Race for a Cause

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I’ve raced – and fundraised – for three charity organizations.  My first fundraising experience was with the Disney Marathon and Team in Training, which raises money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  In total (largely due to wonderful blog donations), I raised $3,050.

My second fundraising experience was a 100-mile bike ride with Echelon Gran Fondo in Napa Valley.  My team raised over $5,500 combined for the Livestrong Foundation.

And lastly, I did a triathlon with the Girls on the Run Solemates program.  The fundraising goal was much lower; I raised a couple hundred dollars.


If you do any large race, you will see TONS of charity runners, distinguishable by their coordinating team shirts.  But fundraising happens at all levels, from small 5Ks to nationally-watched marathons.  One estimate says that charity runners raised about $1 billion for various organizations in 2009.  In 2010 alone, the New York Road Runners organization, which fundraises for 190 charities, raised about $26.2 million.  Nearly 80% of runners who do the London Marathon are fundraisers (wow!) and each runner raises an average of $4,205, for a total of $81 million in 2010. (Source)


Charity running has numerous benefits, including:


  • Providing financial and social support for an important cause;
  • Organizations often strive to create a ‘team atmosphere,’ offering group training runs, training clinics, advice, and discounts on equipment;
  • Priority at the race event (for example, you may get access to a special bag check area, a better corral number, a nice post-race party);
  • Fundraising may allow you to gain access to sought-after races or races that would otherwise require you to qualify, such as the Boston Marathon; and
  • As a ‘thank you’ for fundraising, many organizations give runners free entry, travel, and lodging for the race.


There are some drawbacks, however.  Namely, it can be extremely difficult to fundraise several thousand dollars, and many of the organizations will actually charge the runner the remaining balance if the fundraising goal is not met by a certain date.  This is the policy at Team in Training, for example – I had to hand over my credit car number when I committed to the race.  They do this, in part, because TNT pays for your entry, travel, and lodging.  While I did a race in my hometown, some runners fly across the country to race, and plane tickets are expensive!  Committing to a fundraising team is very serious.


While there are HUNDREDS, if not thousands, of charity organizations to race for, here are some of the big ones:


Team in Training: TNT raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to fight blood cancers.  According to the site, every four minutes, someone new is diagnosed with blood cancer. Every 10 minutes, someone dies.  You can participate in TNT by doing one of over 200 half marathon, marathon, century race, hiking adventure, or triathlon events.


Joints in Motion:  Joints in Motion raises money for the Arthritis Foundation to fight arthritis, America’s top cause of disability.  While there are local teams training for specific races, you can join the Virtual Joints in Motion program and train for a big race (currently, either the Kona half or full marathon or the Disney half or full marathon) from any location.


NEDA Walk: The NEDA 5K Walk program raises money and awareness for the National Eating Disorders Association.  In 2011, NEDA Walks raised nearly $300,000 for the organization.   You can find a list of upcoming walks here. There is no minimum fundraising amount and participants are encouraged to raise as much as possible.



Relay for Life and DetermiNation:  Relay for Life raises money for the American Cancer Society.  Instead of doing marathons or triathlons, teams of 8 – 15 people camp out at high school parks, fairgrounds, or other public spaces and take turns walking around a track or path.  Because “cancer never sleeps,” relay events are 24 hours in length. Since the 1980s, Relay events have raised a grand total of $3 billion. The American Cancer Society also offers a program called DetermiNation, an individual race fundraising program much like Team in Training.  You can be a DetermiNation athlete for a variety of race types, including a half or full marathon, triathlon, Ironman, or cycling event.


Solemates: Solemates raises money for the Girls on the Run program, an organization very near and dear to my heart!  Although I’m a bit biased, I think the coolest thing about Solemates is that it is a very accessible program – the minimum fundraising goal is only $262 (chosen because of the marathon length, although you can fundraise for any race).  The money helps put at least two girls who need scholarships through the program and, in exchange, runners get sweet swag, training advice, and other support.  Solemates have special bonus entries to the Chicago Marathon (the fundraising goal for Chicago is $750) – pretty neat! Solemates is a great way to get involved with GOTR if you don’t have the availability in your schedule to coach.


Are you a charity runner?  What organization did you fundraise for?  What were the benefits and drawbacks of the experience?  If you’re actively fundraising, please feel free to leave your ‘pitch’ in the comments section with a link to your fundraising page so others interested in the same cause can support you!



  • Victoria (District Chocoholic) May 3, 2012, 9:06 am

    I pay my own race entry and travel fees and then give to charity out of pocket, so this isn’t for me.

    I do like Team to End AIDS, which isn’t listed here, because they have extremely low overhead and almost all of what they raise goes to helping people living with AIDS and funding AIDS research.

    Look into what % of money raised by a TNT racer actually goes to blood cancer research. It’s disgustingly low (single digits).

    • Jennifer Cook May 3, 2012, 9:29 am

      Actually, TNT has one of the highest percentages in the country of funds raised actually going to the cause-76%. The national average for most causes is closer to 70%.

      • Victoria (District Chocoholic) May 3, 2012, 9:37 am

        Citation, please? Completely contrary to everything else I’ve read.

        • Jennifer Cook May 3, 2012, 9:41 am
          • Victoria (District Chocoholic) May 3, 2012, 10:00 am

            That is 76% of LLS $ going to programs and services, NOT 76% of TNT $. TNT takes a big chunk to pay for race entry fees/uniforms/travel costs/etc and then hands $ over to LLS.

            On top of that, don’t forget that only about 1/4 of what LLS spends goes to research, and there is overhead associated with the research itself, too. It’s an incredibly small number that finally winds up going to actual research. It’s not as bad as Komen, but it’s not good, either.

            If you really want to support LLS or another cause, why not give your own money directly to it?

        • Kattrina May 3, 2012, 10:03 am

          You can find LLS financial information on their website at http://www.lls.org/#/aboutlls/financialinformation/ and you can also look at their 990 tax form and see exactly where the money was spent and on what. It’s not a huge mystery or anything. Obviously some of the money raised would have to go to race expenses, travel, and other things like that and I think the percentage is different for each event (marathon vs. half marathon vs. bike ride, etc.) However, when you examine most non-profits like Save the Children, Oxfam, etc. you will find similar numbers. Obviously the more money a person raises the larger percentage that goes towards community education and research (because all the money raised isn’t for research, LLS has a lot of other programs that they support on top of research). I still think it’s a great organization and people get a lot out of doing an event (which doesn’t carry a monetary value) and a lot of families/patients/honored teammates get a lot out of the program (which also doesn’t carry a monetary value). So to each their own.

          • Victoria (District Chocoholic) May 3, 2012, 10:07 am

            If, as you say, people get a ton out of doing the event, they should pay for the event THEMSELVES, NOT have other people contribute to the cost under the guise of charity when little of the money goes to charity. That’s just a scam.

            Again, LLS may do OK, but the TNT expenses prior to handing extra $ over to LLS are substantial.

    • Lindsay May 3, 2012, 10:08 am

      Hey Victoria – I can tell you that that is absolutely not true. I used to crunch the numbers at TNT. 75% of a fundraising minimum goes directly to LLS and 25% pays costs such as travel costs, race entry, pasta dinner, shoe tag, swim cap, pool time, etc. This is why the minimums are so high – to get to that 25/75 split. Of the amount that goes to LLS, approximately 22% will go to organizational overhead such as salaries, etc, but the majority (approximately 78%) will go to patient services and cancer research. People don’t like to hear that part of their donation goes to overhead, but that is how ALL nonprofits operate and big nonprofits need to spend some money on salaries, rent, electricity, etc.

      Not everyone will just give to charity, like you do, Victoria, so programs like TNT allow others to get involved, raise awareness and raise $. Yes, there are costs involved in that, but the total raised (over 1 billion) for research far outweighs those costs.

      Would be happy to answer any other TNT questions!

      • Victoria (District Chocoholic) May 3, 2012, 10:12 am

        If you add that together, that is about 55% from TNT going to programs, and a smaller % of “programs” is research. So it’s a smaller amount that TNT promotes it as.

        If folks want to get involved, raise money, and raise awareness, why does the race need to be part of it? Just raise money for the sake of raising money, and then pay for your own race and travel.

        It doesn’t sit well with me when people raise money for charity and then get monetary benefit out of it themselves. (unless it is their full time job, in which case that’s just a necessity for running any large organization)

        • Lindsay May 3, 2012, 10:17 am

          Victoria – participants may be saying that all their money goes to research, but LLS/TNT does not promote it in that way. Patient services are a huge part of the mission of LLS and when you work for LLS (including on the Team In Training program) you live, eat, breathe that mission of curing cancer AND improving the quality of life of patients.

          • Victoria (District Chocoholic) May 3, 2012, 10:20 am

            Which is GREAT to pay for those things. But I think the participants need to be better educated about the actual distribution of funds, because I know many people who have worked with TNT who misrepresent it (whether intentionally or not).

      • Lindsay May 3, 2012, 10:12 am

        I’ll just add, as well, that Victoria is right in that all money LLS spends towards its mission is not on research alone. The mission of LLS is to cure blood cancers AND to improve the quality of life of patients and their families, so tons of money goes into peer counseling, financial aid for treatment, education, patient materials, patient events, hotline support and more.

        • Victoria (District Chocoholic) May 3, 2012, 10:16 am

          And that’s another one of my issues – people say they are raising $ for “research,” and others misquote the 76% figure regarding LLS contributions to “programs” and say that 76% of TNT $ goes directly to research – and that’s just not even close to true. That’s not to say that those programs aren’t worthwhile, but truth in advertising is essential.

          • Kattrina May 3, 2012, 11:28 am

            Well, although some people aren’t a fan of paying for people’s race entries, others don’t care and some people won’t just give money without an organized cause.

            I raised a lot of money when I was fundraising and people realized that part of what they gave me went to my race fees, etc., but they didn’t seem to really care. I think the average public realizes how non-profits work and know that all the money they give isn’t going to a specific cause – that some $$ has to go toward race fees and overhead. And I think a lot people are fine with that.

            Almost everyone who donated to me, donated because I was running the marathon and they felt like that was something worth donating towards. I know I never would have been able to raise money if I hadn’t been running for an organization – strangers/co-workers/friends, etc. wouldn’t have just handed over money because I was running a marathon. They handed over money because I was running for TNT and for some reason that makes a big difference.

            So, I think it’s great if people pay their own way to a race or if people donate to their own event (which I know a lot of people do), but I think the event and the organization gets more people to donate and that’s a good thing. Plus, some people can easily pay their way to numerous marathons every year but that isn’t true of everyone. People may want to do an even in honor of a family member with cancer but can’t afford it. By fundraising, they can raise enough money to go to the event and then some – and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. It makes it more accessible to everyone and not just people with a lot of money for races.

            TNT and organizations like them aren’t for everyone. And it’s not necessarily their fault if people aren’t 100% honest while fundraising. In my experience they haven’t ever been dishonest when talking to participants, but it’s possible participants say things to get money. However, no one can monitor what participants say. So, if you don’t trust the person asking for money then don’t give it. Or read up on the organization before donating.

          • Victoria (District Chocoholic) May 3, 2012, 11:31 am

            I have a solution for people who can’t pay for multiple marathons per year – don’t do multiple marathons per year. If you can’t afford it, don’t do it.

            And I doubt that most contributors realize that race fees and travel costs are being covered for the participant. How many people want to bankroll somebody’s flight and hotel in San Francisco?

          • Rachel May 3, 2012, 1:35 pm

            I’d encourage everyone to do research on orgs that they either donate to or fundraise for. Personally, I like to give to orgs with less than 20% overhead so I feel like my money is being well spent so I wouldn’t ask others to do something I wouldn’t do myself.

          • Mia May 3, 2012, 1:53 pm

            I’m inclined to agree with Rachel/Victoria. I’ve always been a little uncomfortable asking for donations to something that benefits me directly, especially with something with a high % of donations going to overhead. My general rule is 20%, but I prefer closer to 15%.

            I certainly support that people want to bring awareness to causes, but lately, I’ve felt that it’s turned into a mutual usury that affects a third party.

            I totally support that those entering the races get reserved race spaces and a lot of amenities cared for. I think it’s great that the organizations get exposure and some money from it and I think that paying a premium for these reserved spots with the extra $$ going to charity is a great system.

            What I am uncomfortable with is that donors are funding the entire quid pro quo. I’d rather give money to charity and hold a bag of gummy bears for my friends running a race. I feel that it’s more direct and has more impact to both athlete and charity.

            This may also have something to do with the lack of tack that a lot of participants have when requesting donations.

      • Kendra May 3, 2012, 5:46 pm

        The mission of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is : To cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

        I’m currently a staff member for my local chapter of TNT (as well as a participant in events) and whenever I’ve spoken to potential participants I’ve been very clear that 75% of the fundraising minimum that participants are asked to raise (and 100% of all money a participant raises above that minimum) goes directly towards the MISSION of LLS, not toward research alone. The mission of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is: To cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

        While research is obviously the major component towards finding a treatment that not only cures blood cancer, but does so without the major side-effects that current treatments have, giving money solely to research isn’t as helpful as one might think. Money raised through TNT and Light The Night helps provide financial assistance to cover costs that insurance doesn’t and provides support groups for patients and their families. Taking care of the patients we have is just as important as working to find a cure.

        Training with TNT is a great experience because while physically training for the event is the focus of the Saturday sessions, each session contains a Mission Moment where a local individual will tell you their story and remind you why you’re getting out of bed at some obscene hour to run/bike/swim. You’re doing it to cure cancer.

        I absolutely love Team In Training and highly recommend the program to beginning and experienced athletes alike. It is wonderful to train every week with people who want the same things you do, and to feel the support of all those people shouting “GO TEAM!” at you as you cross the finish line of your event.

  • Lindsey May 3, 2012, 9:14 am

    I usually run the same local charity race every summer, it is for a local women’s shelter. I love supporting their organization, cause, and it is a fun race, plus you get free pancakes after, which never hurts 😉

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat May 3, 2012, 9:16 am

    Thanks for the info on these organizations Caitlin! I’ve raised money for breast cancer in past races, but haven’t really raced much recently. When I do, I like it to be for local causes where I can see that the money has been put to use in a way that directly benefits local people. 🙂

  • Dori May 3, 2012, 9:16 am

    I’ve raced for a cause twice. The first time was to gain entry into the NYC Half Marathon and I raised money for a breast cancer charity called Think Pink Rocks. The second time I raised money for Girls on the Run for the NYC Marathon. I already had guaranteed entry, so by working with them I didn’t have as much pressure to raise the requirement for runners gaining entry through the charity. Both experiences were good and I was blown away by how generous people were with their donations. That said, next time I race through an organization I would choose one that has more of a team aspect when it comes to training and fundraising, like Team For Kids or Team In Training. I definitely feel like I missed out on the training opportunities and community aspect that comes with raising money for charities like those.

  • Army Amy* May 3, 2012, 9:18 am

    I’m currently fundraising for Great Strides which benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. It’s very personal for me because my brother-in-law was born with CF. The 5k is actually on the one year anniversary of his double lung transplant! He’s doing great now, but not every CF patient is so lucky, and his struggles are still fresh in my mind. It is so easy to take for granted the ability to breathe easily. I think of the donations as a healthy lung tax. If you have good lungs, give a little $ to those who don’t!*

  • Faith @ For the Health of It May 3, 2012, 9:30 am

    My first race was an autism awareness race, and even though it wasn’t necessarily a fundraising one it was nice to know that my entry fee went to research.

  • Katie @ Peace Love & Oats May 3, 2012, 9:30 am

    Thank you for doing this post! I spoke with someone at a recent race about running the Chicago Marathon for Girls on the Run. My biggest concern is raising the money! Do you have any advise on how you raised money? I’m not a fan of asking people for money, so some creative ideas would be much appreciated!

  • Hillary May 3, 2012, 9:31 am

    I’ve done a few walks for the Komen Foundation, and I trained for my first half marathon via Team in Training. I LOVED the TNT experience: I have a personal connection to the cause (my dad and grandmother are both lymphoma survivors), so raising money and running in their honor felt natural and ultra rewarding. I also loved the support from my coaches before, during, and after the race. I can’t speak highly enough of them!

  • Jennifer Cook May 3, 2012, 9:35 am

    I am currently training for my second event through TNT- a half-Ironman! TNT also helped me cross the finish line at my first triathlon. I love the support, coaching and training I get through them. This year, I met a young man named Andrew, who at 15, is terminally ill with Ewing Sarcoma. He has been my motivation to keep going. Read more about him here:


  • Lauren May 3, 2012, 9:38 am


    I’m currently training for the Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon with Team Challenge. Team Challenge raises money for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.

    My sister was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when she was 18, and she’s having surgery this week to remove an inflamed part of her small intestine, so it’s a cause that is VERY near and dear to me.


    • Lauren @ Forward is a Pace May 3, 2012, 11:24 am

      GO TEAM CHALLENGE! WOO HOO! As someone who lives with ulcerative colitis, and the TC Manager in Illinois, THANK YOU.

      • Jessica May 4, 2012, 11:27 pm

        Yeah Team Challenge!! I’m a coach for the Connecticut team. See you in Napa!

  • Lindsay May 3, 2012, 9:52 am

    Love this post, Caitlin! I worked for TNT/LLS for nearly 4 years. Our chapter raised 4 million each year through Team In Training, ALONE – so it really is a fundraising machine, and has truly advanced cancer research. I have also done two races myself – both triathlons and raised over $4,000 as an individual. Fundraising is a challenge – but just remember, you are not asking for money for yourself, you are asking for a good cause and the worst someone can do is say “no”. So, ask away!

  • Nicole May 3, 2012, 10:16 am

    My husband did the Chicago Marathon last year through the Ronald McDonald House and it was a great experience. The organization is wonderful, they hosted a pasta dinner the night before the race and had a private bag check for the racers as well as a whole tent set up for the racers with breakfast and lunch, first aid staff, massage therapists and port-a-potties. They had team runs and a team trainer too but we were a bit too far away for him to take advantage of those benefits but I believe he emailed with the coach a few times.

    The charity is near and dear to our hearts and it was great to get to be a part of the team. I suspect it is largely a numbers game but I *believe* that McDonald’s kicked in money to cover certain parts of the “perks” of running for them, I think they paid for the race day tent with food etc. and the prize for the top fundraiser.

    It was a challenge to raise all of the money and we did end up kicking in a bit more than we had planned on but honestly it was so helpful for my husband to have that built-in camaraderie that it was totally worth it.

  • Cassie @ Back to Her Roots May 3, 2012, 10:22 am

    I’m doing the Avon Breast Cancer Walk (39.3 miles) in Chicago next month. My two sisters and I have raised almost $6000 for the cause and it feels AWESOME. I can’t wait to do the walk! My Mom is survivor and my best friend from high school was diagnosed at age 23, so breast cancer is a cause near and dear to my heart.

    Side note: having a blog makes the fundraising part a lot easier and fun. Honestly, I hit my fundraising goal within a few weeks thanks to the amazing companies I partner with and my fantastic and generous readers.

  • Kris May 3, 2012, 10:28 am

    I have an issue with the unrelenting mailings I get from TNT, Komen, etc. Even after calling too many times to count and asking to be removed from mailing lists, I still receive SO much junk mail from these organizations regarding event participation. For this reason, I would not be a charity participant in this way. All I can think of is the expense associated with these unwanted mailings, and how the money could be spent in another way.

  • Jess May 3, 2012, 10:29 am

    I did back to back season with Team in Training. The second one I was a Mentor for the new runners on the team. I loved the TNT experience! I have a persional connection to Leukemia and Lymphoma so it is near and dear to my heart. In those two seasons, I raised $10,000 for the cause. My favorite part about the experience other than raising money for a good cause was meeting new people and having running partners and coaches to help me reach my goal of running a marathon.

  • Emily May 3, 2012, 10:31 am

    I have run for The ManKind Initiative (for male victims of domestic abuse) and WaterAid. Both are charities here in the UK (WaterAid works in developing countries).

    I don’t know about America, but in the UK it is common practice for part of your race entry to go to a charity of your choice. Its usually a third to one half of the fee. The organisers also advertise for various charities and their running teams. So running over here has become quite inherently about fundraising.

    Two interesting things you may not be aware of in the UK:

    1) Cancer Research ‘Race for Life’ is now HUGE. Almost every woman I know has run at least one 5k for this. They make it inclusive too, so people can walk it. raceforlife.cancerresearchuk.org/

    2) A woman died less than a mile from the end of the London marathon this year. Her fundraising page became something of a tribute, and has now raised nearly a million pounds for the Samaritans. http://www.justgiving.com/Claire-Squires2

  • Beth May 3, 2012, 10:55 am

    Last year I did a race that had an optional fundraising component–if you chose you could raise money for the Greenbaum Cancer Center at the University of Maryland.

    This year I am running the Marine Corps Marathon with the Diabetes Action Network. I waited too long to chose a marathon, so charity was my only way into MCM. I chose Diabetes Action Network because I was still paying my way into the race and travel expenses, and all of the money I raised was going to the organization, NOT to my overhead. It’s also a cause I care about. I’ve always felt uneasy with people fundraising for destination races where the organization pays for travel, because to me it feels like I would be asking others to pay for my race vacation.

  • Kattrina May 3, 2012, 10:56 am

    I did Team In Training last year and ran for my Uncle who had been diagnosed with leukemia. I LOVED TNT and am currently a mentor and will most likely do another event with them in the future. I raised $9,500 and would love to raise more next time. Although there are doubts as to how much money goes to TNT when you raise for a marathon, it meant so much to him and his family to have me run in his honor and there is no price tag for that. Unfortunately, he passed away in the middle of training and didn’t see me cross the finish line, but I’ll never forget the support and friendship that TNT showed me and his family. I have trained and run marathons on my own, but I truly loved the experience of TNT.

  • Ari @ Ari's Menu May 3, 2012, 11:01 am

    I just recently signed up to fundraise and run the NYC marathon with Chances for Children. I know there are a lot of pros and cons, but for me, being able to put money towards kids that have had their physical education programs cut, and many can’t even afford to buy choose, all while getting to run my dream dream race with a team makes it totally worth it! I am aware that in any organization that pays for your expenses, that part of the fundraising money goes to that as well, but I feel like it’s still a smart way to get people to commit, and go out there and bring in money to the organization. Even if only $1,000 of $5,000 raised goes in directly, it’s still $1,000 that the organization didn’t have before, and by giving runners incentive, more of them are likely to sign up. The thing I’m finding most challenging is that my letters and announcements of what I’m doing haven’t been nearly as well received as I would have hoped, but it just means I just have to get creative and make it work!

    • Claire June 1, 2012, 9:35 pm

      Maybe people don’t want to pay for your personal expenses, why would they? I can’t believe you wouldn’t donate that component yourself so that then the donations you get from others are truly going to your charity. This model is so dodgy.

  • Leslie May 3, 2012, 11:09 am

    Check the first word of your post. I think you meant to type I’ve instead of I’ll. Great post! Not trying to be critical. I know that you will want to correct it. Have a lovely day.

    • Caitlin May 3, 2012, 8:28 pm

      Thanks 🙂

  • Lauren @ Forward is a Pace May 3, 2012, 11:23 am

    Team Challenge is a great one too! (Disclosure: I work for them.) It’s the charity running team of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America and works much like Team in Training. I was a pariticipant with them last season and ended up working here when the job opened up. 🙂 Best job ever.

    On fundraising: that’s what the staff & coaches of organizations with high minimums are for! We have so many tools and plans to help people, and truly, if they follow the plan, most are VERY successful.

    I also wanted to point out that teams like TNT & our program who charge the participant if they haven’t met the goal have a “recommitment” period. So you can sign up, start training and fundraising, and see how it’s going before signing to commit to the goal. I know that was a huge selling point for me when I joined!

  • Jessica May 3, 2012, 11:31 am

    I was going to say Team Challenge too! I fundraised (is that the right grammar for that??) for them two years ago. I trained for a half marathon and got to go to Boston. It’s so much more fun training for a race when there’s a team of people around you and when you get to travel somewhere to race. It seems to make the race more special, although I’ve never really trained for any other races (I did run a 10k as part of my training in my hometown, but that’s it). Plus, you get a training plan all laid out for you, no need to create your own, so if you’re new to running it’s very easy, and there’s even training plans for walkers too. I had a great experience and would recommend it to anyone!

  • Casys May 3, 2012, 11:47 am

    i’m a HUGE charity walker!

    Relay for Life

    Dog Walk!

    i love walking for charity! i love being around other people who love it too. Relay for life is my favorite weekend of the year!!

  • Alex @ Raw Recovery May 3, 2012, 11:49 am

    I did a NEDA walk this past April that my school hosted and it was a good cause and one that is really close to my heart since I’m recovering, but it was difficult to see a lot of people from treatment centers I’ve been to. Even on the walk they were talking about how they still wanted their eating disorder and how to “work the system” of treatment centers. I brought my dog on the walk so at least I could focus on her, and even though there was some unhealthy discussion, I was proud of the progress I’ve made because I’m almost 6 months symptom free. I really want to do more walks and hopefully enter a run to benefit other mental health issues.

  • Melissa Q May 3, 2012, 12:02 pm

    I did TNT last year for the San Diego Rock n Roll Half. Greatest confidence boosting experience of my life.

    If you’re in CA, Bay Area, there’s a race coming up May 19 to support a local girl struggling (and triumphing!) with some major disabilities. Check out Sweatin’ for Sammy – $30-40 entry and family friendly


  • Annette@FitnessPerks May 3, 2012, 12:08 pm

    I’ve never raced for a cause–but that is a fantastic idea! Thanks for the awesome reviews of the big ones 🙂

  • Jane May 3, 2012, 12:46 pm

    I just signed up to run the Nike Women’s Half Marathon with Team in Training and I couldn’t be more excited! This is my first charity run and will be my first half marathon, so I wanted to make sure it was for a good cause!

    Any support would be so appreciated!! http://pages.teamintraining.org/sf/nikesf12/janepfrank

  • Sara May 3, 2012, 12:54 pm

    I did Relay for Life last year as a team member, and this year I am a team captain for the first time. It is trying, mostly because of my teammates. The American Cancer Society and the other team captains have been very helpful. They give you many tools to help fundraising. I also like that Relay for Life is a good way to get people who say ” But I’m not a runner,” involved in events such as these. This year Relay is far more personal to me because my father was diagnosed with stage four esophageal cancer. You don’t know how awful cancer really is until it touches you personally.

    My Relay event is next Friday and we are almost halfway to our goal. Doing this gives me a feeling that I have control over something I don’t really have any control over.

    I think with these fundraising events you need to remember that every little bit helps.

    Here is my link if anyone is interested in donating.


  • Maura May 3, 2012, 12:57 pm

    GO TEAM! 🙂

  • Devon May 3, 2012, 1:03 pm

    Yeah charity racing! I am a proud member of DetermiNation Philly and am taking on the Broad Street Run this weekend. I credit running for a cause for getting me to commit to 10 miles (3 times what I’ve ever done before) and giving me the opportunity to raise awareness in my uncle’s honor. One thing I did decide to do- I paid my own race fees and donated a substantial sum on my own. I wanted my sponsors to know that their donations would be utilized by the ACS, and they weren’t paying my way instead. I’ve had friends do this with TNT as well!

    Best of luck to everyone else racing for a cause!

  • Susan May 3, 2012, 1:57 pm

    People really need to do their homework before selecting a fundraising effort. As was pointed out earlier, a 20 dollar donation to a cause may not be paid in full to that cause. Similarly, people often become victim to clever marketing – for example, “pinkwashing.” (If you haven’t heard this term before, please spend a 5 minutes reading http://www.thinkbeforeyoupink.org)

    When I see Team in Training, I cringe a little bit, because I know my donation not going directly to the cause, and that bothers me. Someone above said that she’d be okay “if only $1,000 of the $5,000 I raised” went to the charity because it’s $1,000 they didn’t have before. Think of it this way – if you were expecting a $5,000 paycheck, you’d be planning to DO stuff with it, like pay bills, go shopping, etc. But if you only recieved $1,000, you wouldn’t say “well, it’s $1,000 I didn’t have before!” You’d be pretty pissed off, right?

    When I raise money for a charity through sport, I first do my homework to make sure the charity aligns with what I’m hoping to accomplish for the cause. I will pay for my own entry fee, travel expenses, and training needs. I then let my friends and family know what I am running for and ask they make a donation directly to the charity. Do I get the snazzy t-shirt or the flashy fundraising page? No. But that’s okay. I’m not doing this for me, I’m doing this for other people…that’s what charity is supposed to be about, right?

  • Jess May 3, 2012, 2:08 pm

    I raced for the Rally Foundation, which gives grants to children’s cancer research http://rallyfoundation.org/index.php/rally/home/, in my first marathon, the same Disney World marathon you did, Caitlyn! 🙂 They don’t appear to do that race anymore, but we had a blast with them.

  • Laura May 3, 2012, 3:15 pm

    I don’t charity run, but I do charity walk! It’s a great way to force myself to work out and strength train, and I always meet a lot of great people through the event. Moreover, I like working out with a purpose, especially one with a lot of meaning to me.

    Each year I participate in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day, a 60-mile walk over three days. We have to raise at least $2300 to participate. Over the last four walks, I’ve raised over $13,000. My mom is a three-time breast cancer survivor, and my grandmother is a two-time survivor, so it’s a very personal cause. At the end of 2011, my mom entered her fifth year in remission, so I’m celebrating by doing TWO 3-Day walks this year (total of 120 miles, not including training).



  • christa May 3, 2012, 4:04 pm

    i owe TNT and LLS bigtime for the life i live today – my health, my friends, my purpose. while i didn’t have personal connections to the cause at the time, i certainly do now – close friends who are survivors, honored teammates who are still fighting their battles with blood cancer, etc. i am on my 7th TNT event and have done all in the past year (so overlapping seasons and multiple events/season). i have done a lot of reading on how much $$ goes to the cause and how much to cover fees – and two of the races were done locally, so not much cost at all – and try to donate 25% so that none of the contributions will be going to my airfare or hotel – but i can see why it’s marketed the way it is, so that people who don’t have a connection are intrigued by the race and trip. this season i am participating in Viva Bike Vegas and the NYC marathon, as well as mentoring locally for Nike Women’s Marathon. next season I will coach for the Houston Marathon. i LOVE the TNT experience (obviously) and believe in their mission. it’s changed my life, truly. here is my page if you want to read more about my personal journey with them.

    • Claire June 1, 2012, 9:31 pm

      Good on you for paying the 25%. I think it’s disgraceful that people would take donations to cover their race entry and travel, I can’t believe TNT gets away with this. Very misleading.

  • Grab An Apple May 3, 2012, 6:14 pm

    How fitting! I just signed up for ‘thon #2 last week and am strongly considering fundracing. I’m currently torn between 3 causes:
    -Michael J Fox Foundation- my grandfather has Parkinson’s.
    -Girls on the Run- I volunteer coach at a title 1 school and would love to provide scholarships for girls.
    -Austism Speaks/Office for Autism Research- I teach children on the spectrum and couldn’t love my job more!

    Too bad I can race for all three :/

  • Emily May 3, 2012, 7:06 pm

    I did the Disney Marathon this year and raised money for my BFF’s baby, who has Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome. I didn’t go through an organization and my friend and I paid our own way to the marathon. That way, all the money we raised went directly to the RSH Foundation. I’m not opposed to fundraising through a big organization like TNT, but I really enjoyed fundraising for something so personal and not well-known. We plan on making it a yearly thing, and I’m excited for the Goofy Challenge next year!

    • Caitlin May 3, 2012, 8:27 pm

      Good luck with Goofy!

  • Katie May 3, 2012, 7:53 pm

    My husband and I are both training for an Olympic distance triathlon for TNT/Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We are so grateful for our health, and happy to do what we can to help those with blood cancers.
    Check out our site:


  • Terri May 3, 2012, 9:08 pm

    I’m doing my first half marathon in November – the American Family Fitness Half Marathon in Richmond. I’ll be joining the LLS TNT for the first time, also. My brother in law is a leukemia survivor, but lymphoma took my grandmother in law.


  • JenRD May 3, 2012, 9:50 pm

    I am running my first 10K (longest distance) race this Sunday as part of the Long Island Marathon, and I will be running as a SoleMate for GOTR! There is still time if you want to support me!


  • Chelsea May 3, 2012, 10:30 pm

    I’m not doing it right now, but I usually fundraise for the avon walk for breast cancer 🙂 You walk 26.2 miles on day one and 13.1 miles on day two. You think walking that many miles would be simple but it’s anything but! Plus I have to raise $1,800/person per walk (I’ve done four walks with my mom!).

  • luv what you do May 3, 2012, 11:05 pm

    I have raced money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in the past including my marathon last October. I love the organization!


    They were so supportive during the marathon and I felt like I was running with friends even though we all just met that morning!

  • Tammy May 9, 2012, 12:05 pm

    I am running the NYC marathon for DetermiNation this year. My daugther and I have committed to do it as a team.

    Running a such a big part of my life and I fugure I might as well run for something that is very close to my heart. I have lost so many wonderful people in my life including my father-in-law 4 yrs ago to cancer.

    DetermiNation has been wonderful to work with but fund raising has been hard. Everyone gives to the ACS so they dont want to give again.

    If anyone would like to help can go to the DetermiNation site and donate to Tammy Caldwell

    Thanks so much

  • Laura C. June 1, 2012, 4:56 pm

    Does anyone know of any organizations that benefit alzheimer’s research/patients? My grandpa is currently suffering from it and I would love to participate in something that could benefit the cause.

    • Caitlin June 1, 2012, 7:26 pm

      So sorry about your grandpa 🙁


      • Laura June 2, 2012, 12:14 pm

        Thank you so much Caitlin. There’s actually multiple walks listed near my area so I’m talking with my dad about forming a family team!

  • Janice Freely December 27, 2013, 5:39 pm

    I have spent the last few months researching TNT. I can only say ‘TNT misrepresents where the money is actually going. Also, by not disclosing that the participants expenses are paid by the donations is fraud. They are just omitting the truth on purpose.”

    I believe our money is better spent helping the patients and their families directly. These outrageous salaries LLS executives are receiving is just plain wrong. Besides I read the website leukemia scandal. All these people confirming that the CEO molested his own daughter is too much for me. I respectfully suggest that anyone research where their money is really going.

    • Former LLS Supporter January 12, 2014, 9:38 am

      LLS is as powerful or even more powerful than Penn State. LLS donates large sums of money to political campaigns(fact).

      It took 20 years for Penn State to come out (and how many kids were molested during that time) Walter is even more powerful.

      If you were John Walter with hundreds of millions of dollars at your disposal would you allow a website calling you a child molester? Wouldn’t you take the site to Court and have it shut down if everything isn’t true?
      Unless you are terrified that in Court the truth would come out?

      Leukemia Scandal has been up nearly 3 years with over 50K visitors. If Walter is innocent he can go to Court and exonerate himself. Why hasn’t Walter done this?

      No journalist or prosecutor is going to go up against Walter. He controls too much money and a large army of political allies their career would be destroyed. In fact Walter fired most of the LLS employees who questioned Walter about the website. At the chapter level a substantial portion of the staff was terminated.

      How can anyone support this guy?

      • Kris Sergentakis June 8, 2014, 12:06 am

        Nobody from LLS is talking now. The pedophile CEO Walter was arrested. Then out on bail sells a million dollar plus house.

        OK LLS everything I am saying is a lie.

        see leukemiascandal.com

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