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Ready, Set, GO! Planning your running race season with community in mind

The running race season is upon us and many of us are already making plans or registering for races we want to do. Others are new to running and have made a goal or were convinced to do a race with friends. Here's some helpful tips on choosing wisely when registering for races.

Locally Produced vs National Races
Locally produced races are events that are designed, organized, and directed by locals in your community. (Search here for local running groups and races near you). In Colorado Springs, it's people and organizations like Pikes Peak Road Runners, UpaDowna, Elope INC, Pikes Peak Sports, O'Donnell and O'Donnell, Pikes Peak Marathon, City of COS Parks and Recreation, Pikes Peak Region YMCA, Big Mountain Adventure Racing, Epic Endurance Events , LYMevents.com and more!  Some of the great local races and events are the Grand Prix of Running, The Waldo WaldoThe Triple Crown of Running, The Rescue Run,  Barr Trail Mountain Race, and the Run for your Life Zombie 5K. Most of the organizations that put on races are non-profits , and they do so because #1, it is a community event and #2, they might make a little money off of it to help them survive for next year's race. Some races give back almost the entire net proceeds raised to a cause, charity or another non-profit. Make sure to do some research to see where the funds eventually end up. Some are a for-profit and that is all they do, races. Even if they are a for-profit, it still stimulates the local economy because they are purchasing materials to put on the race locally, they seek out local businesses as sponsors, racers are paying a Colorado Springs business to put on the race and just about all the money stays in our community one way or another.

2012 Waldo Waldo 5k. $20,000 net proceeds went to the Pikes Peak Community Foundation's Waldo Canyon Firefighter's Fund. 

On the flip side, there are nationally "themed" races like mud runs, color runs, and even zombie runs. The Tough Mudder for example has become a multi-million dollar business in only two years and although it supports the Wounded Warrior Project, has only given back around 7% of it's total earnings. Many color runs name a charity partner but most of them are a national race donating back to a national non-profit, therefore, none of that money stays local. While naming a charity partner is great and all, the majority of "novelty" races make over $100,000 only to give back about 4-5% or a few thousand dollars back to the charity partner.

This summer race season, we encourage you to get motivated, sign up for walks and runs and MOVE! We also offer this advice when debating on where your hard earned cash goes:

-Choose more local races over nationally produced races and events

-Find out if they give back to the community or a charity. How Much?

-Is there a partner non-profit or charity?

-Is the non-profit or charity local or nationally based?

Whatever you do this race season, have fun, be safe and Adventure On!


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Comment by Ryan Johnson on May 21, 2013 at 11:31am

Some VERY important point in this article that I think most people don't think about when signing up for races.  With the advent of all the social, schtick-y runs lately, I think this is a very timely and important discussion!  Thanks, Randi!!

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