Charity Running More Competitive Than Ever

Photo: Courtesy of
Photo: Courtesy of

Growth gives runners options, and nonprofits a recruitment challenge.

Say you missed out on a spot at the Chicago Marathon. You decide to get in by running for charity, so you hop on the race’s website and begin scrolling through the options. You keep scrolling. Down some more you go.

If the list seems endless, that’s because, in essence, it is. Chicago boasts 190 charity partners, a record it reached last year. Other big-city events have equally impressive charity catalogs. The New York City Marathon counts 317 organizations as nonprofit partners, a 74% increase from just three years ago. The Marine Corps Marathon added 30 charities to its roster this year, hitting a high of 131 for the first time.

More are clamoring to get involved. “We have 28 charities on our waiting list. In the past, there was one or two,” says Tami Faram, public relations coordinator for Marine Corps. New York City also has a waiting list.

The growth isn’t confined to the sport’s marquee events. Over the last few years, multiple marathons have expanded or started their charity programs. Nonprofit groups have added new road races to their rosters. And new running fundraisers continue to launch.

The result is that while runners may compete for coveted bibs, when it comes to charities, it’s a runners market one in which nonprofits are working harder recruit you to their cause.  Read more