Fall is a frenzy of exciting holiday parties, dreaded midterms and a surplus of calories. With the holiday season lurking around the corner, delicious treats are almost impossible to avoid.
Exercise is typically given less focus around this time of year, and any weight gain can be easily camouflaged by full-coverage fall fashions. However, the importance of health does not hibernate for winter, and neither should exercise routines. Working out does not have to be a mundane task, and frequenting the gym is not the only way to stay fit. Participating in walks and runs for charities provides motivation to get in shape and adds an extended sense of fulfillment to any ordinary workout.
San Diego is home to a multitude of walks and runs for charities. The gorgeous landscape and picturesque scenery, along with the ideal year-round weather conditions, make the city a prime location for outdoor exercise. Individuals who enjoy making a difference and those who are passionate about specific charities might find exercising for a cause is the perfect way to burn unwanted calories and have fun, while also helping raise money for those in need.
Almost every nonprofit organization conducts fundraisers, but charity walks and runs can oftentimes be more enjoyable ways to give to a good cause than merely making a donation.
Walks for charity, sometimes known as walkathons, vary in distance and are typically referred to as 3Ks, 5Ks or 10Ks, which are the equivalent of 1.86 miles, 3.1 miles and 6.2 miles respectively. For more ambitious individuals, half-marathons and full marathons are excellent ways to challenge physical strength and endurance while making a difference. The distance of a marathon is 26.2 miles, and each year there are nearly 400 marathons in the U.S. alone, according to the Marathon Guide’s USA Marathon Calendar.
Although impressive, this number does not include the large amount of half-marathons also available each year. An even more physically challenging competition is a triathlon in which participants swim, bike and run in sequence. Triathlon races differ in distances as well, but even the shortest distance triathlon, known as a sprint distance, consists of a 750m swim and 20km bike ride, followed by a 5km run. These activities can be rewarding to complete but physically strenuous, and proper training is an absolute necessity before embarking on any distance race.
Bethany Scribner, a San Diego State senior, is no stranger to running marathons. She has been running races for the past three years and has completed nine so far. She has run in a variety of races, including The Disneyland Half Marathon, the Avia OC Marathon, the Nike Women’s Marathon and next month she will run the Zappo’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in Las Vegas.
“The sense of accomplishment that you get when you cross the finish line is incredible, especially when you beat your personal record,” Scribner said. “While it may seem like there are a lot of runners on the course, really not that many people can say you’ve done what you just did.”
Although she doesn’t have a favorite charity, every race she runs benefits a nonprofit organization. The beneficiary for her upcoming race is the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America.
“Out of all of (my races), that’s the one that means the most to me,” Scribner said. “My best friend was diagnosed with Crohn’s a year ago, so I saw this as a perfect opportunity to raise money to help find a cure.”
San Diegans have no shortage of options when it comes to choosing a charity race. According to the San Diego Running Events Calendar, there are 10 half-marathons in San Diego each year, as well as two full marathons.
There are also countless options throughout the county for short-distance races benefitting almost any and every San Diego charity imaginable. Sign On San Diego lists several upcoming races, including the San Diego Center for Children’s Walk for Kids and Walk to Cure Diabetes and Father Joe’s Thanksgiving Day 5K. Individuals can also start their own charity walks to raise money for favorite causes.
The races often leave lasting impacts on the participants.
“The saying ‘It’s a marathon, not a sprint’ is so much more relevant in my life now, and I apply it to so many different situations,” Scribner said. “The races have taught me patience and that the best things in life are not only worth waiting for, but working for.”