Charity Doesn’t Begin at a Marathon Start Line


I often hear about people running a marathon or climbing a mountain to raise money for a good cause. While charity and fitness are both great, I cannot see the connection between the two. I don’t understand how someone running 42km is going to help starving children, unless of course they are running through a farm pulling vegetables out of the ground to send to the kids.

Personally I would love to have someone sponsor me to climb a mountain. I get to go on a life changing holiday while someone else picks up the tab. Nonetheless, I’m not so sure it’s ethical to claim that my climbing a mountain will help earthquake victims. If anything, investing in mountain gear for myself will mean having less money to donate.

So what exactly is the harm in running a local marathon and getting people to sponsor you? You have a sense of achievement and money is raised for cancer research. The trouble is that this seemingly win-win situation is inefficient. You aren’t actually doing anyone a service by running. The hours you spend training for the race could be used to work a part-time job and your extra earnings could then be donated to charity. And your friends who support cancer research could donate without you having to realise how horribly out of shape you are.