There’s a reason why so many marathon events are aligning themselves with a cause. Because it’s very good for runners.
When the dark nights have set in and the prospect of exercise in the cold doesn’t quite seem appealing, you might be tempted to give training a miss. Then, running just for running’s sake may not be enough of a reason for some to take on a race event. You may look at the challenge and wonder: “What exactly is the purpose of actually doing this, other than just getting to the finish line?”.
But running specifically for a cause can be your very reason — although you’ll definitely derive some self-satisfaction from completing the race itself too.
Imagine the possibility of changing someone’s life being added to every step you take. Running has a lot of semblance to corporate goals minus the financial rewards — a feeling of accomplishment that comes with personal achievement.
Off late, participation in marathons (or even short- distance runs) for a charity has become popular as the number of these events has grown. And why is this? People find that running for others is one of the most self-less things you can do. It gives runners a better focus and a higher motivation to complete events. If you reach the finish line, a child somewhere can get a bag of books
Dr Dinesh Chirla is a neonatal specialist and a pediatrician who has been participating in marathons to raise money for the treatment of patients who can’t really fully afford modern medicine. “It's been two years since I have been participating in the Hyderabad Marathon, because it means something more. It didn’t mean just running a marathon. It wasn’t just about me. It meant giving back. One may run for fitness, fun or a variety of reasons but running to benefit a cause that’s close to your heart stands is great motivation,” he says.
Standing at the start line of a marathon, looking around at all the anxious participants, feeling their eagerness, knowing that in time, all of them will be released to chase a dream, is almost overwhelming. And standing alongside others who are all prepared to give it their best, one may feel both larger and smaller than who you are otherwise. For most people, crossing the finish line is an amazing achievement. It’s not easy running for a prolonged period of time. So no matter what time you clock, even if you are the last one to cross the line, everyone that participates is a winner and for some, the only thing more enjoyable than a runner’s high or completing the race is running for a cause.
Dr Chirla adds: “Find a charity or a cause that means something to you. There’s great joy in running for someone else.
“To me, it also means giving something back to the society while achieving personal goals. It doesn’t matter if you jog, walk, dash, scurry or run like the wind, you’ll be running with a purpose.”