There are many people – more selfless than I am – who always run major events as fundraisers for worthy charities.  While I have always admired the idea of running for charity, I was honestly afraid of it.  Training for a marathon is quite time consuming without adding the additional time commitment of asking others to donate money to a cause. This year, however, I knew that I needed to run the NYC Marathon.  I’ve certainly discussed the whys – remembering my mom, fighting back after the Boston Marathon bombing – but I want to spend some time discussing the how.

As running has become increasingly popular, it has become increasingly difficult to secure a spot in big races.  Many well-known marathons sell out in hours.  Disney announced a new Glass Slipper Challenge – a 10k on Saturday and 1/2 marathon on Sunday – and the 2-race event sold out the same day that registration opened.  And registration opened a full 8 months before the actual race! As races sell out quickly and often many months before the actual event, it can be frustrating to sign up for the races you want.  I would have loved to run the Glass Slipper Challenge but with the NYC Marathon in November, the Disney Marathon in January, and a Thanksgiving trip to Hawaii, I couldn’t commit to the race by the time registration reached capacity. (It’s just as well since we recently bought a Disney timeshare and the agreement was that we’d stay home for February break to save money.)

When I decided that running NYC in 2013 was super important, I turned to the one option that I knew would guarantee me a spot – agree to raise money for a charity.  I spent a lot of time looking over the various options and finally decided that Team for Kids was my choice.  As one of THE partner charity for New York Road Runners (the organization responsible for the NYC Marathon), there are many perks to being part of their team.  But more importantly this is a charity that spoke to me.

Team for Kids establishes running programs in Inner Cities (and Africa).  These program take place in areas where physical education is minimal or non-existant.  Childhood obesity is a growing epidemic in this country and disproportionately affects children from poorer socioeconomics backgrounds.  Let’s me honest here.  My children go to an elementary school where childhood obesity is a non-entity.  You would be hard-pressed to find an overweight child at their school.  But spend a single day in my Bronx office seeing patients and you are inundated by childhood obesity.  We are actually involved in research to look at the impact of childhood obesity on our practice.

This week I had the opportunity to go to the Team for Kids headquarters in NYC and listen to some talks about Marathon Basics.  We learned about nutrition, equipment, and scheduling.  Having run 2 previous marathons, most of this was old hat.  But I met several of the running coaches who were fantastic.  And I was amazed by the support they give to the runners.  Although I will miss many of the group runs, I felt that I could get help if I need it.  Of course, doing e-coaching with Jeff Galloway gives me a lot of extra help anyway!

As I happily clicked on the links to sign up with Team for Kids, I felt very optimistic about fund-raising.  I figured people would support a great charity in memory of my mother and to help me get to the starting line of the NYC Marathon.  Fundraising has gone reasonably well and I’ve been blown away by the generosity of friends – both actual and virtual.  I’ve also been surprised by how much work it can be.  Somehow posting a link on Facebook isn’t nearly good enough and I’m buckling down to send individual emails to possible contributors. (In case anyone feels inspired, here’s the link to my fundraising page!)

Ultimately, I’m super-excited to run the NYC Marathon and I’m also excited to learn about how to fundraise.  I do believe in the cause and hope I can convince others to believe, too.  I’m already realizing that I would gladly run for charity again.  It certainly puts some more meaning into those long training miles…