Written by guest author, Eric Rubinson.
Have you ever noticed that raising money for charity is pretty hard? As a runner, I’ve participated in numerous charity runs, and while it’s a rewarding experience, it’s not without its challenges.
For starters, asking for money isn’t easy for many of us. Plus, those fundraising minimums can be intimidating ($4,000 for a Boston Marathon fundraising team). It can be difficult to find an event or team that’s supporting the charity that you care about most, let alone in a location that’s accessible. It’s also hard to find a team that’s doing anything less than a half-marathon distance.
Imagine an event that eliminates all of those challenges. In 2012, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, I established Track Friday, an event held the day after Thanksgiving in which participants can support any charity, raise any amount, and run or walk any distance, anywhere.
Initially, establishing an event wasn’t my intention. I just wanted to find a way to support Sandy relief efforts, and by more than just writing a check. I issued an informal challenge to my friends and family: if they could collectively raise $5,000 for local charities supporting relief efforts by Thanksgiving, I would head over to my old high school track on Black Friday and run a full marathon. 105.5 laps, all on the track.
As word spread, I found that others wanted to join me on the track, even for just a lap or two. We reached the $5,000 in just nine days. By the time Thanksgiving came, we’d generated over $22,000 for charities, and had over 30 runners and walkers in four states. Track Friday was born.
Now in its third year, Track Friday has become an event focused on community, bringing people together at local tracks to support any charity they wish, doing as many laps as they want to. The model allows each participant to customize their contribution based on their own goals and abilities, all while generating funds and awareness for the cause they hold most dear, burning off a few of those extra holiday calories, getting a cheering section every quarter-mile, and enjoying the camaraderie of other participants regardless of their personal goals!
This year, we want to see runners and walkers across America get “on track” with Track Friday. It is free to participate in on any publicly-accessible track or running path. We ask that participants make a donation to their favorite charity instead of paying a registration fee. Participants can fundraise more if they want to, but it’s not required.
If you’re on a charity team this fall, Track Friday is the perfect event to compliment your efforts and boost awareness for your cause. The money you raise on Track Friday can count towards your existing goal!
Already signed up for a local Turkey Trot? Track Friday turns your pre-race easy run or post-race recovery into a meaningful and memorable experience.
If “going home for the holidays” means you’re traveling for the weekend or just staying put in your current hometown, Track Friday is the perfect way to get in your post-Thanksgiving run while gathering with your hometown pals in the spirit of charity.
Head over to Track Friday to learn more. You’ll find everything you need to register yourself as a participant, make a charitable donation to your chosen charity, and set up a fundraising page so you can campaign for your cause.
Like us on Facebook (facebook.com/trackfriday) for updates, to find meet-up locations, and to connect with other participants.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Eric Rubinson has run marathons in all 50 states and Washington DC. A resident of NJ, Eric and Kathy (Will Run For Miles) met, of all places, in Bismarck, North Dakota in an airport hotel shuttle bus when both were on their way to the 2010 Bismarck Marathon. Eric completed many of his marathons as part of a charity team, including his 50-states finale at the Boston Marathon, and is always happy to provide a suggestion for a great meal or brewpub wherever you happen to be running. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.