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Running For a Cause: How to Combine Your Love of Running with a Purpose


Woman runner crossing the finish line..


Running is more than just a physical activity; it’s an opportunity to create a positive impact and contribute to meaningful causes.


This is by far my favorite thing about running. Running for a cause adds purpose and fulfillment to your miles, connecting your love for running with a greater mission.


Once I began to find causes to support through my running, I was able to find a deeper motivation that kept me on target with my goals. It took me from being "off and on" again with running to keeping it a routine part of my life by infusing my running routine with purpose, passion, and a sense of fulfillment. Supporting Girls on the Run as a SoleMate was the biggest reason I signed up for my first marathon!


Running for a cause is also one of the biggest and most important ways I bring joy into my running journey.


If you’re interested in combining your love for running with a meaningful purpose, I’m going to cover finding your cause, goal setting, and fundraising.


Finding Your Cause


The first step in running for a cause is choosing the cause (or causes) you want to support. You’ll want to select something that resonates with you personally. It could be related to health, education, social justice, environmental sustainability, or any other area that ignites your passion.


Aligning the cause you choose to support with your values will fuel your motivation and dedication throughout your running journey.


During my first marathon, there were a few moments toward the end of the race when my mind said “STOP!”. That’s natural when running 26.2 miles, by the way. But this was the point in the race where my mind had to convince my body to keep going. What kept me moving was knowing I was running to support an organization that meant so much to me, that aligned with my core values.


"What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal" - Albert Pike

If a cause doesn’t pop right out at you in an obvious way, that’s okay! Start with identifying your values. Journal about what’s important to you. From here, search for organizations or organized events that align with those values that you could support.


Setting Goals


Whether it’s completing a certain race, running a certain distance or miles in a certain time, or achieving a certain fundraising target, you’ll want to set specific goals to achieve.



Runners at the start line of Chicago Marathon.


You won’t always have to set goals yourself; it may be the event or challenge you sign up to complete that sets the goal for you.


If you want to make it simple and join a team or challenge that’s already created:


  • Sign up for a race that supports a certain cause/organization.

  • Join a charity team for a race.

  • Sign up for a challenge through an organization (a certain number of miles per month)

    • For example, I once did a run/walk 1 mile per day for an organization that supports Autism awareness.


If you prefer to get more creative and do something on your own:


  • Set a fundraising target with running at the center:

    • Make your own challenge – ask family/friends to donate money for every mile you run in a certain time frame that will be donated to your chosen organization.

Fundraising


Once you select the goal you want to achieve, it’s time to start fundraising!


Here are some tips when it comes to fundraising for a cause:


Share Your Goal(s)


Share your goals with friends and family and spread the word on social media. This will help garner support for your cause. Include fundraising links in all social media posts as well as in your bio on social media platforms.


Personal Outreach


Reaching out directly can be much more personal and potentially create a bigger impact. You can do this through email, text, or a phone call. I always reach out personally to close family members and friends, as they often know me the best and donate the most.


Corporate Donations


Some companies offer match programs; some have a preferred list of charities they partner with while others match gifts to any charity an employee may support. If you don’t know if your company has a matching program or how it works, contact your Human Resources department.


Local Businesses


Plenty of businesses offer fundraising programs! Check locally with restaurants, breweries, or other businesses that you could potentially partner with. A popular restaurant fundraiser I’ve participated in has been through Chipotle.


They now offer fundraisers online and in-store, with a certain percentage of event sales being donated directly to your cause. This means the customer/donator doesn't have to do anything extra, just purchase a meal!



Paying with a debit card.

Share Your Why


When asking for support online or through personal outreach, sharing your WHY is important. Share specifics on why you support this certain cause, what the cause means to you, and what their donation will go towards. The more specific, the better.


💡 PRO TIP
Reach out to the organization you’re fundraising for, as they may have resources available to aid in the fundraising portion of the race, event, or challenge.

And let me acknowledge that it can feel uncomfortable asking for money if you’ve never fundraised before. I remember raising money for a race right after the pandemic, and I felt like it was the worst time possible, as many families were struggling. Yet, I was surprised and blown away by how many people still wanted to support my fundraiser.


Remember that the worst someone can say is no. And if someone can’t financially support you at this time, there are other ways they can help. They could sign up to help raise money themselves or simply spread the word in their network, helping you to get to your fundraising goal.


Happy runner filled with joy.

From first-hand experience, combining your love for running and your passion for a cause can help you crush your goals while also leaving you with a sense of fulfillment and infusing your running journey with joy.




If you’ve recently signed up for a big race to support a cause and are looking for a training plan to get you to race day, learn more about the customized training plans I offer here.


If you’re looking for a running coach to guide you to your goal event plus help you with the fundraising piece of running for a cause, sign up for a free discovery call today.

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