After logging long hours studying, the best way for me to ease any tension or stress I feel about an upcoming exam is to lace up my sneakers and hit the pavement running. There is nothing like running through Lincoln Park here in Chicago, especially on a brisk fall morning before class. When I don’t make my morning runs, law classes can be difficult to sit through. But on the days I enter the classroom still feeling the effects of my “runner’s high,” the day breezes by. I first fell in love with running back in middle school when my aunt Emily was diagnosed with breast cancer. It came as a shock to the entire family but while we were feeling bad for her and thinking about how we could help, she was lacing up her sneakers and heading out the door. She would run for miles to free her mind and keep her body active. When she was undergoing treatment, there were days when she couldn’t run more than a block but would walk as far as she could. Some days she couldn’t get out of bed to run but she would urge me to “go get the run in for the both of us.” Aunt Emily won her battle with cancer and since then we have run dozens of marathons, 5ks, and mini marathons to raise money for cancer treatment and awareness of the disease.
I love running and I love it even more when I’m able to raise money and awareness for a worthy cause. Last year my aunt invited me to visit her back in Indiana and join her in running the Jill Behrman 5k Run. I was ready to go as soon as I got the word but after hearing about the cause, I was fully in. Jill Behrman was a student at Indiana University and an employee of Campus Recreational Sports. In 2000, she set out alone for a bike ride and she didn’t return. Three years later, it was discovered that she had been murdered.
This JB5Kwas created to keep her name alive and to raise awareness of violence in the community. In conjunction with the JB5K, there will be workshops throughout the year to teach self-defense, assault awareness, and assault prevention. A portion of the proceeds from the JB5K go towards funding these workshops and also towards her scholarship foundation, the Jill Behrman Emerging Leader Scholarship. I ran the race last year and felt proud that I could help keep her name alive, raise awareness on violence, and help people learn to defend themselves. I will run it again this year and I have been thinking about starting a charity run in honor of my aunt. The proceeds would go towards cancer research and be in her name. The key to setting up a charity run or event is sponsorship, passion, and dedication. There are many people that need to be involved and many channels that you will need to go through in order to get clearance but if you believe in the cause and feel passionately about it, it will be worth it.
Here are 7 steps that should help you get started.
1. Clearly identify the purpose of the run and how donations will be used. It is preferable to donate the funds to an established social service agency, like the Little Red Door, an agency that provides support for disadvantaged people with cancer.
2. Recruit a team of volunteers. Depending upon the size of the first event, you may want to solicit the help of at least a dozen volunteers who are equally passionate about the same cause. Give each of them different assignments.
3. Solicit the support of businesses and agencies. Some companies may be willing to donate funds, awards, refreshments, T-shirts, etc. Others may be willing to encourage employees to serve as volunteers.
4. Set a date after talking to city officials. The date of the event will likely be determined by the dates in which streets or other areas can be closed to traffic.
5. Set a registration fee. If possible, all fees should go to the charity if other expenses have been covered by corporate donations.
6. Use Twitter, Facebook, and word of mouth to spread the word. If the charity is in support of a great cause, it won’t be hard to gain up supporters.
7. Stay inspired and get running. It will be hard work, but stay focused on your ultimate goal to make a difference.