10 ways in which your running can help others
As a runner, the ways in which you can benefit from running are many and varied. From offering physical health benefits and social perks, through to contributing to emotional well-being and assisting with weight management, running is regarded by many as nothing short of a miracle drug. But what if running could also benefit those around you? What if you could make a real difference to the lives of others through doing what you love? The good news is that you can. And even better news is that it won’t necessarily cost you an arm and a leg. Here’s ten surprisingly easy ways in which your running can help others:
Enter a race with an appointed charity partner
Many of the bigger city races partner up with an official charity or two. Race organisers then allocate a pre-specified portion of race entry fees to the charities in question, meaning that all you have to do to make a difference, is enter the race.
Other races give the option of a voluntary donation to charity as part of the entry process. And don’t feel like you have to give hundreds of dollars in order to make a difference. Remember that every dollar adds up for a race with tens of thousands of entrants.
Make use of the clothes drop facility at race starting lines
Another hassle-free way to help others through your running, is to donate used clothes at a race starting line. Many races offer runners the opportunity to deposit blankets and warm gear used to keep warm before the race into specially marked bins near the start. Volunteers then sort these items and donate it to charity after the race – a win/win for all.
Raise money for a worthy cause through a race
One of the more traditional ways of running for a cause, is becoming an official fundraiser for charity by using a race as platform. Many charities offer fundraising packages for this purpose: Fundraising runners are given branded gear and other perks in return for donations from friends and family.
Be an official race pacer
We all know how elusive a new distance specific PB can be – why not help a fellow runner reach this goal? Bigger races often appoint official race pacers to help others reach pre-specified time goals, so sign up and make someone’s day!
Donate pre-loved running shoes
Almost all runners have one thing in common: An undying love for running shoes. So much so that many a runner’s cupboard overflows with a mind boggling number of running shoes that they’re too sorry to part with. Perhaps the farewell will be easier knowing that your beloved shoes can still bring many miles of joy to an underprivileged runner? Search for a running shoe donation initiative near you.
Become a guide runner
As runners we often take the act of running for granted. But for many getting out there and being active without assistance is simply not an option. If you’re ready to make a long-term commitment to help out a fellow runner, why not volunteer as a running guide for the visually impaired? There is obviously a whole host of factors to consider in this regard, including pace and schedule compatibility. But, finding a good match is sure to be equally rewarding for both parties.
Make a canine’s day
It’s not just fellow humans that can benefit from your running… Why not make a four-legged runner’s day? Most animal shelters welcome helping hands and many have rosters for local runners to give dogs the opportunity to exercise. So why not take a shelter dog along on one of your shorter weekly runs and spread some joy?
Pass on your love for running to the next generation
One of the best things a runner can do, is pass on a passion for running to the next generation. A host of different organisations focus specifically on getting the youth involved in and passionate about running. Why not donate some of your time and expertise as a runner to fan the flame in tomorrow’s leaders?
Give a homeless person a reason to smile
A new initiative in South-Africa spreads the joy of running to those often most in need of a smile: The homeless. With running gear sponsored by a local business, this group offers weekly runs at homeless shelters with great results. Participants report experiencing a sense of accomplishment and self-worth, which also carries over to other parts of their lives. Why not see if a similar initiative is available near you and join in as a run leader?
Run with a newbie runner friend
Finally, if you fancy making a difference a little closer to home, why not introduce a non-running friend or family member to running? Enter them in a fun, fancy dress 5 km race and be their self-appointed training partner and cheerleader. Who knows where running will take them?