Do you run a race for charity? How does that work? Do you get free entry on the events that they are involved with? I'm just curious, someone emailed me a donation page that she is running for charity and had that thought of maybe I plan to run a lot of races anyway in the next few months, why not run for charity so by having that extra commitment to myself to train, I'm also helping the charity organization. Thanks.
I'm sure it varies from place to place and race to race. But usually, if a race is established to benefit a cause, part of your entry fee supports that charity, and there are usually corporate sponsors too. Our local Thanksgiving turkey trot supports the food bank and there's a reduced entry fee if you bring canned food.
There are quite a few races where entrants are expected (or at least asked) to collect donations using their pledge form or online donation system. Sometimes this is done in a team format and sometimes individually. In my experience, this doesn't give you a free entry; but maybe you get a nicer shirt or something else if you collect a given number of pledges.
The third possibility -- and the one I THINK you're suggesting -- is that you were planning to enter some scheduled races that don't necessarily have a donation-collection component but you want to do that on your own. I'd say that's the least common scenario; you'd have to ask the race director about the entry fee. If the race benefits a cause and you're wanting to collect donations for the same cause, I'm sure they won't turn it down! I believe some of the bigger marathons set aside a certain number of entries for people who raise money for a charity of the runner's choice, but those criteria are established ahead of time. Lance Armstrong ran the Boston Marathon to raise money for his foundation (for example).
I actually think the third possiblity is the most common. most every marathon is going to have acharity group like: team in training(Lukemia and lymphoma socitey), team ACS(american cancer society), in addition to many other organizations. I haven't done any runs for charity, but my general impression is that the benefits you get for being a part of these organizations is a structured training plan,people to train with,people to keep you motivated, feeling good about yourself raising money for a good cause, a shirt they want you to wear during the race promoting the cause, and they generally get together the night before and have a big pasta dinner. Perhaps the entry fee is covered. i think its more likely that you still pay the fee, but there is less worry about getting in for popular events since these charity groups probably buy a large block of entries.
Just an addendum...the big races that give charity numbers have a specific amount of money that you must raise depending on the charity and they make you put that donation on your credit card just in case you can't raise all the money. For the Boston Marathon there are a lot of charity numbers out there requiring as much as $3500 to get a number with or without qualifying. They supply coaches and training plans, shirts and other items and get togethers etc. There are lots of great causes to help and the numbers go quickly. Just be sure of the committment before you sign up. Good luck!
Plan your run and then run your plan.