Running for Charity...

A couple of people have asked for my tips and tricks for running for charity in the last couple of weeks, so I thought I'd write a summary of my sage advice...

1) Some charities have places in run, others don't, some put on their own events. 

If a charity has places in a big run, then they will have paid for it (and on top of the cost the run would charge you there may be an admin cost from the race organiser for bulk bookings, the admin of managing finding the runners etc).

If they don't then see below.

If they put on their own event then expect the events to be more fun and more loved than others - my favourite 10k, the Mad Dog, is run by the local rotary and supports their good works.  It's not the cheapest 10k run I've done, but its one I've done every year since it started.

2) Fundraising targets - check, check, check... If a charity is giving you a target then be honest, will you make it?  As a minimum please cover costs (and try for awareness if you can't make a bit of extra).  Some charities (normally bigger ones) will ask you to sign a contract for some events, and will expect you to pay the minimum even if you don't get the sponsorship... Yes, seriously, and some (very big ones), will charge you an admin fee for some popular events.

3) If a charity doesn't have places... Then think about getting your own.  I've done races/events in every part of the UK, there are only two that I've ever had to enter a ballot for... The Great North Run and the London Marathon.  GNR I've been lucky every year I've applied through the ballot and London, once in seven years.

Not getting into London is probably the best thing that happened to me as a runner.  By the time London came around I'd done 5 or 6 marathons or Ultras.  The distance wasn't a problem, the emotion... well, doing anything after 6 years of waiting is bound to be a tad emotional.

Find a local run, try and get into the local paper, have local support - I have friends who only see me run in Southport, or Liverpool who'd never get to Newcastle or London.   When you run a big run, there's support for everyone, from everyone...

4) There are some events that ask for your running pedigree - normally to work out where to put you in the pens, or in some more extreme events as a safety check.

If you're a speedy runner, and have the evidence, you may be fast enough to get a Good For Age place - in which case I'll see you at the end, and the pint is on you ;-)

5) Getting the cash - ask the charity which method works best for them; justgiving takes a small percentage to cover their costs, virginmoney doesn't take anything out.. But ask.

I'm not into doing baking, stalls etc, so I just ask and keep asking.  If your work will match funds, then ask them to.  If you are a dab hand at baking (or something else useful) then do it, it all helps.

Keep telling people how much you're training, tell them your highs and lows - make it their journey as well as yours.  Some people have doubled their sponsorship of me when they realise just how much hard work training for something is.
Electronic money is a lot easier than cash... but never say no!  E-money via the websites also makes getting giftaid (free money!) a lot easier.

6) Bottom Line!

a) If you want to do an event, then applying yourself will normally be cheaper for the charity than taking a place they've booked (but ask)
b) Check how best to raise cash for them
c) Have fun and enjoy your run!!!

And never forget just because it's not the GNR doesn't mean its not a half marathon, and all marathons are the same length as London...

TTFN

Paul

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