Charity Running or Crap Shoot?

Having just gotten back from a nice five day vacation, I had a lot of time to think.  I lot of time to relax, and have fun.  Spending time at a theme park meant that my feet had very little break, but I did get to clear my mind quite a bit.

On Friday, I walked the equivalent of about six miles, Saturday I walked more than a half marathon in distance, and on Sunday about ten miles.  To top it off, I ran 5.25 miles (the only run while away) on Monday followed by a warm dip in the pool.  I got a lot of mileage in, albeit not all while running.  Time away from work and home allowed me to clear my head, and focus on some things that up until now I hadn’t given a lot of thought.  This leads me into the purpose of this post today.

My Spring/Summer racing schedule is pretty much set at this point, so naturally I start thinking about Fall.  I haven’t signed up for a single race after July.  What to do?  What to do?  I had such an amazing time at the Chicago Marathon this past October, that I would love to do it again.  I’m sure that I could do Chicago cheaper than I did this past year, but let’s face it, it is expensive.  It’s a lottery system to get in, and luckily I got in on my first attempt.  The great thing about Chicago is that once you find out you’re in, you have five days to decide if you are going to pay and enter.

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The day I left for vacation was the opening day of the New York City Marathon lottery.  It’s open for a month.  I have one close friend who announced his entrance into the lottery on day one.  My brother announced a few days later that he entered the lottery.  It got me thinking…  Should I throw my name in the hopper?  Unlike Chicago where it doesn’t cost a penny to enter the lottery, just to enter the NYC lottery it will cost you $11.  What are the chances of getting in?  The most popular response to that question I’ve seen is about a one in ten chance of getting chosen.  If you are chosen, your credit card is automatically charged for the race entry fee which is over $250.  Hummmmmm…..

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New York City is the biggest marathon in the world.  It doesn’t eclipse Chicago by a whole lot, maybe about 5,000 runners.  But, it’s NYC, it is iconic.  A bucket list race for many runners around the world.  I did enter the lottery for NY a few years back when my brother had a guaranteed entry, but I didn’t get in. I remember feeling at the time that I was pissed that I had to pay just to enter the lottery, and with such a slight chance of getting in that I wouldn’t do it again.  This led me to think about a guaranteed entry through charity running.

I’ve never joined a charity team, or raised money to run.  To get a charity spot for NYC it means raising a lot of money (and paying for any shortfalls out of pocket), plus regular entry fees, and all travel related costs.  It will be expensive regardless.  Just for the purposes of clarity for instance, if you join Team for Kids, the fund raising commitment is $2,620.  It’s due a month before the race.  To me that seems like a serious commitment. Do I take my chances or chose the sure fire entry?

My question for readers today is this….  Have you ever joined a charity team to run a race?  What was the experience like?  Was it easy to raise the money or difficult?  How did you feel about it afterwards?  Was it worth it?

I would appreciate any comments folks, as it will help me to make a decision that may impact my fall running schedule.

Did you get in? I did! Chicago Marathon 2014

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I did!  I got into the 2014 Chicago Marathon via the lottery.

How excited am I?  Super excited!

I have been jealous of those running the Chicago Marathon the last few years, as I have watched the coverage online.  Three years ago I told myself, I would get there one day.  I hadn’t even run a marathon yet, and had just run my first half Marathon a few weeks prior to that event.  Two years ago, with two marathons under my belt at the time of the Chicago Marathon, I watched the race in awe of those 40,000 plus runners.  Wanting, needing to be there one day.  Last year, with another four marathons under belt on race day, I vowed to at least try to get in through the lottery for 2014.

Don’t ask me how, I guess because I have been caught up with other races on my schedule, but I totally missed the beginning of the lottery last month.  I think the lottery opened March 7th.  I didn’t enter the lottery until the very end.  I really thought I had no chance of getting in.  Yesterday was “the reveal”.  The day that I would find out if I got in or not.  The email came at 3:45pm, and low and behold, I got in!

I already have a few races on the books for Fall marathon season, so I may need to make some adjustments now.  Next steps?  Flights, hotel, and signing up.  It has been a whirlwind of research since I found out, because I just didn’t expect it.  I have until Friday to sign up and confirm my entry.  I have a hotel on hold.  I have to now make arrangements at work to figure out when I will fly out and back.

Total excitement!

I will run the 2014 Chicago Marathon, and could not be happier about it.

Questions for you….

Have you ever run Chicago?  How was your experience?  Do you have any recommendations on logistics, or hotels?  Any and all suggestions will be appreciated.  Thanks in advance!