Is running a marathon on your bucket list? If so, you’re not alone. The growing number of 26.2 mile warriors is steadily increasing. In 2010, there were 507,000 estimated marathon finishers, an 8.6 percent jump since 2009 and a 43.6 percent increase since 2000.
The Boston and ING New York City marathons sold out in record time last year making it difficult for eager participants to sign up. However, if you are looking for a motivational boost and guarantee into your race of choice, running for a charity may be your golden ticket.
The most popular marathons are the Boston, Chicago and ING New York City Marathons. All three will sell out, quite possibly on the day registration is live. However, you can secure a number by helping raise money for a charity. You may be provided with a training plan, organized group runs on the weekend, running garb, race-day transportation and a slew of other benefits. It makes for a welcoming first timers’ experience!
The country’s oldest marathon is also the most competitive, with more than 68 percent of participants finishing in less than four hours! This is mainly because in order to sign up the old fashioned way, you must qualify and be invited to run. With 31 charities to choose from, runners must commit to raising at least $4,000. Because this is a large commitment, the charities commit to helping their runners finish the race and achieve their fundraising goals. Many will pair you up with a “buddy” or patient that benefits from the dollars you are getting.
ING New York City
While you do not have to qualify to run the largest marathon in the world, you do need to enter a lottery. If your name is chosen, you can run for the price of the entry fee. If not, you can find a charity to run for. The average amount you will need to raise is about $2000-3000.
This flat-course October race sold out in record time this year. It is not too late however to sign up with a charity (deadline is June 29th). If you were not able to register and still want to run, you will be asked to raise between $750-1500.
Not much of a runner? Well, you can also walk for a good cause! Long-distance walks like the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer cover a longer distance than marathons and also have specific training programs to build endurance.
Avon Walk for Breast Cancer
This walk to end breast cancer is celebrated across the country – from New York City to San Francisco or Houston to the Rocky Mountains, there is a location near you! The walk lasts two days and spans 39 miles. Each walker is asked to raise $1,800 to help end breast cancer. Once registered, multiple training tools are made available to walkers. The walks begin April 21 in Houston and end in Charlotte on October 28.
Besides earning a coveted entry, running or walking for a charity is an amazing opportunity to give back while doing something good for your body as well. And remember The Laughing Cow Cheese Wedges and Mini Babybels are the perfect protein-packed snacks for pre-marathon/walk training! Try this Blue Cheese Dip with carrots, celery and tomatoes for a delicious pre-or post-workout treat.
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