Didn’t get into the New York City Marathon for the umpteenth
time? Me neither! Don’t wait for luck to be on your side, invest in yourself
and your community by committing to a charity marathon team. It was by far the best
decision I’ve made for my running experience. Here is why…


Access to the Best Races in the World

The New York City Marathon is arguably one of the most
iconic races in the world, hosting 50,000 runners and raising millions of
dollars for charity. The likelihood of entering the NYC lottery and getting in
is about 6%. Other World Marathon Majors like Chicago, Boston, Japan, Berlin
and London have competitive qualification standards or slim lottery chances.
Prior to racing NYC in 2019, I had applied 5 times in the lottery, and
statistically I got in way earlier than expected. The alternative to praying
for entry or paying a tour operator thousands of dollars, is joining a charity

By signing up with a charity, you commit to raising a
certain dollar amount in exchange for a slot in the marathon. They vary widely
depending on the race, however as a source of comparison I
ran with JDRF in 2021 for the NYC Marathon
and they had a $4,000 minimum requirement.
If you secure your own spot either through the lottery or speed qualifying time,
the fundraising minimum is greatly reduced ($500 for the same race).

Aside from accessing some of the most competitive races to
enter, you get a slew of other benefits as part of the charity team. You may
get a personal run coach, race day swag and jersey, happy hours, weekly group
runs, welcome brunch, and inspiration and tips going into race day. I would not
have sought out a coach or any of these other perks on my own, but now I’m spoiled
to have personalized run coaching throughout two marathons!


Comradery & Community

Running is a solo endeavor. Training often takes place in the
dark mornings before your family wakes up and Saturday afternoons are spent lazy
or napping after long run sessions. The beautiful part about running on a
charity team is having a community of runners training alongside you for a
particular race, the community of people that you’re helping as part of the
charity itself, and the community of friends and family supporting you to reach
your goals. By making running about the charity and your fundraising goals, the
selfish flavor dissipates. You will be able to cheer on (and complain with)
your fellow runners, your friends will be asking you all about training and
fundraising progress, and you’ll receive warm appreciation for the charity you’re

One of the really special things JDRF
did for its runners was send letters from kids with Type 1 Diabetes to everyone
on the team. I got a letter from a 7-year-old diagnosed with T1D thanking me for
running for her and her mom, who also has T1D. That letter and hand drawn
picture of mother and daughter hung on my refrigerator for months during


  Motivation to Run for Something Larger Than Yourself

When your body gives out, you’ll run with your heart. I’ve
run three marathons at the time of writing this article, 2 of which were on Team
If you’ve ever run a marathon, you know the final few miles are a battle
with inner demons to finish and it is emotionally exhausting as much as it is physically
exhausting. There were many points of the New York City Marathon that I started
to get choked up thinking about how meaningful it was that I was out there, the
money raised to support Type 1 Diabetes research, and how I am making the world
a better place. It sounds a bit melodramatic but in those dark places in the
marathon, negative thoughts creep in and thinking about the impact that I’m
having on the millions of Americas living with an auto-immune condition really
puts into perspective the whole running miles around a city “for fun”.


After my experiences running on Team JDRF, I can’t see
another path to completing my goal of running the World Marathon Majors than on
a charity team. Thankfully JDRF is a beneficiary of 5 of the 6 races 😉


Have you looked into charity teams before? How was your



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Posted by:Allie

4 replies on “Why Running on a Marathon Charity Team is the Best Decision You Will Ever Make

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