Are “fad” races stealing from charity races?

Hello friends!!  How are ya doing?  I’ll get to my thoughts “fad” races stealing from charity races in a bit, but first let’s talk about my first long run in forever and a day.

After weeks of running 5K’s around the ‘hood I actually set out for a “long” run yesterday.  I’m still stubborn and lounged around drinking coffee, hanging out with you guys and waited until it was hot out.  Well, hot for running that is.

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I wanted to get it in, so I pulled a suck it up cupcake and went.

Here’s an awkward mid-run alien pic to prove it.

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Yup, I totally had to water mark it so y’all don’t steal this hotness.

I can’t turn this off, yo.

Let’s all act surprised that I ran around Google land.

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I was a red faced, sweaty mess when I got home-just the way I like it.

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I did 6.50 miles and the only thing that got me through that last mile was the thought of an ice cold watermelon Nuun and the shade tree out back.

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No negative splits, but I’ll take consistency:

9:39, 9:19, 9:20, 9:16, 9:20, 9:18, 4:42

This is the runner’s version of multi-tasking.  Compressing, icing and hydrating.  Now if only someone would come do my fur, my life would be complete.

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The other day I came across a blog post that piqued my interest about how the latest fad races like mud runs, color runs, etc might be dissolving fundraising efforts of charitable races like the Susan G Komen, etc.

While I have ran several different charitable events, some of them are organized better than others, I understand their goal is and that is to fundraise.  The “fad” races are exactly the same with the goal of making a profit.  They do it in a way that uses marketing to draw more participants, and therefore turn a bigger profit.

My thoughts:

I think the charitable events like, but not limited to the Susan G Komen needs to change things up a bit to be more competitive.  I might sound callus, or single minded, but fundraising is a business.  Whatever cause the charity is raising money for, that is also very important too.  But without good business sense, you may as well just ask for donations and see how far you get.

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*Please understand that I am not picking on or singling out Susan G Komen, I am just using them as an example since it was my first and largest charitable race I’ve done.  I absolutely love and support this event!

I think most will agree we like to support a great charity, and it’s not always about what you get out of it, more so the cause you’re supporting.  But as an organizer, why not make it as fun as possible for participants?  I think this is one reason why some of the fad races have grown in popularity.  I mean how often do you get to run in the mud or get sprayed from head to toe with obnoxious colors and wear it around all day like a badge?  They offer a completely different experience than just a fun run/walk.

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Things that have worked in the past for the bigger charity’s, have lived their life.  They’ve had a great run, but I think it’s time for those awesome events that I love to support, to step it up and make some changes.  I’m not saying they should change the entire event, but make it a lot more fun.

Also timing is everything.  In the past I’ve seen a smaller chartable run compete for participants on the same day as larger events.  So if you’re newer to putting on a race, make sure to time it well.

***Edited to clarify, I’m referring to paying the race fee when signing up, not asking for donations.  Although that’s totally cool if it’s your thing.  🙂

When you take your family to Disneyland, it’s probably going to cost you a minimum of $200 per person per day (most likely more if you’re taking me) but at the end of the day, I’m happy as heck and don’t even think about the blown scrilla.  When I do a race, I want the “Disneyland” experience.

My point with this isn’t about the money, it’s all about the cause and experience.  When I participate in race that was well thought out, super fun and filled with endless entertainment at the end of the day I don’t think about how much it cost me Mike, I think about the great time I had supporting an awesome charity.

I will still donate time and money to the causes that I believe in, but I like to run in the mud too!

Please add your thoughts on this!

How do you choose races?  Is it the experience offered, charity they support, both or other?

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18 Comments on “Are “fad” races stealing from charity races?

  1. I spy a Run Swiftly Lulu tank – are they as awesome as they look and feel? I couldn’t justify the full-price cost when I saw it… Enlighten me.

    And I don’t race much so I don’t have a lot of thoughts on the fundraiser races vs. fun/for-profit races, except that I would do a fundraiser year after year if I had a good experience, but I probably would only do a Color Run/Mud Run once in my life. Of course, that’s just my opinion.

    • I love the Run Swiftly tank! It’s super soft, light and breathes really well. Yes, it’s pricey but worth at least owning one in my humble opinion. 🙂

      • I guess I will have to get one now – no, really, I had to get one, the blog world told me to do it. 😉

  2. Most of the “fad” races, Warrior Dash and Color Run, actually donate to local charities as well. Be sure to look it up when signing up for these types of races because most, but not all, do.

  3. I agree that fundraising has become big-business and like any business they need too change things up and keep it fresh if they want to stay on top of their game. Competition should be and is a good thing as it gives us the consumer a better product/experience. Companies and Charities can’t rely on the same-old tried-and-true or they will be surpassed in a hurry. Offer something unique that people want and these Charity races will have no trouble raising funds…if they don’t, they will continue to lose out to the “Fad” races.

    I pick my races based on the experience offered. I’m sorry, but I REALLY don’t like to do fund-raising…I hate asking people for money regardless of how good the cause is. That’s not to say I don’t support charity because we give plenty of money throughout the year…I just feel uncomfortable asking others for support.

    • I try and pick one where my money will go to charity but I’m in the same boat. There is only so many times you can ask the same people for money over and over again. I do the RUN10FEED10 in NYC where I need to raise money because it is a small amount.

    • I am so with you on the asking people for money. I was referring to the race fees when signing up. But yeah, totally get it.

    • Agreed! Running a charity is a business and you def have a great point- the same old tried and true methods need to evolve as the sport does.

  4. I did the Avon 3-day walk (not a race, but still) for two years in a row but after a while I felt bad going back to the same people again and again for donations. I do plenty of races on my own for the fun experience of it – Mermaid Series, Title 9, etc – and just donate to the charities I choose to support without having to do any additional fundraising.

    • I am so with you on asking people for money. P.S I love the Mermaid Series! Are you doing the one in Capitola?

      • I haven’t done the Capitola one before but I’ve done SF, East Bay (Fremont) and just did the 5k fun-run in Alameda last weekend. I’m considering doing SF again this year, since I saw the discount code come through via email earlier today. Hmm…we shall see!

        I’m a new reader, by the way – love the blog. As a former downtown Mountain View girl now living in Campbell, it’s nice to see a little of my old ‘hood! 🙂

  5. Actually many if most of your so called charity runs goto the pockets of those organizing the events, and susan G is the biggest thief of them all!
    Most use this charity run to get out and socialize while getting in shape, others use it because their lives are boring and they feel like if they are getting muddy and sprayed with paint they are actually doing something (pftt). Hopefully this fad of charity runs will die out along with the sheep that run in them. Maybe the masses of stay at home mothers and beer sport watching husbands will eventually wake up and smell real life.

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