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Walkathons and marathons: stepping it up for charity

By Diane Griffith

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It always feels good to give to charity. It feels even better when what you give is your time and energy. When you join a walkathon or marathon, everyone wins. You get exercise and your cause gets much-needed funds. How can you go wrong?

These events raise money for medical research, education, screenings and treatment. When you take part, you don’t just raise funds for your favorite cause. You also build aerobic endurance, cut your risks for heart disease and lose weight.

If you get bored with your regular running or walking routine, you may not stick with it. But preparing for a special race or walk may give you the extra push you need to keep on going.

Race for the Cure

Walkathons and marathons can be held any time of year, but most of them take place in the spring and fall.

The Komen Race for the Cure raises sizeable donations for the fight against breast cancer. It also heightens breast cancer awareness. The event celebrates those who have survived breast cancer and honors those who have lost their battles with the disease. The first race was held in 1983 with 800 runners. Now, there are more than a million participants each year.

Other great causes

If you catch the walkathon bug, there are many good causes out there. The Heart Walk, sponsored by the American Heart Association, attracts more than a million walkers each year. Here are just a few of the many events that you might consider joining:

•The March of Dimes WalkAmerica
•Alliance for Lupus Research Walk With Us to Cure Lupus
•Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk
•American Lung Association Lung Walk
•Arthritis Foundation Joints in Motion
•Avon Walk for Breast Cancer
•Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk (for fighting cancer)
•ING New York City Marathon (for cancer treatment)
•Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Light the Night Walk
•Leukemia Society Team in Training
•Walk to Cure Diabetes

Training for a walkathon

If you’ve been inactive, talk to your doctor before you increase your activity. Next, you’ll need a good pair of walking shoes. Start off walking slowly and go short distances. Build yourself up slowly to a faster pace and longer distances. Save your speed for the day of the event.

Training for a marathon

If you’ve never run in a marathon before, make sure to talk to your doctor first. Sign up for a training program or take a running class. You should prepare gradually and look for expert advice on how to train properly.

Finally, have fun! Enjoy doing something that is good for your health and take pride in the fact that you’re helping others.


  • Avon Foundation. Avon walk for breast cancer. Accessed: 06/22/2010
  • National Women’s Health Resource Center. Get outside and walk. Accessed: 06/22/2010
  • Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Accessed: 06/22/2010

View the original Walkathons and marathons: stepping it up for charity article on myOptumHealth.com


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