Shape staffers teamed up to participate in SpinOdyssey 2010! The event helped raise funds for breast cancer research.
More and more, charitable organizations are partnering up with road races--including major events like the Boston Marathon and New York City Marathon--motivating thousands of people to join a running training program and raise money for worthwhile causes. So even if you've never run a marathon before (or even thought about it), count yourself in. Here's how to get started.
Pick a Charity
Training for a race--much less one that's 26.2 miles--is a big commitment. But lacing up your sneakers for those early-morning runs is a lot easier if you're doing it for a cause that has meaning to you. There are tons of local, national and international charities to choose from, including:
- Team in Training (TeamInTraining.org) More than 390,000 people have competed in marathons, half-marathons, triathlons and other endurance events to raise money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Each Team in Training participant competes in honor of someone fighting blood cancer.
- Team LIVESTRONG (LiveStrong.org) Follow in the footsteps of Lance Armstrong and compete with Team LIVESTRONG in one of 12 major endurance events in 2010 to raise money for cancer and increase awareness of the disease.
- Joints in Motion (Arthritis.org) Walk or run to help the Arthritis Foundation, which aims to help victims of the number-one cause of disability in the U.S. Participants train in groups, but if you live too far away, there's a "Virtual Joints in Motion" option with an online coach.
- Run for Autism (ResearchAutism.org) People running for the Organization for Autism Research help the non-profit reach it's goal of raising $1 million each year--money that goes toward autism research and education.
- The Reeve Foundation (ChristopherReeve.org) Named after the late Christopher and Dana Reeve, this charity's team races to help victims of paralysis. Their son, Matthew Reeve, ran the New York City Marathon this year--one of five major races the foundation’s involved with going into 2010.
- Team Hole in the Wall (TeamHoleInTheWall.org) Compete in running, biking or triathlon events to raise money for camps for kids with life-threatening diseases. Races are in the U.S. and Europe, so you can get some traveling in while you're at it.
- Team Hope for the Warriors (HopeForTheWarriors.org) Support wounded war veterans, their families and the families of fallen heroes by competing in marathons, triathlons and biking competitions.
Next Page: How to Get Started