Running … you either love it or hate it.
Some do it purely for exercise – “the faster you run, the sooner you get done,” a mantra they keep repeating to themselves until there daily mile is finally done. There are the fortunate ones who actually like running, it gives them time to think or time to themselves, those that I personally am envious of. And finally there are those that aren’t too found of running, those that would rather sit on the couch eating a bowl of guacamole and chips while watching old episodes of Friends for the thousandth time – like me for example.
However, there is one type of event that brings these three different types of runners together. Running for a cause. These events are gaining popularity and becoming a go-to fundraising option for many different non-profit organizations. What makes those who run purely for exercise want to race through an event as fun as these? Those that run to be alone want to run in giant packs of excited individuals? Or even the individuals who are not too fond of running spend their day … well, running?
It has a lot to do about the cause, it hits close to their hearts. Non-profits are able to use stories, definitions of diseases and more to hit the hearts of these ‘runners’ who are ready to give to the organization. Deciding what to market, and to what running personality can be a hard. For example, there is a 5K in San Diego every year that my family and I participate in. Chelsea’s Light Foundations 5K was started in 2010, and grew substantially in the years that followed.
I was the person who got my family involved in this event, and that’s because this story hit –very- close to my heart. Chelsea King was a Cross Country runner at a local high school near me. On one of her many runs she was abducted and never made it home. I ran cross-country as well when I was in high school and this story could have been mine, which is why I run every year. Chelsea’s Light Foundation started in 2010 and raises money for “San Diego college-bound teens, which have embraced characteristics that embodied Chelsea’s academic prowess and service-over-self ethic”. Although I am well out of high school – and have since lost my love of the sport – I still participate, and in doing so I am donating to college bound teens that are more than qualified for a scholarship of this nature.
Although a non-profits cause may be important to an individual those that would rather stay home than run a 5K, run by themselves, or are running purely for exercise sometimes need a little more motivation to get to the event. Chelsea’s Run has a course that weaves through beautiful Balboa Park in San Diego, this alone is more than enough motivation for donors – whether they love running or hate it – to join the event and give to the cause. Not all places are lucky enough to have a “Balboa Park” near them, so they have to get creative to raise the excitement about running a 5K.
There have been many fun 5K’s that non-profits can get great guidance from. There are bubble runs where people literally run through mountains of bubbles coming out on the other side smelling like Mr. Bubbles himself. Neon Runs that happen at night, which entail people getting doused with neon colored paint and then sent through tents of black lights. My Favorite are the Mud Runs that are paired with agility tests where people jump across rivers of mud, climb 8 foot walls, army crawl in the dirt and more.
5K’s are a great and fun way to raise money for a cause; you just have to decide what kind is best suited for your area, the people most likely to attend the event, and which kind of 5K will get the most people involved.