Selfish runners? I think not.

  • This was printed in October of 2013 in The Madera Tribune, a newspaper in Madera, California. This was the 19th installment of my weekly column, Mind Over Miles.

I read something on a social media site once that said runners are egoistic and self-

serving. I beg to differ.

Yes, we leave our families to go out on long training runs and subsequent deep-tissue or

sports massages. Yes, we have multiple streets temporarily shut down to motorists so that

we can run a race safely. Yes, we display our medals and bibs, and we can ramble off our

PR (personal records) faster than we can recite our own addresses.

But, most of the time, we don’t just run for ourselves.

I can’t think of any race that doesn’t raise money for a good cause — be it cancer

research, children’s charities or special funds for survivors of tragedies — through

registration fees.

In fact, the 5K Walk-Run for Autism will be held Saturday at 9 a.m. at Madera High

School to help raise money for families affected by autism. If you’re able, join them and

run or walk for a purpose.

There are also runners who go above and beyond to raise additional funds for nonprofits

and other worthwhile causes.

The Central Valley Ronald McDonald House in Madera will soon benefit from a

fundraising run by a few crazy ultra runners associated with Sierra Running Company in


On Nov. 16 the runners will venture on a “short 125-mile run” (ha!) from the Bakersfield

Ronald McDonald House, finishing sometime the next day at the Madera location.

The Mi Casa Es Su Casa Benefit Run will help the Ronald McDonald House provide

private bedrooms, meals, toiletries, and much more for families with children

hospitalized at Children’s Hospital Central California. The runners’ goal is to raise

$20,000. So far they’ve raised nearly $3,000. Donations can be made at

In March, 42-year-old California mother of two Julie Weiss completed the feat of running

52 marathons in 52 weeks. She did it to raise awareness for pancreatic cancer, which

killed her father just 35 days after he was diagnosed. She raised more than $177,000 for

the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

My high school friend Claire Gibson ran her first marathon, the Big Sur International

Marathon, in April. She raised more than $5,000 for Partners In Health and Face AIDS

by simply asking her Facebook friends to donate $26.20 in honor of the distance she

would run.

While these individual runners will, and have, raised so much money for great causes all

by themselves, the running community showed how strong and generous it is in the

weeks after this year’s Boston Marathon.

The One Fund Boston, formed to assist victims and families affected by the marathon

bombings, has raised more than $69 million to date. The Love To Boston 2.62-mile

run/walk held at Woodward Park in Fresno six days after the marathon raised more than

$10,000 for the fund.

Yes, runners run for themselves, for their health and their sanity. But running means so

much more to us when we can help others by putting one foot in front of the other.

Look at the SRC runners. They’re going to pound pavement for 125 miles, running in the

heat and overnight, just so that those of us who can’t — or won’t — do such a crazy thing

will whip out our credit cards or our loose change and give it to our local Ronald

McDonald House.

How can that be called selfish at all?


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