As Marathons Attract More Fundraisers Some Worry Amateurs Are Not 2009: Popular Marathon

As marathons attract more fundraisers some worry amateurs are not

If a popular marathon is sold-out, procrastinators can still finagle their way into the race.
And no, we don’t mean sneaking onto the course. The secret is joining one of the dozens of charity groups that still have some coveted late-entry forms. Simply commit to their cause – raise some money – and you’ll be at the starting line with 45,000 other runners, hobby joggers and walkers, regardless of your experience or ability. But while marathons can be rewarding and life changing, they can also be grueling, unpleasant events, especially if you’re new to the sport. If you’re also fundraising – no easy feat – you might feel pressured to keep pushing with training when you shouldn’t. And some running coaches worry that the charities are more interested in raising money than in the health of the runners, a charge the charities deny. “Most people don’t understand how hard it is to run 26.2 miles,” said DePaul University’s head track and cross-country coach Patrick Savage. The mushrooming success of charity running is helping drive a marathoning boom. Once hard-core competitions that excluded women, marathons are now an all-comers party some even resemble parades. Last year, more than 7,300 charity runners raised more than $9 million at the Chicago marathon. This year’s race on Oct. 11 includes a record 112 registered charities, fielding teams ranging from two to 1,200 members.
In exchange for a minimum donation of $1,400, for example, runners with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training (TNT) receive a race entry ($125 value), group runs and coaching, a 16-week structured training schedule, camaraderie and other amenities.

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