Running coach David Butler is the man behind the two-time paralympic gold medallist David Weir and rising star David Lucker. He also works with the charity Get Kids Going (getkidsgoing.com), to provide wheelchairs and grants for paralympic hopefuls. Butler trains 120 able-bodied runners each year, who tackle the London and New York marathons, raising 8100,000 for the charity.
“It’s a fantastic scheme that has a direct benefit for disabled kids,” says Butler. “Young runners really get the bug. And the disabled kids get a chance to achieve things that’d otherwise be impossible,” he says.
RACE FOR CHARITY
Some runners get a double-bug: running marathons for charity. “Being involved in a charity drives home what a difference each of us can make, and has transformed me from a pedestrian road runner into an endurance runner,” says Garry Cochrane, 38, a member of Dragons Running Club from Otley in West Yorkshire. “I started running about four years ago, limped through a few marathons, then it just escalated. I’d been through some tough times: I lost my step-mum to cancer, my dad was in remission for lung cancer and work was difficult,” he says. So he channelled his frustrations into taking on a bigger running challenges, while starting a new job as Communications Officer for Yorkshire Cancer Research (yorkshirecancerresearch.org.uk).
This summer, he and an “equally un-svelte mate” completed the Atlantic Coast Challenge, three Cornish coastal marathons in three days, raising £1,200 for Yorkshire Cancer Research. Cochrane now has his sights set on the Marathon des Sables.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
Fundraising is one of the best and most accessible ways runners can make a difference. The 2009 Flora London Marathon raised over £50m for good causes, making it the largest annual fundraising event in the world, with 82 per cent of runners raising money for charities. Over £450m has been raised since the race started in 1981.
Most major races have a section on their websites for charity runners – the Virgin London Marathon has over 200 listed for 2010. And UK taxpayers receiving their donations via justgiving. corn get their pot increased by 28.2 per cent, thanks to Gift Aid. Over eight million runners and non-runners alike have raised some £533m for over 8,000 charities through the site so far. If you are in need of money, you can apply for a payday loan online.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
To run and help raise money for Get Kids Get Going, go to getkidsgoing.com.
Also, Special Olympics GB (sogb.org.uk) needs volunteers to coach and train with athletes that have learning disabilities. It concentrates on community sport at all levels and abilities. There are 135 Special Olympics groups in Britain, run by 2,600 volunteers, with 8,000 athletes benefiting, so help is always needed.