PITTSBURGH (AP) — The coronavirus pandemic has forced charities or non-profit groups to cancel or postpone an untold number of walks and runs that raise money for everything from Alzheimer’s to Parkinson’s.
There is, however, room to evolve.
When the Arthritis Foundation’s Pittsburgh chapter scrubbed its annual “Walk to Cure Arthritis Event” scheduled for May 16, it gave the 242 registrants a certain freedom.
“People could kind of do what they wanted at their own pace and at their convenience,” said Development Manager for the foundation’s western Pennsylvania and West Virginia chapter Linda Glace.
Such a move could potentially allow organisations to expand their footprint in the future because it would remove geographical barriers.
The non-profit WORK amended its “Run Across Haiti” to “Run Across May” to incorporate just about anything, be it running 200 miles by May 31, doing 200 lunges or baking 200 cookies and using hashtags on social media to promote it in hopes of raising awareness. The American Cancer Society’s first “Lakes to Bay 5K” is a virtual run is a relay that started around the Finger Lakes in New York on May 11 and will wrap up on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland on May 31. Registered runners were encouraged to take a picture during their respective legs and share it on social media.
The Pittsburgh Marathon’s “Run for A Reason” programme generates around USD1 million annually for 35 various non-profits, most of them locally based. Though organisers offered refunds when the race weekend scheduled for early May was cancelled, about 1,100 who signed up to run for charity stuck it out and completed their prescribed distance on their own.
“They still all got their medal and their shirt and their sunglasses,” said Allison Corbett, senior vice president for P3R, which helps organise most major road races around the city, including the marathon and half-marathon. “People are still excited to get the race swag that they earn. It all comes back to that sense of community.”
A sense that will be tested in the coming months and perhaps years as charities and those that support them deal with a new normal. Charity runners by the tens of thousands flood courses across the country each year. They run for their parents. Their siblings. Their friends. Themselves. Exercising and raising money for a cause close to them scratches two itches at once.