Timothy Lam is a passionate soul in charity who loves to run. Today, he shares a little bit about the concept of running for charity, and why everyone can take part in doing good.
Charity runs are a great way to get fit and raise money for a cause that is close to your heart. I participated in my first charity run about two years ago and had such a fantastic experience that I’ve entered many more since then.
People take part in charity runs for a variety of reasons. Some do it to raise money, others to challenge themselves and while for many it’s an opportunity for them to get fit. I personally do it for all three reasons. But no matter what your motivation may be, everyone agrees that charity runs are extremely fun!
But the prospect of running for long distances can be quite daunting for newcomers. So here are five reasons why I think you should enter a charity run:
1. You are running for a good cause
There’s no denying that running is tough. But what makes all the pain worthwhile is that you are running to raise money for people who are in desperately need of your support.
It may sound like a cliché, but I honestly believe that every dollar counts. Some people raise $10, some raise $10,000. But no matter how much you fundraise, you are still making a difference. To quote Mother Teresa, ‘I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.’
So if you ever find yourself struggling with your training or if you feel like quitting, remember that you are not just running for yourself – you are also running to give hope to those who are less fortunate than us.
Last year, I raced in an event called Run Melbourne and a young woman was running to raise money for an organisation dedicated to cancer research. She was running in memory of her father who had passed away from cancer earlier that morning. Even though she could never bring her father back, her wish was that, through the donations she raised, she could save another person’s life.
2. Everyone can participate
Fauja Singh, also known as the Turbaned Tornado, last month raced in Melbourne’s 15km Run for Kids event. What is remarkable about the Turbaned Tornado is that he is 101 years old. He participated in his first marathon at the ripe old age of 89 and has since completed nine 42 km marathons in cities around the world such as London, New York, Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of China and Toronto.
So age is no barrier!
At most events there are different distances to cater for different people. Within each race, there are several ‘waves’ so that the elite runners will start off first. That way, the more casual joggers and walkers wouldn’t have to worry about getting in the way of the more experienced runners.
If it’s your first time racing in a charity run and you don’t exercise regularly, I recommend entering into one of the shorter distance events (usually the shortest is 5km). You might find at your first go that you have to walk most of the race. That’s totally fine! You won’t be the only one; many people find that they get tired really early on in the run but the most satisfying part is when you cross the finish line. It really is one of the best feelings ever.
3. It’s a good way to hang out with friends
Many people sign up with a group of friends or colleagues from work. They set up a fundraising group, give it a funky name and then people can donate to their group rather than to an individual. Running with friends also means that you have someone to keep you company throughout the race!
If some of your friends are terrified of running, you might be able to persuade them to act as your cheerleaders to give you a much-needed boost as you near the finish line.
4. It’s good for your health.
Studies have shown that exercise is great for your health. It helps prevent heart disease, diabetes and obesity and boosts your immune system. It also improves your mental health and reduces stress. In short, running is good for you!
5. It’s a memorable experience
The event organisers like to pick the most scenic routes to make the experience as memorable as possible for participants. The 14km City2Sea run that I entered last year started off in Melbourne’s central business district, went around the iconic Albert Park Lake and finished at the picturesque St Kilda beach. Another event, Run for Kids, allows runners to cross the Bolte Bridge which for the other 364 days of the year is open only for motor vehicles. After the race, you receive a medallion to celebrate your achievement, a bag full of freebies from the race sponsors and you can chill around and be entertained by the bands on show.
For most people, crossing the finish line is an amazing achievement. It’s never easy running for a prolonged period of time. So no matter what time you finish in the race, even if you are the last one to cross the line, everyone that participates is a winner.
Timothy Lam is currently completing a Master of Development Studies at the University of Melbourne. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communication) in 2012 and currently a Social Media Intern at the University of Melbourne. Tim has also interned at World Vision Australia where he was part of the social media team for the 2012 40 Hour Famine. You can follow him @timlam92.