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WHAT SUPPORT CAN YOU EXPECT?

You've made a commitment to run for charity, but how will your charity support you? There are plenty of ways that they can do this, but make sure you find out all the details up front. Training days, fundraising advice, online coaching, vests and T-shirts, post race functions?

WHAT SUPPORT CAN YOU EXPECT?

You've made a commitment to run for charity, but how will your charity support you? There are plenty of ways that they can do this, but make sure you find out all the details up front. Training days, fundraising advice, online coaching, vests and T-shirts, post race functions? They can help you train and raise money. Here we look at some of the options.



Fundraising assistance

First up is how are they going to support your fundraising efforts. Most charities will have a preferred fundraising platform partner. This is who you will use to set up your fundraising page and where your friends and family will make donations with their credit cards. That money then goes directly to the charity regularly, with some fees deducted. These platforms will have lots of tips on how to fundraise and you'll get regular emails from them with additional support. In addition the charities should have fundraising packs with ideas that have worked for previous supporters. These will be packed full of information that will give you a real head start. They should also have staff that can speak to you if you are having fundraising challenges that you're struggling to overcome.



Day to day advice

In addition to regular advice on fundraising they should also be available to answer questions on the race itself and logistics associated with it. Don't bombard them on a daily basis but if you have a question they'll be happy to help. Running specific questions, like what to eat during training, or advice on injuries will need to be directed at their running coach if they have one. The charities generally send out detailed information on specific events, so go through this in detail. If you're running a local event and you've agreed to raise some funds for them, then they won't have too much detail on that event, as they may not have anyone else doing it, so you'll be on your own, to an extent. They will be able to give you fundraising advice though.



Training plans

Most charities involved in running events will be able to share training plans with you. They will have teamed up with a third party who will have produced plans for all distanced and at least three levels; beginner, intermediate and advanced/experienced runners. With the advances in technology some of these will be linked to apps and may, to a degree, be personalised, although that is an exception rather than the rule. You don't have to use these plans, but you do need to use a plan from an experienced coach.





Who is the running coach?

Who is the coach? Charities, like everyone else, need to be mindful of costs and may on occasions go for a less knowledgeable coach to keep costs down. Find out who is looking after their running programme before you commit to that charity. Make sure they have run marathons, or the distance you're doing and that they understand everything associated with the challenges of running and fundraising. What is their fundraising background? It's one thing running a distance event and it's another thing running it and fundraising at the same time.



Training Days

Pre-Covid group training days were very common, especially from the bigger charities. Now, it's more the exception than the rule. Hopefully this will change soon and we'll see these offered by many more charities. These were offered to runners, running the bigger events like London and New York and consisted of an hour or two of running, followed by refreshments and a Q&A session. They were invaluable to both charity and runners alike. The charity was able to meet and support their runners and the runners were able to meet others on their team and have time with the coach and the fundraising manager. Questions could be asked in the group session or afterwards, one on one. If you can find a charity that offers these now you should look at the opportunity very seriously.



On the day support?

And what about on the day? If you're not interested in any of the above you are more than likely going to be interested in how your charity can support you on event day. At the Chicago Marathon for example there is a facility that the charities can buy into that allows you to leave your bags in a secure area beforehand (just across from the start), grab some light refreshments and then go back there afterwards to meet friends and family and relive the race. It takes away some race day stresses, especially if you're a first timer. In London and New York, it is very common for charities to have post race functions and some do the same in Berlin. What they offer can vary significantly but when you're choosing a charity to run for in one of the big events you need to know what they'll be offering. It is a really important part of your race day experience, especially if it's the only one you're planning on doing.


The support offered by charities to runners raising money for them varies massively between charities. If this is important to you (and it should be if you're new to this) then you need to do some detailed research and the charity that you select should be partly based on what they offer.




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