If you’re looking for an excuse to get in shape, you needn’t look any farther. Instead of hitting the gym, consider hitting the pavement for a good cause by participating in a marathon or half marathon, all in the name of charity.
In addition to the feel-good perks that naturally come along with donating your time and money to a worthwhile organization, not to mention getting your body into peak physical shape, many marathons that traditionally choose applicants using a lottery system, or on a first come, first served basis, guarantee entry for those individuals running for charity.
Peter Hicks, a personal trainer in the greater Boston area explains how the benefits that come along with taking part in these events are unparalleled. "From an exercise standpoint, preparing for and participating in a marathon will change your life. The motivation is both physical and emotional. But raising money for charity will provide mental motivation as well. At the end of the day, you are driven to cross that finish line because others are counting on you," says Hicks.
So, you’re not a runner? Not a problem. Though you may associate marathons with running, many participants choose to walk, or combine walking and running to make it to the finish line.
After the birth of her daughter, Adrienne Miller was looking for a way to get back in shape. But, like many of us, she was lacking the motivation to do so. Then she found out about the Leukemia & Lymphoma Societies Team in Training, a program that provides training to run or walk in the world's major marathons, triathlons and century rides in exchange for your fundraising efforts on behalf of the LLS charity. Even though she’s not a runner, Miller felt moved to get involved and decided to raise money for LLS and run in the Walt Disney half marathon in Orlando.
"It was a great experience, in which I made amazing friends. And through it I felt an awesome sense of accomplishment for raising money for a worthy charity and meeting such a huge physical challenge head-on," says Miller.
If you’re interested in putting your best foot forward in the name of charity you’ll need to decide which of the many worthy causes you’d like to support. A few popular options include:
If you have a charity in mind that’s not mentioned above, visit their Web site or contact them directly to see if they host or participate in marathons in your area.
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