Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Running to Give Back: A Guest Post

In this week of giving thanks, I'd like to introduce you to my first guest blogger - Jackie!  Jackie blogs over at Jackie's Arc and is also a staff writer for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog.

Jackie joined the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance in 2009 as research assistant after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in fitness and nutrition. Jackie’s experience in technical and medical research has allowed her to assist in the development of medical content and outreach efforts, with specializations in alternative care, cancer support programs, and social media campaigns. In addition, she runs and is an advocate for running for charity.  Jackie asked if she could share an article about running for a good cause with my readers, and I'm pleased to introduce you to Jackie (that's her in the white hat and blue/black jacket)...

The Importance of Running for a Good Cause
By: Jackie Clark

If you've never run a marathon before, you don't know what you're missing.

As a runner I have found that gaining sponsorship in order to donate money to a favorite charity can be relatively easy. People like helping people especially when there is a cancer connection. Sadly, everyone is connected to cancer in some way and people struggle with the best way to help those fighting for their lives. When I mention that I am running for charity people are more than willing to donate because they can provide something tangible to those in need.

 The New York City Marathon is one of the most popular marathons and provides funding for over a 190 charities. If you have a specific cause that you want to run for, whether it is mesothelioma, sudden infant death syndrome, or even ovarian cancer, there are many options available for finding a race that promotes awareness and supports a charity that donates to your specific cause.

Running for charity is more than physical endurance test for me. It is also an emotional experience. You don't have to be a strong runner to feel the powerful connection to the people around you as you race. I have met people from all walks of life while running. Maybe you'll talk to some of your fellow runners, maybe not, but you're all in this race together. You're all dedicated to raising money for a specific cause and to saving lives of your fellow humans who can't always stand up and speak for themselves.

In addition to raising money for others, running for charity has also helped strengthen my body and improved my overall health. You'll need to spend several months preparing for your marathon in order to be able to physically complete the race. Realize that marathon preparation, no matter how noble, is something you should take seriously. Eat healthy foods and avoid processed and high-calorie meals as much as possible in order to help yourself feel and look as good as possible when the day of the race comes. A healthy diet will not only improve your appearance, but also will also increase your energy levels and help you feel good and be able to keep up as you run.

Once you decide to run, immediately begin to tell the people around you so that they can support you financially and emotionally. While you shouldn't beg people for money, there isn't anything wrong with letting your friends and family members know that you're going to be running so that they can donate if they want to or so that they can tell others about the cause. Talking about your decision to run also opens up the opportunity to discuss the actual charity you're supporting.

Thank you for sharing, Jackie.  As runners, this is definitely an area where we can give back, whether it be fundraising and running for a cause near to your heart, or simply getting out your checkbook and supporting those running around you.  

Happy Thanksgiving my friends!

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