Saturday, January 1, 2011

Run for a Cause, Run with Team for Kids

Back in the early months of 2008, I was watching a re-run of Forest Gump and enjoying a pint of Hagen Daz Vanilla Swiss Almond. Then the scene started where Forest just starts running and running and ran all across the county. He basically just felt like running. “I could do that,” I said to myself.

For many years my health took a back seat to my work, so then and there I decided to do the marathon. While I was talking to my best friend about doing the New York City Marathon, he mentioned that they had a lottery system because hundred of thousands of people apply for the 40,000 slots available. Most likely the only way to get entry was to join a charity. I thought what would be a wonderful way to celebrate my new health outlook on life.

I scanned the many different charities. Many focused on different cancer treatments and research, like Fred’s Team, Team in Training and American Cancer Society. Others were raising money or a variety of diagnoses. I eventually chose Team for Kids. Their mission is to give underprivileged children a running start to health and wellness, which will combat childhood obesity. My propensity to make sure all children have a chance, especially my own kids. This charity seemed like the best choice for me.

Team for Kids raises funds for New York Road Runners Youth Programs by providing runners guaranteed entry into the NYC Marathon or NYC Half Marathon. The money raised by each runner provides free or low-cost school and community center based health and fitness programs for children who are most likely at risk to have no access to regular physical activity. Every week, the programs currently serves over 400 schools and centers in New York City, Nationally and in Cape Town, South Africa, which is nearly 100,000 children.

Each charity provides different benefits when you commit to running on their behalf. Just pick the one that you want to support and they will take care of the rest. Here are some benefits that I remember that Team for Kids provides:
· Being that the ING New York City Marathon is sold out, you receive Guaranteed entry
· As a beginner runner having access to professional coaching and training was so valuable, and the supervised coached workouts were so helpful, especially the ones for the double-digit mileage runs. It gets lonely on a 20 plus mile run, but the coaches and community really push you to succeed.
· You will have access to a dietician that will answer any of your nutritional needs.
· During the training runs you might find a training buddy, that will hold you accountable for the mileage. I wish there was an easier way to train for a marathon, but you actually need to run!
· Remember to stretch! I thought I was doing enough stretching and warming up, but I learned more stretches to make sure that I was injury free during my training.
· They have a members only group for online training, coaching and communications so everyone in the group knows what to do even when you live on the other side of the globe.
· On the website you will find plenty of fund-raising support to assist you to meet your fund-raising commitment.
· I personally love my Signature Team Green race singlet that is Neon Green which helps you stand out in the marathon crowd as millions cheer you on. No one will miss you as your run by. In addition you receive a technical training shirt to wear on all your training runs.
· Looking for camaraderie, you will receive special invitations to members-only clinics, socials, and VIP events. The one for marathon basics is invaluable.

On race day:
· Feel like a Rock Star on race day because you get to ride on a members’ only bus to the starting line
· A private tent with pre-race amenities including bagels and coffee awaits you when you step off the bus, especially if it rains that day
· Exclusive baggage services to keep your stuff ready for you when you finish
· Plenty of Team for Kids Children cheering you on at designated cheering sections throughout the boroughs,
· After receiving your medal, a TFK volunteer shows you the way to a Private Post-race Recovery Area to rest your weary feet and legs, meet up with other Team for Kids runners, and collect your baggage.
· When you are ready to walk again, head over to the Team for Kids Family Reunion Area at the YMCA, where your friends and family are there to congratulate you on your success!

Knowing that every step you take makes you healthier; it also helps a child get a running start to a health and active lifestyle!

Enjoy the run!

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