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Running for charity – take II

Two years ago I wrote about running for charity, and gave examples of some amazing races around the world that attract runners running for a charity or non-profit. Organizations like the American Cancer Society give you the opportunity to help raise money while running your choice of race. Their Team Determination gives you all the support and tools you might need along the way. Andy Querio has raised $110,000 over 14 years for Team Determination, helping his wife, mother in law and brother with their own battles with cancer along the way. As Andy puts it, “It doesn’t take a lot of money from individuals, …It just takes a little money from a lot of people. And it adds up pretty fast.” Event resource platforms like Eventbrite have also made it easier for non-profits to further benefit from the significant fund raising capabilities that races can offer.

Maybe you’re not actively fund raising for a charity or non-profit. Even then there are still options that enable you to contribute. Many races include an element of fund raising within their race business model, encouraging the feel good factor of consumer choice benefiting cause marketing that attracts runners, especially when it’s linked to something that you love, or something important to you that is tangibly threatened in some way.

d80_46102Vacation Races hold a series of half marathons that are based at National Parks around the country. Their goal is to put on beautiful half marathons and encourage people to visit and enjoy our amazing national parks. A series of eleven races in 2017 covers Zion, Yosemite, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier, Rocky Mountain, Shenandoah, Great Smoky, Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, and Everglades. Each of the races not only takes place in an amazingly beautiful National Park location, the race organizers have also creatively encouraged runners to get out and visit the adjacent National Park, offering a race discount for future races when you submit a picture of yourself with your bib # at the summit of an iconic hike. Vacation Races also partner with the National Park Foundation, to support their mission of park promotion and preservation. When you register for any of their races, you have the option to join the #FindYourPark movement by donating to the National Park Foundation. You can also make a point of purchase donation that adds to the value of the cause marketing promotion. Vacation Races donated around $250,000 to the National Park Foundation last year, helping to ensure our national parks are protected now and forever.

One of my favorite races on the Vacation Races calendar takes place in my home town of Estes Park, CO. The Rocky Mountain half marathon takes place at 7,500 feet above sea level in the magnificent mountain town that is basecamp for Rocky Mountain National Park. In 2016 more than 2,000 runners took part in the race, that features majestic mountain views as well as historic sites on the route, like the Stanley Hotel, perhaps best known for the inspiration for Stephen King’s book, The Shining. This race also features the highest elevation of the National Park half marathon race series, and perhaps attracts even more runners for that reason. Definitely a race for the bucket list. If you’re thinking about this race, check out our posts on running and racing at altitude, and get ready for an inspiring race!

The Estes Park Marathon features a race for everyone in the family, covering all distances from a KIDS FUN RUN, 5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon, and marathon team relay. The entry fee for all these races helps benefit community youth sports teams and leadership groups, as well as other organizations that benefit children, students and families in the Estes Park area.

Knowing which organizations or groups benefit from the race that you have chosen to support is another reason to be proud of your accomplishment when you complete your race. Cause marketing has exploded in recent years, and the signs are that races and charities are getting smarter and better organized as sales and revenue increase as a result.

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