Running for Charity

Contributed by Erin Mink Garvey, a 2018 Ambassador for The Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon.

It is very exciting to say that we are officially only a few weeks away from the 41st annual Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon, half marathon, ultramarathon, and 5k! By now, we’ve all probably begun visualizing what we’ll feel like as we toe the line to embark on the adventure for which we have been preparing for many weeks, if not months, by now. No doubt race day will be amazing.

If you’re looking to bring even deeper meaning to race day at this year’s BSFM, consider signing up to be a charity runner for the race. It isn’t too late to do so, and as we all know, it’s never too late to make a difference.

In fact, this year’s charity runners have already raised over $60,000 on behalf of a variety of causes that include hunger and poverty eradication, North Bay fire relief, AIDS research, and much more.

Sometimes it can seem that running is a selfish, individual pursuit. Running on behalf of a charity can help to bring some elements of altruism to this amazing activity. In doing so, you may even have the opportunity to meet some individuals who may be directly benefiting from your fundraising endeavors.

When I ran my first marathon in the 2007, the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon, I ran with Team in Training, the fundraising arm of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I chose to run with that group to honor my mother, as well as a dear friend’s mother, both whom were or had undergone cancer treatments.

Honestly, I found the experience to be life-changing.

Not only did I gain a greater understanding and perspective of some of the horrific and challenging trials and tribulations cancer patients must endure during the course of their treatment, but I also gained a broader and more grateful outlook on life, to put it bluntly. Other TNT runners and I had many opportunities to meet “patient honorees” – courageous individuals who benefitted from the organization for which we were fundraising – and suddenly, my runs were no longer just about me and my goals. People were depending on me and were invested in my success.

Do some research and find a cause that speaks to you. You don’t necessarily have to have a personal connection to the issue, but you may find that it makes it more meaningful to you. Asking other people for money can be scary and intimidating initially, but I promise: it gets easier! You may find that it’s actually more fun that you imagined, too. That was the case with me.

Since my initial marathon and fundraising with TNT, I’ve gone on to run many more marathons and to fundraise many more times with TNT. I am forever grateful that I decided to take a chance and do something completely outside my comfort zone – both in training for a marathon and in fundraising for an organization – because both pursuits changed my life and introduced me to some seriously inspiring, humble, and badass people doing great things in this world.

For this year’s Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon races, give yourself a chance to shine. Run the very best you can on the day, yes, but consider seeing how much more meaningful you can make your experience by fundraising. You won’t regret it.

What will you run for? Learn more about The Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon’s Official Charity Program!

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