I’ve received several questions about running with a charity for a runDisney race. I chose to run the Walt Disney World Marathon with Team in Training, which benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Running a race for charity is a really wonderful experience, but it may not be for everyone, and that’s ok. If you’re interesting in running with a charity through runDisney, here are some things you need to know:
Running with a charity does not mean running for free. Many charities require you to pay for your registration. Some charge the full amount you’d pay through runDisney, others have a lesser fee. There are charities that refund your registration fee once you hit your fundraising threshold, but you still need to front the costs. If you don’t reach your fundraising goal, you’ll be responsible for making up the difference.
But running with a charity can get you into a sold out race. Often, charity partners will have bibs available well after general registration sells out. However, I suggest registering with your chosen charity as soon as possible to guarantee your spot, especially for challenge races like the Glass Slipper Challenge or Dumbo Double Dare.
You will not be officially registered for the race right away. Most charities wait until a couple months (or even a month) before the race to process registrations to ensure members are reaching fundraising goals. Don’t panic! If you’re set up with your charity, they’ll have you registered in time for the race.
Charity registrations can cover more than your race entry. Depending on the charity, you may be able to include airfare, hotel stays, private parties, and theme park tickets in your fundraising package. Team in Training typically offers several fundraising levels with different incentives. Be sure to read the fine print. Some charities have teammates room together, but you can request a private room for an additional fee. If your fundraising doesn’t cover park tickets or resort stays, you may be able to get them at a discounted rate through your charity.
You should pick a charity you’re passionate about. Don’t choose Charity XYZ because it can get you into the race for the lowest fundraising amount. Choose a charity based on their mission. Because…
Fundraising isn’t easy. It may seem like raising money won’t be hard, especially with Facebook and Twitter at your disposal, but it is. But, I can tell you this…if you pick a charity whose mission you’re passionate about, it won’t seem like hard work. And your family and friends will understand your purpose and want to help you succeed. Make fundraising personal. Tell people WHY you’ve chosen this charity. Share your stories and the stories of those that inspire you. Show your progress with training. You’ll feel great every single day you spread the word and the donations will come. Just know you’ll go through periods where no one donates and then you’ll have a day when it seems like the whole world wants to donate. Keep your chin up, keep spreading the word, and remember you’re doing something that matters.
You’ll have your own personal cheering squad on race day. I was completely overwhelmed by the support I received during the marathon. Everywhere I looked, there were people cheering for ME. And every time I heard someone yell “GO TEAM!”, I ran faster, harder, and with purpose. Team in Training coaches were all along the course and would run up to me to make sure I was ok or to give me some inspirational words of wisdom to remind me why I was there and wearing that purple singlet. I can’t tell you how much having that support enhanced my race experience. I can’t imagine racing without Team in Training now. And TNT isn’t the only charity with on-course support! You’ll see dozens of your fellow charity team members on the course, and when you see someone in your charity singlet, you’ll give them a knowing nod or wave. There will be spectators waiting to cheer you on and a group to meet you at the finish. It’s like traveling to a race with family.
Is there anything else you’d like to know about running with a charity through runDisney or Team in Training? Leave a comment and let me know and I’ll do my best to answer!