achievement. I'm no longer running for me, but for the charity. Does that seem silly or selfish? That's not my intention... I also have a hard time choosing to run for a cause that is not deeply significant to me. Doing that solely to run Boston seems sneaky, though I'm sure the participating charities are happy for the help, no matter the runner's motivation.

In any event, I'm starting to think that charity and running can coexist in my teeny little world. I run a race almost every month. That makes for lots o' fundraising opportunities. I don't intend to turn every race into a plea for cash. The last thing I want is to make anyone feel guilty about donating or not donating. I'm just thinking about how I can help through my running.

If it's not evident why I'm pondering this now, I should have prefaced this post by saying the events in Haiti are a stark reminder of how much help is needed. Not just today, but year round. All across the world and in our own circles of friends and family.

If you're running for charity, please feel free to share the info here so we can spread the word.
 


Comments

01/19/2010 13:44

I wrote a very similar post a couple of months ago. I have nothing against running for charity, in fact in some ways those runners should get even more praise...we're just doing something we love to do. I am sure that I will eventually run for a charity, but Boston is something special. I once heard a runner say, "there are runners, there are marathoners and then there are Boston Qualifiers". It gave me chills. Maybe once I qualify, I will start running Boston for charity, but I want the first one to be on my own running merit!

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Robyn
01/22/2010 17:06

Totally agree. Have to know you can get into Boston on your own before jumping in for charity. And that's a great quote. I too get a thrill at the thought of qualifying. It's the reason why I'll get up at 6 am and run in the cold darkness any day of the week...

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