Run, Walk, Get Fit for a Cause
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Fitness

Run, Walk, Get Fit for a Cause

What's your cause? Here at FITNESS, we tend to focus our charitable efforts around, well, fitness. We're guessing you might do the same. So our staff put together this list of our favorite charities and events.

AIDS

AIDS Walk

This 10-kilometer walk (6.2 miles) takes roughly two to three hours to complete. It benefits AIDS research around the world.

 
AIDS/Lifecycle Ride to End AIDS

Ride strong with a 7-day bike from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise money for the fight against HIV/AIDS.

 

Alcoholism

Walk Like MADD

This community-driven 5K walk helps raise funds for M.A.D.D. (Mothers Against Drunk Driving).

 

ALS (Lou Gehrig's)

Walk to Defeat ALS

The ALS Association's national signature event is now in its eighth year, with approximately 150 walks to be held around the country. In 2006, walkers nationwide raised more than $12 million in support of cutting-edge research and patient services programs.

 

Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk

The Memory Walk takes place in more than 600 communities across the U.S. and each year more than 200,000 participants and volunteers participate and raise money to end Alzheimer's.

 

Arthritis and Disabilities

Walk for a Cure: Arthritis Foundation

Participants choose from a 1-mile or 3-mile course.

 
Jingle Bell Run/Walk

Kick off the holiday season by helping others! Walkers often wear holiday-themed costumes, or simply tie jingle bells to their shoelaces. Run or walk a 5-kilometer route with your team members and celebrate the season by giving. Sponsored by the Arthritis Foundation.

 
Easter Seals Walk with Me

This nationwide benefit walk helps people with disabilities.

 
Moving Forward: LDA Walk

Walk, jog, or run along Lake Michigan in Chicago to support the Learning Disability Association of America's mission to create opportunities for those with learning disabilities.

 
Angelman Syndrome Foundation Walk

Pick your distance with this national walk. Choose a 2K or a 5K to raise awareness and education funds for Angelman syndrome, a neuro-genetic disorder that causes seizures and developmental delays in children and adults.

 
Cupid's Chase 5K

Taking place in 10 states, this is the largest national walk/run to raise funds for those with disabilities.

 
National Walk for Epilepsy

Make a difference in Washington, D.C., with this 2-mile walk on the National Mall.

 

Autism

Walk Now for Autism Speaks

This family-friendly fundraising event generates funds for autism research and raises awareness. Walks take place in communities across the United States as well as Canada and the United Kingdom.

 
YAI Central Park Challenge

Runners, walkers, and kids of all ages can participate in races and games at this event which helps raise funds for services for children and adults with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and other developmental disabilities.

 

Breast Cancer

Gal to Gal Virtual Walk for Breast Cancer

In October women across America are joining together for the interactive Gal to Gal Virtual Walk to raise funds and awareness for Stage IV breast cancer patients and their families. Designed for women who are too busy for a walkathon but still want to give back to the cause, participants can create their Gal likeness online at www.galtogalwalk.org -- the $3 entry fee will go to Making Memories, which grants wishes to Stage IV patients.

Participants join cancer survivors and supporters on a virtual walk through 31 cityscapes throughout October. It's a quick, easy way for women to give back, share stories about their own cancer battles, and create a new interactive community. Jeanne Fitzmaurice, founder of the Gal to Gal Foundation, started the foundation in honor of two friends who lost their breast cancer battles.

 
Komen Race for the Cure Series

The Komen Race for the Cure Series is the largest series of 5K runs/fitness walks in the world. The Komen Race for the Cure Series raises significant funds and awareness for the fight against breast cancer, celebrates breast cancer survivorship, and honors those who have lost their battle with the disease. There are more than 100 races that take place every year.

 
Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure

The Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure is a three-day, 60-mile walk in 15 cities across the country. Funds raised benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure and impact breast cancer research and community-based breast health and education programs.

 
Susan G. Komen Marathon for the Cure

The Komen Marathon for the Cure provides long-distance runners the opportunity to raise much-needed funds while training for and running in some of the most elite distance races in the world.

 
Avon Walk for Breast Cancer

This walk stretches 39 miles over two days. You can walk as far as you choose, but if you walk the entire distance, you will travel just over 39 miles total throughout the weekend. Most walkers aim to walk at least the distance of a marathon (26.2 miles), which you can spread out over both days. Or, you can choose to walk a full marathon on Saturday, and then add an extra half-marathon (13.1 miles) on Sunday. Again, how far you walk is your choice, and you can make up your mind (or change it) right on the spot!

 
Revlon Run/Walk for Women

This 5K run/walk takes place in New York City and in Los Angeles with nearly 100,000 men, women, and children joining together to raise money for women's cancers.

 
Relay for Life

Relay for Life is the American Cancer Society's overnight event to raise money for research and programs of the ACS. Each of the more than 4,800 relays nationwide is an overnight event that mobilizes communities to celebrate survivors and anyone who has ever been diagnosed with cancer, remember loved ones, and raise money for the fight against cancer. Teams of eight to 15 members gather with tents and sleeping bags with the goal of keeping one person on the track at all times. Relay for Life brings together friends, families, businesses, hospitals, schools, churches -- people from all walks of life. Teams seek sponsorship prior to the relay.

 
Light the Night Walk

Funds raised through the Light the Night Walk support the work of hundreds of the world's best and brightest researchers in their search for better therapies and cures for leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma.

 
Climbing for a Cure

Climbing for a Cure will promote the work and efforts of the Breast Cancer Fund through climbing the seven summits of the world (the highest point on each continent). Only slightly over 100 human beings have completed this task, making this a global event and ultimate challenge in terms of climbing skills, expedition organization, and world promotion. They also work with single ascents.

 
American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

Since 1993 more than 8 million walkers have raised $450 million to help fight breast cancer in this nationwide series that ranges from 3 to 5 miles.

 

Children's Health

Children's Tumor Foundation Marathon Team

In support of the Children's Tumor Foundation, the NF Marathon Team offers the opportunity for individuals to participate in team endurance sports to raise money for research, promote awareness, and provide a network of caring support for those suffering with neurofibromatosis and for their families.

 
March of Dimes March for Babies

March for Babies is held in 1,100 communities across the nation. Every year, 7 million compassionate people participate, including 20,000 company and family teams as well as national sponsors. The event has raised more than $1.7 billion since 1970 to bring the March of Dimes closer to the day when all babies are born healthy and full term.

 
Jazz Half Marathon and 5K

Sing the blues in New Orleans with this race that benefits the Cancer Program at Children's Hospital.

 

Colon Cancer

Stand Up to Cancer

We sat down with Katie Couric to learn more about her campaign for colon cancer awareness, Stand Up to Cancer.

 
Colon Cancer Challenge

Choose from a 1.7-mile walk, a 4-mile run, or a 15K race to help raise awareness about colon cancer and ways to prevent the disease.

 
Get Your Rear in Gear 5K

Pun intended for this race that uses funds to make sure adequate information and access to screenings are available for citizens across the country.

 

Crohn's & Colitis

Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA)

Participating in a Guts and Glory Walk or Run offers a great opportunity for fellowship in your community, and you'll also play an important part in helping CCFA eradicate Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

 
Take Steps, Be Heard for Crohn's and Colitis

This nationwide race is the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America's biggest fundraising event to date. Register in your state as they strive to raise $11 million in the fight against digestive diseases.

 
Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, Official Charity Partner for Team Challenge

Run through the City of Sin as a part of Team Challenge, the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation's endurance training and fundraising program. Perfect for night owls, you'll log 26.2 at the Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, which has a start time of 5:30 p.m.

 

Cystic Fibrosis

Great Strides

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Great Strides is a nationwide team walk to aid cystic fibrosis research.

 

Diabetes

American Diabetes Association: Step Out

Join 200,000 people nationwide to raise funds for ADA's ongoing research, education, and advocacy efforts.

 
Tour de Cure

A team cycling event to raise money for the American Diabetes Association. Ride as much or as little as you're able.

 
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF)

Become one of the 500,000 people at 200 walk sites nationwide to aid people with type 1 diabetes.

 

Domestic Abuse

National Women's Winter Tour

Each Nordic skiing/snowshoeing event, through registration and sponsorship fees, raises funds for local domestic abuse charities, a cause that affects many American families. By bringing awareness to the issue of domestic abuse, we emphasize the importance of women making healthy decisions.

 
Walk a Mile in Her Shoes

Get your hubby off the couch and on the streets with the international men's march to stop rape, sexual assault, and violence against females.

 

Down Syndrome

The Buddy Walk

The Buddy Walk was established in 1995 by the National Down Syndrome Society to celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October. It consists of 275 walks around the world and is a 1-mile walk with a person with Down syndrome.

 

Girl Scouts of America

FITNESS Mind, Body, Spirit Games, for Girl Scouts of the USA

Girl Scouts of the USA is the world's preeminent organization dedicated to all girls where, in an accepting and nurturing environment, girls build character and skills for success in the real world. Sign up for the annual FITNESS Mind, Body, Spirit Games in New York City and donate to the Girl Scouts of the USA.

 

Health Education

Girls on the Run

Girls on the Run is an international nonprofit organization that provides localized health education and wellness programs to girls ages 8 to 12. During the 10-week program, participants train for a 3.1-mile run/walk event while taking team-building and self-esteem enhancing lessons that encourage healthy habits and an active lifestyle for girls. Girls learn to stretch themselves -- physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally -- and in the process are inspired to a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living. Each local chapter of Girls on the Run hosts two runs each year.

 

Heart Disease

American Heart Association's Heart Walk

The walks range from 1.6 to 6 miles, with those in wheelchairs, kids in strollers, and dogs welcome to join in at various locations. The Start! Heart Walks are fitness walks in varying lengths that bring together companies and their teams to fight heart disease and stroke. Both individuals and teams can participate.

 

Kidney and Liver Diseases

The PKD Foundation's The Walk

The Walk for PKD (polycystic kidney disease) takes place in more than 60 cities across the country.

 
Kidney Walk

The National Kidney Foundation's Kidney Walk presents an occasion for dialysis patients, organ transplant recipients, donor families, living donors, medical communities, and the general public to celebrate life and support NKF's mission.

 
Liver Walks

The American Liver Foundation's Liver Walks is an event to raise money and support for liver research.

 
Run for Research

This annual race organized by The American Liver Foundation is one of the oldest and largest marathon teams in the Boston Athletic Association's charity program. Join today to compete in the Boston Marathon and raise funds to help the cause at the same time.

 

Lupus

Walk with Us

Alliance for Lupus Research's Walk with Us is a rain-or-shine 5K walk for lupus research.

 
Lupus Walk for Hope and 5K Trail Run

With lupus affecting more than 20,000 Minnesotans, this race is to keep hope alive in the Twin Cities that a cure will one day be discovered. Walkers or runners make their way through the woods and around lakes and streams for a slightly rugged terrain trot.

 
Lupus Golf Classic

With proceeds going toward the Lupus Foundation of Minnesota, you can practice your swing and mingle at this annual tournament.

 

Mental Illness

Out of the Darkness Community Walks

Sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, this is a 20-mile journey through the night, from dusk until dawn.

 
Nami Walks

Make a difference in the lives of people with mental illness. The money and awareness you raise through Nami Walks will support mental illness advocacy, research, education, and support programs both locally and nationally.

 

Multiple Sclerosis

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society

The MS Walk is held to raise money for multiple sclerosis research every year. An MS Bike Ride is also held annually, with about 100 tours covering 48 states to choose from. The MS Challenge Walk is being held in nine different locations throughout the nation. Depending on location, the event is two or three days, ranging in distance from 30 to 50 miles.

 

Obesity

The Walk from Obesity

The American Society for Bariatric Surgery (ASBS) Foundation is serious about improving the lives of the morbidly obese by focusing on increasing research funding of morbid obesity, and increasing public and professional education. In September and October in cities all across America, obesity sufferers and survivors alike join forces and walk to raise money for research, education, prevention, and treatment of the life-threatening disease of obesity.

 

Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's Unity Walk

The Unity Walk is the largest grassroots fundraiser for Parkinson's research in the community. It began in 1994 through the efforts of patients, families, support groups, and friends of those affected by the disease. One hundred percent of all donations made goes directly to Parkinson's research: Its first year, the walk raised $16,000 -- it raised $1,700,000 in 2007.

 

Updated on FitnessMagazine.com, January 2012.

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