Saturday, 27 October 2012

YOU can make a difference

After recently participating in a moving run through one of the poorest townships in South Africa, I've been a bit hesitant about entering another race.  Experiencing that township on foot touched my heart in such a way that somehow entering another race that offers nothing but bells and whistles feels, well... a bit empty.

Sure, I realize that each and every race and training session can't be a moving experience (no pun intended), and that running is a blessing in itself, but still I can't help looking for ways to give my running more meaning.  Ways in which I can make a difference while doing what I love.  

I was delighted to discover a whole host of ways (apart from the usual "run and raise funds for your favourite charity") in which running can be not only something that benefits myself, but others too (and some of them don't even cost a cent!):

1.  Take part in races where a portion (or all!) of the proceeds go to a worthy cause. 

The options are endless and can be found around the globe: The Susan G. Komen Race for the CureSabrina Love Ocean Challenge; Sisters with Blisters - there really are too many to mention.  Pick your races wisely and you can contribute to making a difference with every single race that you participate in.


2.  Donate your used running shoes.

Most of us discard our old running shoes when they are still far from hanging from a thread.  Shoe 4 Africa collects used running shoes that still have a few miles left in them for distribution during their health and wellness workshops and races: Instead of medals, race finishers receive a pair of used running shoes and sometimes other extras, like mosquito nets.  These shoes contribute to the prevention of the spread of hookworm in rural areas, plus it encourages recipients to live a healthier lifestyle.  

Used shoes and mosquito nets given to participants of a Kenyan race instead of medals.  [Source.]

3.  Run/cycle in gear that benefits a good cause.

You need a shirt to run or cycle in, right?  Why not buy one from a charity instead of your local mall?  Many charities produce and offer good quality, stylish gear at affordable prices.  Profits made go directly to the charity, plus wearing their logo on your back will spread the word and encourage others to get involved.  

Check out these running shirts and cycling gear distributed by the Sabrina Love Foundation: Affordable, good quality and awesome!

run 00
Back view of the Sabrina Love Running Tech T in black and silver.  [Source.]
CYC03 cycle shirts
Isn't this the cutest cycle shirt ever?! [Source.]

Many animal rescue centers are swamped and staff members simply don't have enough hours in each day to take each rescue dog for a walk.  Contact your nearest rescue center and inquire about taking different dogs on one or more of your weekly runs - and instantly make a whole bunch of new running buddies!


So there you have it: Four fun and easy ways to give your running more meaning.  Join me and let's make a difference!

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