It’s not easy. But it’s one of the most popular ways for mycharity: water members to raise funds for clean water — by running. We asked a handfull of 2010′s water runners to share what it’s like to train, race and why it’s all worth it:
ran: Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C., Oct. 31
why it mattered: The opportunity to run a marathon with my dad was the reason I wanted to run. Since I’d be drinking a lot of water during training and the big race, I wanted to raise money for someone else to have clean water. I feel proud for pushing myself mentally and physically, for raising $954 for clean water, and I feel motivated for doing another race, maybe something further.
People were very supportive of it, but not necessarily with their money. It did spread the word, so the campaign raised awareness. I emailed people, Facebooked, Tweeted; promoted in any way I could.
The best part is having that 26.2 mile memory with my dad. He was the biggest encouragement throughout the entire race, mile after mile he still had the energy to run and to keep my spirit up. I wanted to quit so many times, but he would have never let me.
I love Papa Shoe.
ran: NYC Marathon, Nov. 7
why it mattered: [Eileen:] A marathon brings out best in people, striving to go beyond what’s comfortable for a cause and a goal. In training, we rarely used our iPods and just delighted in each others’ conversation and amazed ourselves at our progress of endurance.
[Meg:] The marathon was a first for all of us. The race day is hard to sum up — because I was sick and the girls waited for me — I reached a whole new understanding of friendship! The fundraising was also a high. charity : water seemed to be the perfect fit and I was floored by the support from friends and family. It was on my mind with every clean cup of water we drank in the race… and after.
ran: four day, 100-mile run to a special event outside Coachella music festival, April 13
trained: around 150 miles — and neither of us had ever run before this in any capacity.
why it mattered: It matters because the water situation is so cheap to fix. We just need everyone to pitch in a tiny, tiny bit. And Aristocat and I [DJ Sleeper] both have a new respect for runners — we both run regularly now.
I also learned that in times of money and HUGE deals, no one’s going to help you more than your family. We raised $13,000+ without any media attention or huge sponsor. We wouldn’t have hit half that if it wasn’t for my family helping out. My dad hit up ALL his old buddies from middle school, high school, college; people he hadn’t talked to in years. And of course, from all our friends who donated, it just meant so much to see. There’s this weird type of bond that happens when someone donates money to your cause. It’s just a special feeling.
[These guys had a ton of fun with their run and their event -- see their photos on Facebook here >]
ran: half-Ironman Challenge in Singapore, March 21
raised: $13,573 + $14,176 (matched giving by their workplace) = $27,749
why it mattered: The race — it was an impetus to do something that’s beyond your comfort zone to help, to raise something. And the response was overwhelming. We were really surprised. You’d hope things would go well but it’s a wonderful feeling.
I trained between 12-14 hours a week, got up before 5 a.m. to go cycling. I did a lot of running in the heat (34-35 degree Celsius) to get used to it. And I’d often go to the gym or swim at lunchtime. It’s a fairly full-on training effort. You need a lot of support from your family — and patience from your wife.
Also, our company matches contributions for anything we give. And we asked them to put charity: water on their list. We raised $14,000 and they matched that — our challenge was to really use their matching amount.
ran: NYC Half-Marathon, March 21, with two friends
trained: 210 miles
why it mattered: charity: water became my motivation to continue training and to complete the race; the more money my family and friends donated, the more people in Africa were given clean water. Helping people in need truly allowed me to continue to push myself and make it through the finish line.
In training — at least two days a week after work, we’d bundle up and meet in Central Park for a 3-4 mile run. Our friends and family thought we were crazy but to me, braving the cold and not giving up was more satisfying than anything I had ever done before!
Even though I had to battle through the flu, I finished the half marathon and raised $1,239, which alone, gave 61 people clean water. I’ve already been accepted to run in the NYC Half-Marathon in 2011 and hope to raise even more!
ran: Cracovia Marathon in Kraków, Poland, April 25
trained: about 400 miles
why it mattered: The whole experience was pretty incredible. I set my goal at $500, and things started off a bit slow. I had a party to raise money where I shaved my head for Polish currency that I donated the equivalent of in dollars… the shaved head only made my running in the snow colder, but fortunately the shaved head is pretty popular among Polish men.
One time a friend of mine asked me “what if you get sick or injured?” and my only response was that that could not happen because so many people had given money to this cause and the promise that I complete the marathon. That was when my campaign started to take off.
I stopped drinking beer for two months up to the day of the race… right before that, a friend offered me $100 to take a picture of myself drinking a beer and send it in an email to my fraternity, apologizing for my sobriety. This resulted in $100 donated!
Some people gave $5 and others gave $100. It really didn’t matter how much to me, each donation was very meaningful. I was all the way in Poland and my friends and family from home were saying they believed in me and my ability to run my first marathon. The race day came and it was phenomenal. I wrote about it in my blog here.
I was pretty amazed by my time, and I credit this to what I was running for. When I started to get tired any time during my training or the race, all I had to do was remember all the people who were supporting me and the great cause I was raised money for. This was one of the most special and unforgettable experiences of my life. I don’t think it would have been the same without my charity: water campaign. This was because the race wasn’t just about
me and my ability to run a marathon; it was about how a billion people live out their lives without clean water, and running a marathon was my way to do my small part to fix that.
ran: NYC Marathon, Nov. 7 — came in 3rd place for her age division
trained: up to 450 miles
why it mattered: I ran the whole race side by side with my high school lacrosse coach, who is a huge role model for me. It really meant a lot to be running it with someone I look up to so much! Participating in such a huge event in itself makes you feel like a part of this huge community of runners — most of whom were complete strangers before you went on to tackle the 26.2 miles together. I was really astonished by the generosity of my family and friends… knowing that I was running not only for myself, but for the friends and family who came together to support me and the cause, and also for those who will one day have access to clean water gave me the extra push to get through the long runs on days when I was feeling a little bit off, and made race day that much more special.