Running for a Cause


In 2011, I ran the NYC Marathon for UNICEF and raised $27,973. Over 150 friends and colleagues made donations ranging from $10-$1,000, which all added up to a pretty big total for one runner. Because of this amount, I was invited to a breakfast hosted by New York Road Runners the morning after the race, the theme of which was charity running programs for the NYC Marathon. It was there I was amazed to learn that the NYC Marathon had raised about $28 million dollars that year by thousands of marathoners like myself running for a cause.

The 2014 NYC Marathon is on November 2, and, according to Michael Rodgers, VP of Development and Philanthropy at New York Road Runners, it is on track to raise to raise between $25-30 million dollars for charity. About 7,000 runners are running for charity and there are almost 300 official charity partners. For runners, pledging to raise money for a cause is a way to get a coveted spot in the NYC Marathon, which this year had 134,000 entries for between 47,000-50,000 spots. For charities, the NYRR Official Charity Partner Program creates a fantastic opportunity to raise funds and awareness to support their missions and services.

Participating charities essentially buy a spot in the race for $450 to $995. The gold, silver and bronze levels that correspond to these amounts entitle the charities and runners to perks like race day transportation and tents in the starting area. The minimum amount a runner must raise may vary, but NYRR generally requires between $2500-3500 depending of the level of the charity.

For a charity to become an official NYRR partner, they must have the infrastructure, experience and support system to help runners attain their fundraising goals. The NYRR wants these programs to succeed. They look for partners whose mission is to benefit youth programs, education, family, physical activity and health, and also those that are based in NYC. The NYRR has its own program, Team For Kids, which raises funds for NYRR Youth Programs, and has 1700 spots in the Marathon this year. In fact, former #1-ranked professional tennis player Caroline Wozniacki is running the marathon this year for Team For Kids.

As I can attest, for the marathoner running for charity the training becomes about something larger than yourself. It’s an opportunity to support a cause for which you are passionate and the plea, “I am running a marathon, and all you have to do is give a few dollars,” can be very effective! No matter the amount, every donation means that person is giving what they can to support your efforts and in my case, support UNICEF. For those who run for a cause, your supporters become your teammates and it’s very motivating to be running for them as well as your charity.

As of this moment I am running the NYC Marathon again this year for UNICEF. I have raised $13,056 so far, a bit behind my 2011 fundraising due to some injuries that have made my race day status questionable. I am still planning to get to the starting line with many more dollars raised, and to cross the finish line with my huge team of supporters!

So I’ll sign off with “I am running a marathon, and… TO DONATE CLICK HERE!”