In the Fall of 2014, I had made the decision to sign up for my first marathon, the 2015 Pittsburgh Marathon. At the time, my only focus was to find a training plan, shoes, nutrition and everything else to survive my first 26.2 miles. No where in my head did I have the thought of becoming a charity runner. However, I was approached on social media by a staff member at Our Clubhouse to see if I was interested in becoming a charity runner. I didn’t know what Our Clubhouse was at the time and after doing some research, I agreed to be one of their runners.
For the past 3 years now, when signing up for the Pittsburgh Marathon, I haven’t questioned becoming a charity runner for Our Clubhouse. It’s become second nature to me to fundraiser for them. I love that the Pittsburgh Marathon offers being a charity runner to anyone. In fact, this year they have teamed up with 37 different organizations as the official Run for a Reason Charity. This program allows runners to register for the race of their choice for “free” in exchange for raising a certain amount of money for their charity of choice. If you don’t hit the minimum, then the runner has to pick up the balance. It’s a great way to get more runners out there and to help some amazing charities at the same time.
My connection to Our Clubhouse, in a roundabout way, is my grandfather. In 2014, when I announced that I was running my first marathon, I told his full story. In the Fall of 2007, my grandfather was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Stage 4. Before his passed, I had one last great weekend with him, but only weeks after his diagnosis, he passed away on October 17, 2007. My grandfather was my world and my world came crashing down on this day.
Almost 11 years later though, I continue to strive keep his memory alive and by running for Our Clubhouse, I can do just that. While he might not have been a member, I know he’s be happy to know that I am supporting an amazing organization. It also helps educate people on what Our Clubhouse does for their members. They provide FREE support groups, art workshops, social activities, monthly dinners and much more. In addition to providing to those battling cancer, they will also help support other family members as well. The most amazing part about the organization though is that it is completely free to all members. This is why supporting them is so important. Every dollar raised helps keep the programming hours completely free.
Fundraising isn’t easy, but I have always tried to make it fun. I have tried to get creative in my fundraising efforts and have had benefit dinners, happy hours, dollar matches for a holiday, but I think my most successful fundraising tactic each year has been the burpee challenge. I think people just liked to make me suffer in pain. In 2015, the Trib even did an article on me following my first burpee attempt at 235 burpees! Here’s the problem in 2018. I don’t think I can physically do it. With my recent surgery, I am hesitant to begin jumping around doing burpees. So this year there might not be a burpee challenge, but I still need help with my fundraising challenge.
Even if the burpee challenge can’t happen this year, I am still pushing to get word out about Our Clubhouse and everything they do. Being a charity runner means a lot to me. It combines two things that I love: running and giving back. There are 42 days left until the Pittsburgh Marathon, which is plenty of time to keep my fundraising campaign wheels going still. The best part about the campaign is that the minimum donation is just $10 and if you wish to help please go here to make a donation. I’ll be forever grateful for your support!