Wednesday, January 11, 2012
I originally wrote this as a guest blogger in 2011 for Firstgiving.com.
In thinking about what to tell the runner's I am coaching in the build up to this year's Boston Marathon, I wanted to talk a bit about how I approach both raising money and training for endurance events. My belief is that by thinking about your running and fundraising philosophy in an explicit way, that you will be able to channel this perspective throughout your marathon preparation.
Some people run because it is fun, healthy or because running provides a great means for social connection. I don't fall into any of these camps. I run marathons, particularly the Boston Marathon, because they are hard and they ask for a great deal from us both physically and mentally. For me, a "no fear" mantra while conquering the event is what leads to joy. My 5 year-old summed up what seems to be a family philosophy a few weeks ago after biking to school in a downpour by saying "we're hardcore!" As you go through your marathon preparations, note what helps keep you motivated and moving forward in your training log along with your miles and the weather conditions. Turn these notes into material for a fundraising letter, blog post or a tagline to guide your fundraising. Last year, several people told me that they only run when chased so my tagline for the 2010 Boston Marathon became "I'm running so you don't have to!"
My "no fear" philosophy seems to mesh well with my perspective on fundraising. Because of taboos around discussions of money, fundraising for many can feel more challenging than the marathon training itself. Remember that by talking about your training and by asking those around you to give, you are helping them to join you in experiencing the marathon. Although some disagree with me, I believe strongly that everyone in our lives is able to contribute some small amount, regardless of income. Last year, a homeless man heard about the reason I was running and offered to donate $5. When I declined his donation, he reminded me that I wouldn't decline the donation if he wasn't homeless and told me he can count many who are even worse off than he was. His voice serves as a reminder that as runners and as fundraisers, we should be open to endless possibilities rather than falling prey to ideas about who should become involved in our fundraising and training efforts - only then, in my mind, are we truly channeling the no fear approach.
So, how do we merge our running and fundraising philosophies? For me, I talk and blog constantly about the run or workout that I conquered that morning. Frozen gel, 27 inches of snow, or anything else that happened that morning is fair game for discussion. I am equally transparent about how my fundraising is going. When the homeless man offered to make a donation, I mentioned it to those around me and it forced them to ask why they hadn't parted with a donation when someone living on the street had. Have no fear about asking for donations, talking about the challenges in training and in fundraising and openly celebrate the small victories that help get you to the marathon start line.
So, you are running this year so I don't have to - what's keeping you moving?