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Run for Charity if You Won’t Run for Yourself

runnerAs a therapist, I know that people do not make changes in their lives based on my suggestions. Rather, it is necessary that one sees the need for a change in their own life and is personally motivated to make that change. However, not all motivation is based on personal reasons; at times, people change their behavior to impact another or find the reason for change in how they will impact another. For some the personal motivation is the benefit that another will receive as a result of their behavior. This is why people give to charity. Yes, you may get a tax deduction, but for the majority of people, the real motivation is feeling good about helping another person in need.

Do you sign up for charity run/walk events for the exercise or because you believe in the cause it is funding? For many, the initial motivation comes from raising funds for and participating in a cause. Later, they may discover that they enjoy participating in such events simply for the experience. There are run/walk events that specify a certain cause and there are groups like TEAM in Training that participate in many events and raise money for a specific cause through each event.

In Indianapolis, we have Run4LifeIndy which connects runners and walkers and organizes group fund raising prior to a specific run/walk event, identifying a different cause for each campaign. Our campaign for the OneAmerica 500Festival Mini-Marathon this year is Hearts4Haiti, and all funds raised are directly benefiting victims of the recent earthquakes that devestated Haiti. Although runners and walkers are our target audience, there are ways for businesses and supporters to join the Run4LifeIndy team and support the cause.

Run4LifeIndy co-founder Suzanne Zaleski has said that considering the suffering of the people of Haiti has driven her to run longer and faster. The discomfort she may experience while running does not even compare to the pain and suffering the people of Haiti will experience for decades to come. With every step and every dollar raised, she is making a difference for the Haitian people. Focusing on who she can assist, helps keep Suzanne motivated to run and maintain her training schedule. At the same time, Suzanne is donating her time to plan events and obtain sponsors for a different cause that will be identified for Indy’s Monumental Marathon in November.

For caring hearts, like Suzanne, or those who have a hard time motivating themselves to improve their own lives, helping improve someone else’s life can be the motivation that gets you to start and maintain a running or walking schedule. Every person can make a difference. Although you may not be able to fly to Haiti to help dig out and rebuild, or adopt one of the orphaned children for quite some time; you can raise awareness and join a team like Run4LifeIndy.

If you have not yet found the motivation to hit the road or the treadmill for yourself or your health, perhaps you can find the motivation in a cause that is meaningful to you and possibly saving someone else’s life. In addition, such groups provide an opportunity for you to meet workout buddies that are like-minded and can support you in your training. If you don’t run to save your own life, maybe you will do it to save someone else’s life.

February 19th, 2010

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