Share the run love

We all love to run. We get so much out of it–fitness, camaraderie, physical/mental challenge, therapy, and a huge dose of fun. So in this season of giving, take a minute to think about how you might give back to the sport you love. A few ideas:

  • Volunteer at a race–If you’ve run a race this year, I’m sure you can appreciate all that goes into pulling it off. Or maybe you can’t if you’ve never been on the other side of it. Races are always in need of volunteers, so find a local one and see where you can pitch in. You’ll be surprised at how much fun you have.
  • Get a shoe drive going–There are several organizations that collect gently used running shoes and send them to third world countries. Soles4Souls, and PPPAfrica are just two that come to mind. Collecting shoes can be quick and easy to do–most runners have several old pairs sitting around and are happy to unload them!
  • Turn someone on to running–Most of us have friends who don’t “get” the whole running thing, yet regularly go to the gym to stay fit in some other fashion. Take them by the hand and get them out the door for a short, easy run. It just may stick.
  • Get involved in a youth running program–Girls on the Run, a nationwide program for girls in 3rd through 8th grades, is always looking for volunteer coaches and “buddy runners” at their 5k races. There are other programs like it as well–check around to see where you can fit in.
  • Check in with your local running club–most have plenty of volunteer opportunities and welcome the help!
  • I’m sure I’m just scratching the surface here, but hopefully it will get your mind turning for ways to combine your love of sport with a little giving back. Happy holidays!

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  1. Julie says

    You have listed so many great ideas! I think it is important for runners to give back to the running community. Volounteering has been such a wonderful experience for me…I will do it again at least twice a year. I enjoy supporting other runner and appreciate it when I am the one doing the racing:)

    Oh, and the shoe drive is an excellent idea!!

  2. La Historiadora de Moda says

    These are such wonderful ideas! I'm hoping to do some work with my Y's Girls on the Run during this upcoming year, but I think your post has inspired me to add volunteering at local race to my resolutions for the upcoming year.

  3. Julie says

    I volunteered at The Girlfriend's Half this year and it was so eye opening…AND rewarding! I'll definitely do it again. I even helped stuff the goodie bags and it's amazing how many people and how long that takes!

  4. The Hungry Runner Girl says

    Wow! I really need to do a few of these things to give back to my love of running. Thanks for the ideas:)

  5. Black Knight says

    Beautiful post, great ideas. Thanks for sharing. I never was a volunteer, my fault. About the other topics: I always give my used running shoes to an organization and I have involved many friends in this wonderful sport.
    Here we don't have youth running programs outside the schools.

  6. Jeff - DangleTheCarrot says

    Excellent post Amanda! i volunteered this morning and had a great time – really need to give back even more!

  7. Adrienne says

    Great post. I got more involved more when I broke my foot and found it so rewarding I am going to continue the trend!

    Happy Holidays!

  8. Lisa says

    Love this post! I think it's so key to volunteer at a race if you run them. I love doing it and always thank volunteers at races. We couldn't race without them!

    Thanks for all the great ideas and links!

  9. Karen says

    All of the ideas sound awesome! :0) I've decided to run a race for Charity (American Cancer Society) in February! I love all of the opportunities that running gives us and ways that we can give back! It's a great feeling! :0)

  10. LMC says

    All great ideas! I volunteered at our local GOTR Fall 5K. I ran around spray painting hair and providing cute red reindeer noses for anyone that asked. Then I helped with registration and giving out chips. It was crazy, hectic, but a ton of fun. I've already signed up to volunteer for various activities for the Spring 5K and I'm really looking forward to it!

  11. HappyTrails says

    We volunteer monthly with our local running club helping to 'stuff' and address the monthly newsletters. There is usually a nice turnout with 20 – 30 people and it often is a hoot to just listen to all the 'stories' people share. Not only do we smile a lot, we learn, too!

  12. Silly Girl Running says

    Great ideas! My 'old' running shoes are off to Africa. My local running store collects them and then sends them to Kenya where they are handed to young athletes. :)

  13. Johann says

    Great post and great ideas! I love giving back to running! I've volunteered many times and it is a fun experience. Living in Africa I am always close to charity and shoe drives. I do whatever I can where possible.

  14. Soles4Souls Inc. says

    Thank you so much for highlighting us as a way for runners to give back! We really appreciate it! It's because of people like you that we're able to distribute a pair of shoes every 7 seconds. If you're ever interested in hosting a shoe drive, we'd love to partner with you!

    Thank again!
    Jeremy, S4S staff

  15. Caratunk Girl says

    Love this, for me, giving back feels so great! You have listed some things I hadn't thought about, thank you for that!

  16. Lesley @ says

    Fantastic post! This is the right thing to be highlighting this time of year. There is a local guy who does a shoe drive here in Dallas and then rides his bike around Dallas and distributes them to the homeless.