I didn’t give it much thought when I first signed up. This year, my department at work committed to engaging in events outside of work by participating in a race every month. The first was the Hot Chocolate 5k/15k. I like to run so I signed up for the 5K along with a handful of other teammates. As we waited at the starting line on that cold morning that threatened mist and I longed for my warm bed, the announcer introduced a recipient of Make-a-Wish Foundation and handed her the mic. This precious woman explained that she is an adult survivor of Cystic Fibrosis and described her experience of her wish come true from Make-A-Wish Foundation, meeting Josh Groban. I hooted as I love the guy, too. She described part of her hospital experiences that we can’t even fathom, then the pure joy of meeting Mr. Groban. And it hit me, that some of the proceeds we paid to run this race went to this amazing organization. With these funds, others suffering devastating illnesses may experience moments of joy when their wishes are granted – a glimmer of light amid their illnesses. I liked being even a teeny tiny part of this.

With Christmas just in the rear-view mirror, when many give a little more financially to charitable causes throughout the season, that door seems to slam shut on January 1st. The new focus turns to self – eating better, working out more, improving self. But can’t we keep both doors open? Can’t we improve our own health and help others?

Running these races is a great way to do both! But for those who don’t like to run, I wondered what other ways could people stay in shape and at the same time benefit others? I found that Burn Boot Camp hosts an event each year as an all-day fundraiser that benefits Muscular Dystrophy. CrossFit hosts a day called Saved by the Barbell in which proceeds from the workout support the development and growth of CrossFit programs for kids in schools, recreation centers, and communities. Life Time Fitness hosts a Ride for a Reason, a 4-hour indoor-cycling session to benefit St. Jude’s Children. Many charities now use bike races to raise funds and awareness, while also helping riders with training. These are just a few of the many options available.

With so many events, it should be easy to find the right one for you, whether you want to fight hunger, raise money for a cure, honor a loved one, or just get in shape and make a difference. For those who can’t exercise, if you shop on Amazon, switch to Amazonsmile.com and pick an organization you’d like to support. A percentage of all your purchases goes to your chosen association.

While I ran this race that day, my husband participated in a community four-hour F3 workout in honor of a fellow F3 participant who died recently. His family was there, and this was their way of showing support for this family. No money was raised but honor for this man was shown to his family. Wow!

If you’re tight on funds, volunteer. All these races require volunteers from working the water stations, to handing out medals at the finish line. Races can’t exist without volunteers.

I’ll be honest here. I wasn’t totally committed to running a race with my work department every month.  After all, races are expensive, time-consuming on Saturday mornings, and there’s no guarantee of good weather. But thanks to the woman who shared her story of Cystic Fibrosis and Make-A-Wish Foundation granting her wish, with thousands of runners on that cold, misty morning, I am on board now. I truly feel honored to work with such an amazing and generous group of people committed to connecting outside of work to benefit others. I look forward to running with my teammates each month and being fit and philanthropic! How about you?

Come join us on our next run/walk on Feb 2nd, 2019 in Charlotte, NC for the Cupid’s Cup 5K benefiting cardiovascular health and rehab. It’s good for you and good for others. Give it some thought!

What other ways have you found to stay fit for a cause? Share in the comments below.





photo from Brenda Brewer